Technology Talk


Super Hi-Vision: Inside the 8K, Future of Television


If you have had the opportunity to check out the power of 8K televisions that are being showcased at various tech exhibits, then you already know how brilliant and breathtaking the picture quality of these television sets is. The Super Hi-Vision, also known as UHD technology, is something right out of the future. It’s as if somebody went into the future and came back with a television set of the era. The truth is that we honestly feel that it is too early to expect Super Hi-Vision to hit the mainstream market. The reason is that the entertainment industry is yet to completely come to terms with the predecessor technology – 4K. However, there are some strong signs that 8K may soon be accepted by the industry. The biggest sign of them all is the backing 8K is getting from NHK.

NHK, or Nippon Housou Kyoukai, is a Japanese broadcaster who has been at the forefront of technological revolutions in the television industry. In fact, innovations like color television broadcasting, and HD broadcasting owe a significant part of their success to NHK. In 2012, NHK gave us a preview of what 8K picture quality would be like. To say that it blew away everyone’s minds is an understatement.

For comparison, 8K resolution is 7680×4320 pixels, while 4K resolution is 3840×2160 pixels. Looking at these numbers, it might look like 8K is about twice as good as 4K. But, the truth is that 8K is 16 times better than 4K. 4K, or 3840×2160, is about 2 million pixels. 8K, on the other hand, is 33 million pixels. Today’s TV technology is not capable of handling this kind of raw power.

If you thought 4K is superb, 8K is a giant leap from there. The leap here is not to bring the television screen and camera recording as close to reality as possible. Instead, it is to outmatch the reality itself. That’s right. Super Hi-Vision beats human eyes in many ways. Very few human’s eyes are capable of capturing the depth of field that is delivered by an 8K camera. Soon, although not very soon, you will have televisions that features 16 times the resolution of today’s best televisions.


But, how soon can you enjoy Super Hi-Vision?

If everything goes according to plan, then we may be able to start enjoying Super Hi-Vision as early as 2020, if not before that. In preparation for the Olympics, NHK is already experimenting with the technology to broadcast the games in 8K. Of course, merely broadcasting the games in 8K will be futile, unless there are televisions to actually show programs in such high resolution. The good news is that TV manufacturers are already gearing up for the big challenge. Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic have all announced plans to have 8K TVs ready by 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, hold your horses before you get all your hopes up.

The thing about 8K televisions is that they will be big, and by big I mean really BIG. For human eyes to actually differentiate between 4K and 8K resolutions, 8K televisions have to be at least 70 and 80 inches in size. But, to truly enjoy 8K, the television sets have to be a lot bigger than that. Panasonic has developed a plasma television that is a massive 145 inches. That’s about 12-freaking-feet. That’s about the size of many living room walls. Now, you can imagine what will be the price of such televisions. Not to mention that the technology to record video in 8K is not fully developed yet. Currently, NHK is developing a 120fps 8K sensor in collaboration with Shizuoka University. It already has a working prototype camera as well. So, yes, in all probability, 8K televisions, as well as programs (or program), will be a reality as early as 2020. But, it will be some time before they become affordable for most of us.

But, hey. There is a silver lining here. 8K is expected to become a standard for moviemaking before it becomes a standard technology in your living room. So, if you really want to enjoy 8K, you will be able to do so at the cinemas. Apart from that, you will have to wait until the 2032 Olympics, or at least 2028 Olympics, for 8K televisions to become mainstream.

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