A group of leading TV makers and panel suppliers are banding together to form an industry group that's set itself the task of promoting the merits of 8K television technology.
Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, the new 8K Association is tasked with promoting 8K content and hardware, educating consumers about the technology, and developing technical standards for the related imagery, hardware and specifications needed to make it work.
With a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320, 8K resolution has four times as many pixels as 4K, meaning it has the potential to deliver far crisper images on screen with much more clarity than previously possible.
8K is an exciting technology no doubt, as we’ve seen with all the glitzy new TV sets on show at CES. Pretty much every journalist and TV reviewer present came away feeling dazzled by the awesomeness of the new tech, but lots of questions still remain.
For one thing, TV makers will have a hard time convincing anyone to actually buy an 8K television. The biggest problem right now besides the extravagent cost of their 8K TVs is that there is hardly any native content available to watch on them besides Japanese broadcaster NHK's 8K satellite channel, but this is essentially still just a test service. There aren’t any plans for 8K Blu-ray at present either, and streaming video providers such as Netflix have so far snubbed the technology due to a lack of compression standards that can condense the files into a small enough size to stream it using their current infrastructure. And as for Hollywood, to date few if any movie makers have shown much interest in the format.
Even worse, the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard for 4K isn’t able to handle 8K. Moreover, professional 8K video camera equipment is extremely expensive at this time.
Throw in the fact that 4K content is only just beginning to take off now, and it’s safe to conclude that 8K doesn't have a lot going for it besides the fact that it looks 'nice'.
Still, as with any emerging technology we do have to start somewhere, and so the 8K Association is setting itself the ambitious task of trying to convince content makers, content providers and consumers to buy into the whole idea.
TV makers Samsung Electronics, Panasonic, Hisense and TCL, and panel suppliers AU Optronics and Samsung Display are the founding members of the group. However, LG and Sony, two of the four companies to announce 8K TVs at CES, are noticeably absent from the 8K Association, though it’s hoped that these two can be convinced to join at a later date.
In addition, the 8K Association said it’s hoping that ATSC and the Blu-ray Disc Association will also join the group and add 8K extensions to their current formats.
“The 8K Association will not only provide an effective introduction to 8K technology, but will also accelerate the beginning of the 8K era,” said Samsung Electronics EVP of Visual Display Business Hyogun Lee in a prepared statement. “By leading the early stages of ecosystem development, Samsung will further solidify its global leadership in the 8K market.”
The 8K Association lists its specific goals as follows: