While 4K TVs and UHD content has only just begun to truly take off in the Australian market in the last few years, TV manufacturers like Samsung and LG are already preparing for the next major TV standard: 8K. And the future is coming sooner than you think, with the first wave of 8K TVs expected to arrive as soon as later this year.
Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know about the impending wave of 8K TVs.
What is 8K?
As with 4K, 8K is a broad term used to refer to the displays and content that conform to and support a resolution of 7680 × 4320 pixels.
A few important things about 8K are:
8K TVs support playback in this resolution.
8K content is video content that’s been mastered or up-scaled to that higher resolution.
A HDMI 2.1 cable will be required in order to connect your 8K TV to an 8K source
Why is 8K better than 4K?
The first and most obvious reason that 8K is better than 4K is that it supports a far greater pixel count and thus a higher degree of fidelity. As with previous leaps forward in home entertainment technologies like 4K and FHD, the higher the pixel count the more detailed and smooth the image can be and the better it’ll look to the eye.
Whether it looks good enough to justify the price involved is a trickier question but if you’re asking whether 8K looks good, the answer is yes. From what we've seen of 8K at tradeshows like CES, 8K looks incredible.
Is there actually any 8K content out there?
This is the biggest question mark around the arrival of 8K.
While select major production studios and Hollywood filmmakers have begun to film in 8K, there doesn’t look to be much in the way of 8K content available to everyday consumers. There aren’t any 8K Blu-ray players on the market, nor are there any 8K Blu-rays you can go out and find in a JB Hi-Fi.
There’s also no word yet on whether streaming services like Netflix will support streaming content in native 8K, nor what the broadband requirements for doing so will look like.
Speaking to Digital Spy in 2016, Netflix's Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt said that "The future of TV is in better pixels, not just more of them."
"8K is only interesting if you're going to sit too close to the TV."
Because of the above, most early adopters are going to be watching content that's been upscaled to 8K rather than true 8K. For that reason, the choice of brand you go with for your eventual 8K TV will matter a lot - since the quality of each brand's upscaling will vary.
Who makes 8K TVs?
Thus far, LG, Sony, Samsung, TCL and Hisense have all announced their own 8K TVs.
We expect at-least some of these TVs to arrive in Australia later in 2019.
How much will 8K TVs cost?
As with any TV technology, 8K TVs are going to be extremely to the average customer out of the gate.
That cost will eventually come down but at the moment, we’re expecting the first wave of 8K TVs to cost well beyond even the most luxurious of OLED TVs.
Here's where each TV brand stands on the pricing of their 8K TV.
Hisense 8K TV
Hisense told PC World Australia that they intend to bring the 8K TV to Australia in 2019 but couldn't specify when, nor how much it would cost.
Sony haven't got an official Australian price for the Z9G just yet but they say that the 85-inch sized TV will arrive sometime in the 2nd half of 2019.
No word yet on local pricing and availability for the Z9 but expect further details to come later in the year.
TCL Mini-LED 8K TV
TCL have indicated that pricing and availability for their 2019 Australian product mix will be announced in April 2019.
The Samsung Q900 TVs will be available in Australia from April 2019. The series is broken out into three sizings: 82-inches ($17,499), 75-inches ($12,999) and 65-inches ($9999). Each TV boasts AI-powered 8K upscaling, HDR and HDR10+ support, Samsung's One Clear Cable and One Remote, the Ambient Mode found in last year's QLED TVs and new Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration.