Is 8K Overkill?

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One thing in technology that is constant is change. There is always something on the horizon that is promised to be newer and better.

We have seen this with picture quality in televisions.

Just In the last couple of decades, we have seen the picture quality on television dramatically increase, from standard definition to HD and now Ultra HD (4K).

The last three standard qualities have largely been well received and have added noticeable quality enhancements to displays.

The next highly touted format is 8k, which would be a much higher resolution format than its predecessor 4k. But will this format be substantially better than 4k?

Many think 8k is largely a gimmick and will never reach the mass consumer.

They say the quality differences between 4k and 8k are minimal at best and increased resolution is not enough to make people want to invest in this new format.

So the question becomes, Is 8k overkill?

8k is overkill because the human eye cannot see the difference in resolution from 4k to 8k on an average display size or viewing distance.

If you have a 90-inch TV and sit 5 feet from it with 20/10 vision you will only see a slightly better image than 4k so 8k is completely overkill and not worth investing in the format.

Is 8K ever going to happen? Is it overkill?


8K is likely going to go the way of 3D and die out.

The human eye sees a negligible difference in picture quality from 4k to 8k so there’s much to justify the current price of these displays.

They have been around for years and they just do not sell.

They don’t offer anything better than a 4k television at the moment.

I will go into more detail about why 8k is no better than 4k in the preceding sections. I will also explain why 8k faces a perilous future.

Why has 8k not overtaken 4k?


8k has not overtaken 4k because the human eye can only see so much detail, it even struggles to tell the difference between 1080p and 4k at the average viewing distance of most people (9 feet).

Therefore a transition from 4k to 8k makes little sense.

4K has still not fully gone mainstream and 1080p is still the standard format for most tv shows and movies, go to any standard auditorium in a movie theater and you will see they are using a 1080p projector, even the premium cinemas like IMAX still predominately use 1080p projectors.

Higher resolution is more expensive and consumers are hesitant to buy

Most people who stream do not pay extra for 4k content, and most people who buy physical media like DVD and Blu-Ray often spurn 4k for the 1080p versions, 4k sales make up less than 5% of the market share for physical media sales.

This just goes to show that the price point for these technologies is out of reach for a lot of people.

8K is prohibitively more expensive than 4K, state-of-the-art technology like OLED can cost 25,000 if you want it on an 8K display.

Meanwhile, you can get an OLED for much cheaper on a 4k display. Personally, I own the Sony A80J which is an exceptional TV, you can find it here (paid link).

No 8k content is being made, it would be hard to distribute

Even if filmmakers started shooting with 8k cameras, there would be no platforms to support it, so there is no purpose.

Even if they did start supporting it there would be numerous issues with streaming 8k quality.

4K picture requires a very fast internet connection to process its data, this will be amplified even worse with 8K.

It takes a lot of bandwidth to display images in 8k as well as storage, and most households won’t be able to play the format without disruptions.

Also, the highest quality video format right now is 4k Blu-ray and it is unlikely the Blu-ray format would adapt to 8k given that most people have abandoned buying physical discs even though they offer superior video quality than streaming.

Personally, I’d rather watch 4k Blu-ray than 8k streaming.

It’s not all about the resolution

The next innovation in technology should not have anything to do with resolution, if 8k can replicate further what 4k did with HDR then that might help the format.

Also OLED and QLED were major reasons why people jumped on the 4k bandwagon, it’s not just about resolution.

The only chance 8k haves is if they can upscale existing content to 8k and it makes a noticeable difference, in that case maybe I’d consider buying but upscaling often leaves mixed results.

For example, when you upscale 1080p to 4k it often is not noticeable and can sometimes even look worse.

What are the disadvantages of 8K?


Another reason why 8k movies might not become a thing is because most big Hollywood blockbusters use a lot of visual effects and those are often rendered at 2k.

Studios will not render VFX at 8k, which is outrageous from a financial perspective, as it costs so much. So what you’ll get is 2k digital effects upscaled to 8k and it will look quite terrible.

Also shooting in 8k cameras would cost a ton of money.

A popular cinema camera used in Hollywood is the Arri Alexa, these cameras are very expensive with the most high-end models coming in at $98,000, an 8k Arri Alexa would be a prohibitive cost.

Will 8K ever become mainstream?

Not enough people care about 4k so there is no chance 8k will become mainstream anytime soon. Only 0.5% of TV sales today are made for 8k TVs.

8K cameras cost a ton and don’t make financial sense for making movies unless a large contingent of people start buying 8k TVs.

4K is still not widely available, so any talk of 8k is overkill, it’s not happening any time soon.

Streaming services just started adopting 4k, and Netflix did not start showing all of their latest shows in 4k until a couple of years ago. Studios see that and know nobody wants 8k yet.

The current 8k format is prohibitively expensive and will likely not be able to play standard 8k content in the future.

Remember, the vast majority of 4k TVs became outdated very fast and could not display current 4k content.

Most displays did not have HDR 10 or Dolby Vision and some could not support audio formats like Dolby Atmos.

These elements all became more and more important later on down the line and tens of thousands of 4k TVs were not compatible.

Marketing seems like it’s falling flat

Many people are still hesitant to invest in 4k because they already have high-definition TVs and don’t feel they need “ultra high definition”, it seems 8k is marketing their product as “super high definition” which could cause the same issue.

The consumers may feel there is not a big difference between the formats as its similar wording.

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