The specifications could well prove to be controversial however, as they include some strict standards that could rule out Samsung’s current 8K lineup, even though that company is widely regarded as a pioneer of 8K television.
The CTA is a highly regarded standards and trade organisation based in the U.S. that represents more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and so its specifications are usually taken pretty seriously. DigitalEurope, the organisation responsible for defining logos and their specifications in Europe, traditionally follows the CTA’s recommendations, for example.
CTA said companies can start using its logo in 2020 if their TVs meet the requirements set.
The CTA’s specs include a basic requirement that any 8K television that wants to bear its logo must offer a resolution of at least 7,680x4,320 pixels in 16:9. The sticking point for Samsung however, is that they must also “meet a minimum of 50% contrast modulation using a 1x1 grill pattern”, as defined by the International Committee for Display Metrology.
The problem for Samsung is that its current 8K TVs don’t meet this requirement, something that its rival LG Electronics was only too keen to point out during its launch of what it claimed were the world’s first “real 8K TVs”. LG argues that contrast modulation is most important, because it helps to ensure that each pixel is distinguishable from all of the others when measured using professional measuring tools, and thus ensures sharper images and clarity for viewers. LG’s newest 8K TVs easily beat the CTA’s minimum requirement with a 90% contrast modulation rating. Samsung’s TVs, on the other hand, employ sub-pixel rendering techniques to improve viewing angles at the expense of effective resolution, and score a lowly 12%.
In addition to the above requirements, the CTA also insists that an 8K TV has at least one HDMI input capable of receiving 8K60 video. In other words, at least one full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 port is required. The full list of specifications can be seen here.
It remains to be seen if Samsung will try to improve the contrast modulation of its next batch of 8K TVs. It may decide it doesn’t need to, as the 8K Association, which is backed by Samsung, Panasonic, Hisense and TCL, recently published its own set of 8K specifications. Those specs make no mention of contrast modulation, and are more focused on performance characteristics such as black levels, colour gamut, peak brightness, resolution and white points, and parameters for 8K input such as bit depth, chroma sub-sampling and frame rate. Samsung's 8K TVs certainly appear to meet all of these requirements, and the company may well decide that one logo is enough.
The 8K Association’s next step is to develop a compliance test so that 8K televisions which meet its criteria can be certified via an official logo, probably by next year.