8K – It’s Not Just About More Pixels

In preparing for the 8K Display Summit on June 11, one of the presenters, Mark Henninger, the editor of AVS Forum, gave me an abstract that makes a really good point. While many fixate on the 8K movement as simply more pixels, like the 4K transition, it will turn out to be much more than just a pixel count upgrade.

The 4K transition started as simply a pixel increase, but it soon added HDR and wide color gamut to the mix to create a step change in displayed images. He contends the same thing will happen with the 8K transition. Initial 8K products will increase the pixel count but they will also include HDR and wide color gamut. And, they will add advanced AI-based image scaling/restoration, variable frame rates and immersive sound. These all combine to create the foundation for the next generation in TV technology.

Henninger is both a reviewer and editor at AVS Forum and he is now an 8K fan as even these first 8K TV products eliminate aliasing and moiré, thus better reflecting “artist intent.”

And for those who think you can’t see the extra pixels, there will be presentations from metrologist Florian Friedrich and professor YK Park from Ewha Womens’ University to counter this myth. Friedrich will also have demo content to allow attendees to assess 8K and 4K images at different distances.

While 8K displays are a needed first step in the transition, other parts of the ecosystem are jumping in too. Just today I saw the following news:

  • Pisofttech is hoping to develop a new 8K 360-degree VR camera. Such high resolution capture is important for VR even if only a portion of that image is delivered to headset at any moment. 8K is the state of the art today, but I see no reason why it won’t move to 16K at some point.
  • Atomos announced that their Neon cinema series of monitor-recorders can now be upgraded to support recording of 8K/60p video in ProRes and ProRes RAW formats.
  • Mediaproxy sees the next big thing is broadcasting as 8K. To support this, it has upgraded its LogServer platform to ingest 8K content and create proxies of any resolution for distribution.
  • Blackmagic Design announced its Teranex Mini SDI-to-DisplayPort 8K HDR product to support monitoring of 8K content on computer monitors.
  • Apple announced the Pro Display XDR monitor with 6K (6016×3384) resolution, full screen white luminance of 1000 nits, P3 color gamut, HDR support and 576 dimmable zones in a 32” form factor.

Apple 6K monitor

  • At the 8K Display Summit, RED will demonstrate 8K post production from a laptop!
  • LG Electronics just announced that it has begun to take pre-orders in Korea for its 88” OLED 8K TV that they have shown multiple times over the last year. It should ship over the summer and is priced at $30K.

8K is the collective term for a range of pioneering technologies, not just more pixels. Not everyone is a fan and that’s OK. I get it. Its value needs to be proved, which is part of the mission of the 8K Association. The video ecosystem is moving toward 8K but all parts are not moving at the same pace, which is natural. Just have a little patience for the value to be proved, the business models developed, and the technologies to mature. It will come together. (CC)