You Asked: The 8K hen meets the 8K egg

How huge does a TV have to be earlier than 8K is smart? Is anybody really placing out an 8K sign? Where are all of the 8K TVs? Do 98-inch TVs have to be 8K? And how about that EU vitality regulation factor — are 8K TVs really banned now? It’s 8K all day this week in You Asked!

Today’s version is the primary wherein we take a dive into a selected matter. This time I requested, you answered, and it seems like quite a lot of you assume it is a nice concept. So, thanks!

Your 8K TV Questions, Answered | You Asked Ep. 37

Where are the 8K TVs?

Samsung 8K
Digital Trends

cWebWay2000 asks: It’s 2024, why are we nonetheless centered on 4K TVs? Where are my 8K TVs? And Jimmys Brand wrote (in reference to my latest Sony 2024 TV overview video): No 8K TV with their practically perfected mini-LED system?

Let’s first begin with the shortest 8K TV explainer ever, simply so we’re on the identical web page right here. (We have a longer 8K explainer, too, if you would like.) Simply put, 8K TVs are TVs with extraordinarily excessive decision. The 4K TV that you just purchase at present has 4 instances the decision — or, 4 instances the variety of pixels — because the 1080p TVs we used to purchase. Those 1080p TVs had been known as HD, and 4K TVs are known as Ultra HD.

Today, 8K TVs quadruple down on that. They have 4 instances the decision — 4 instances as many pixels — as 4K TVs. Oddly, although, 8K TVs will not be known as “Super DEE Duper Ultra HD” or something foolish like that. They are simply labeled as 8K Ultra HD. You may primarily match 4 1080p TVs inside a 4K TV (or all their pixels, anyway), and you would primarily match 4 4K TVs value of pixels into an 8K TV.

Historically, extra pixels has meant a sharper, extra detailed picture. But, sarcastically, 8K TVs have “blurred the lines” in terms of tying collectively greater decision and better efficiency.

It was that the majority main TV manufacturers supplied a minimum of one 8K TV mannequin within the U.S. and Europe. Hisense, TCL, Sony, LG, and Samsung all had 8K TVs as their flagship fashions in 2021, for instance. But in 2022, we noticed fewer new 8K TVs. And in 2023, at CES, it turned clear that 8K TVs were not a focus for any of those brands, besides Samsung.

A vibrant green leaf shown on a Samsung QN900D.
The Samsung QN900D Zeke Jones / Digital Trends

Now, all these manufacturers do make 8K TVs for different markets. And to be honest, LG nonetheless has an 8K OLED you should buy beginning at $10,000, and the Sony Z9K can nonetheless be bought for $8,000 or so. But these are carry-over fashions from prior years. Only Samsung is delivering new 8K TVs yearly — this yr that may be the QN900D and QN800D — and it looks as if solely Samsung is making them in additional approachable display sizes like 65 inches.

So what occurred? Why did TV manufacturers again off of 8K TVs? Well, merely put: They didn’t promote sufficient of them.

In order for it to be value making a product, it is advisable promote sufficient of them to make a revenue. And that’s an uphill climb for 8K TVs as a result of they’re costlier to provide, for any of a wide range of causes.

Naturally, the subsequent query is: “Why didn’t 8K TVs sell well?” The reply to that query finally results in this reply: “Because they were very expensive.” Yes, 8K TVs are costly to purchase as a result of they’re costly to make. But additionally they wanted to be costlier than 4K TVs as a result of why would you purchase a TV with decrease decision at an analogous value, proper?

And that notion proper there — that 8K TVs have to be an apparent improve — that’s the opposite motive that 8K TVs have struggled to promote.

Where’s the 8K content material?

The Samsung QN900C QLED 8K Smart Tizen TV on a stand in a living room.
The Samsung QN900C QLED 8K Samsung

This leads us properly to a different query. It comes from Bear Hall, who asks: “Who puts out an 8K signal?”

I’m going to reply that in only a second. But, first, I need to name out the sentiment that query factors to. It’s the “where’s the content” query.

Quite merely, 8K TVs got here out too quickly, a minimum of from a client advertising and marketing perspective. When 8K TVs got here out, people were still complaining a couple of lack of 4K content material. This was again earlier than nearly all the things you streamed on Netflix was in 4K. So the concept you would possibly purchase an 8K TV when even 4K content material was onerous to return by was laughable. And, in actual fact, people nonetheless chuckle about it at present.

But there’s another excuse 8K TVs have been on the wrestle bus since they had been launched: Folks actually can’t see the profit. Even with 8K native content material, the distinction between a 65-inch 4K TV and a 65-inch 8K TV is negligible, at finest, to the common client. At 85 inches you possibly can see a distinction between 4K and 8K with 8K content material, however you’ve bought to look fairly carefully. And, once more, the shortage of 8K content material makes that an issue. The distinction between upscaled 4K content material and native 8K content material on an 85-inch TV is actually robust for most individuals to see. And whereas 85-inch TVs are a quickly rising display measurement in North America, they are typically costly sufficient as 4K TVs, by no means thoughts as an 8K mannequin.

I imply, the 85-inch Samsung QN800D is $6,000. The 85-inch QN900D is $8,000. That’s a wealthy particular person’s recreation.

Do bigger display sizes require 8K?

Best TV vs Biggest: Sony A95L & TCL QM8
The TCL 98-inch QM8 Digital Trends

This value speak leads us properly into two different viewer questions. Ramanuj Lal writes: “What do you consider 4K at 98 inches? Somehow, I really feel that 8K with upscaling is required for display sizes larger than 85 inches for a contemporary house front room setup, what do you’re feeling? And Alder98br writes: Do you assume a 98-inch TV requires 8K?

So, I do really feel that the 98-inch display measurement is the purpose at which people can acknowledge the good thing about 8K over 4K, even when the content material being considered is simply 4K content material upscaled to 8K by the TV. And it has much less to do with the immensity of the display measurement than it does with the truth that display sizes are getting larger, however dwelling rooms will not be.

From an important distance, you possibly can’t see any advantage of 8K over 4K. But, once you’re sitting simply 9 to fifteen toes from a 98-inch TV? Yeah, you possibly can see the decision enchancment of 8K over 4K.

But now, we now have to return to cost. If an 85-inch 8K TV goes for a minimum of $5,000 or $6,000, there is no such thing as a approach a 98-inch 8K TV may promote for lower than $10,000. And possible, it might be approach, far more.

This assertion might not age effectively. I wouldn’t be shocked if in 4 years or so we glance again at this text and chuckle as a result of 98-inch 8K TVs go for lower than $5,000. But for now, a 98-inch 8K TV could be prohibitively costly.

And whereas I do assume 4K content material upscaled to 8K appears higher at these bigger display sizes, I nonetheless assume {that a} lack of true 8K content material to get pleasure from goes to be a part of the issue.

Best TV vs Biggest: Sony A95L & TCL QM8
The TCL 98-inch QM8 Digital Trends

Welcome to the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum that has existed round TVs and content material for many years. You can simply as simply ask “why make 8K content if there are no 8K TVs to watch it on?” as you possibly can ask “why make 8K TVs if there’s no 8K content to watch?”

It’s simpler to ask the latter query as a result of, as shoppers, it’s our cash we’re speaking about, proper? Making 8K content material is about another person’s cash.

But, traditionally, TV manufacturers — particularly Sony, which got here out with the primary 4K TV — have shouldered the burden by making the TVs in order that content material creators had a motive to make the content material to play on these TVs.

And I believe that’s why we bought 8K TVs so quickly after 4K TVs had been launched. Maybe the businesses concerned thought: “Might as well start now!” Or, perhaps they noticed a possibility to capitalize on the success 4K was having by pushing this concept that, in case you actually wished to future-proof, you’d get the highest-resolution TV you would purchase. And, admittedly, I’ve floated that narrative just a few instances myself.

But, even now, there are treasured few sources of 8K content material. And the sources that do exist don’t have a ton of 8K content material. YouTube is the place you’ll discover a lot of the world’s 8K content material. You will see 8K broadcasts occurring in Japan — as a result of NHK, particularly, is only a pioneer like that. But, YouTube is the place you’ll discover most 8K content material.

And I don’t see that altering any time quickly. I don’t assume we’ll ever see 8K Blu-ray discs. While we might sooner or later see 8K downloads take off, streaming 8K goes to be a difficulty as long as bandwidth caps — that are a ridiculous, archaic concept for my part — proceed to be a factor.

So that’s the state of affairs round 8K TVs. And the one approach I see it altering requires democratizing high-speed web for everybody with no information caps. When all of us have gigabit web for a flat month-to-month price, then perhaps the 8K content material story will change.

For now, although, the one approach 8K TVs can take off is that if TV manufacturers determine to flip a change and simply make 8K the brand new commonplace. Panel producers might want to transition to creating largely 8K panels, upscaling processors have to get extra highly effective for much less cash, and TV manufacturers might want to commit to creating 8K TVs the norm — they usually’ll have to determine make them vitality environment friendly and cheaper to provide.

Then, and solely then, will probably be see the 8K revolution we had been promised over 5 years in the past.

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