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Just as Market Begins to Embrace 4K HDTV, Here Comes 8K

October 1, 2015 By Steve Senne in

Ultra-high-definition 4K video content will hit the market soon – and already one manufacturer is getting ready to launch monitor/TVs supporting even higher-definition 8K video. The new devices, which boast 85-inch screens, come from Sharp and are set to go on sale October 30. The devices have display resolution 16 times that of 4K or older 1080p HDTV.

Price tag? The Japanese yen equivalent of $130,000, give or take a few thousand.

8K Video Launch

Not surprisingly an Engadget blogger expects the 8K equipment to have limited appeal for some time.

One concern is that although Sharp’s 8K, LV-8500 monitors do have tuners (so they do qualify as TV sets) no one is distributing 8K content, at least not publicly. As Engadget blogger Richard Lawler points out, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray content hasn’t even been fully released into markets yet – though he adds that such content is ¨just around the corner.¨

It will be at least a few years before 8K video is available to a broad audience, Lawler writes. He notes, though, that Japan’s NHK broadcasting company has been investing in 8K technology. The company and its industry peers could be interested in using Sharp’s 85-inch screen 8K sets to test the technology.

The amount of bandwidth and equipment 8K requires is another obstacle to widespread commercial use and consumer adoption. An 8K demo Lawler saw in Washington DC back in 2012 required almost “an entire room of equipment and a connection via Internet2 just to handle all the data.” he recounts.

Looking ahead, Lawler believes 8K will not be a realistic option for everyday viewers until 2020 at the earliest, although the first public 8K tests are tentatively scheduled to take place as soon as 2016. NHK’s initial public broadcasts are slated for 2018, Lawler notes.