In the fast-paced world of tech, we’re constantly introduced to new jargon and ideas. “8K” is one buzzword you might have heard, especially when discussing TVs, monitors, cameras, and other image-related gadgets.
But what is 8K, and how does it stand out from other resolutions? Let’s dive in and unpack the specifics, advantages, and drawbacks of 8K.
In short: 8K (8K UHD ) is 4320p image resolution (7,680 x 4,320 pixels – approximately 33 million total pixels and 16:9 aspect ratio).
What is 8K UHD
8K is a designation for the resolution in digital cinematography and computer graphics, roughly equivalent to 8000 pixels horizontally¹. A pixel is the smallest unit of an image, having a specific color and brightness. The more pixels in an image, the higher its quality and level of detail.
8K UHD (7680 × 4320) is the highest resolution defined in the Rec. 2020 standard¹, which governs the parameters of Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV). 8K UHD boasts four times as many pixels as 4K UHD (3840 × 2160) and sixteen times as many as Full HD (1920 × 1080). This means that the image displayed on an 8K screen will be sharper, more realistic, and captivating.
History of 8K
The initial research and development of 8K began in Japan in 1995, thanks to the public broadcaster NHK¹. The format was standardized by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) in October 2007, with the interface standardized in August 2010¹. In 2012, the International Telecommunication Union – Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) recommended 8K as the international standard for television¹.
The first public demonstrations of 8K took place at electronics exhibitions and during the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014 and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June 2014, using the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) codec¹. The first 8K televisions were introduced at CES 2019².
However, the transition to this new standard has been hindered by the lack of content and resources for its delivery³. According to a 2018 forecast by Strategy Analytics, 8K-supporting devices were expected to comprise only 3% of the UHD television market by 2023, with global sales of 11 million units per year⁴.
Nevertheless, TV manufacturers remain optimistic, as the 4K market grew faster than anticipated, with actual sales exceeding forecasts by nearly six times in 2016.
In 2013, the ability to transmit HDTV resolution was limited by internet speeds and relied on satellite broadcasting. The demand for 8K is expected to drive the development of video compression standards and exert significant pressure on physical communication networks in the near future.
As of 2018, only a few cameras were capable of capturing video in 8K, with NHK being one of the few companies to create a small broadcast camera with an 8K sensor. By 2018, Red Digital Cinema had released three 8K cameras with full-frame and Super 35 sensors. It is anticipated (according to UHD Forum Phase-B recommendations) that 8K will become a mainstream consumer screen resolution by 2023.
Nonetheless, cinematographers are pushing for demand for 8K cameras due to their ability to capture superior 4K video.
8K UHD vs UHD, Full HD and HD
8K has the highest resolution among all formats, consisting of 7680 × 4320 pixels. This is four times more than 4K (3840 × 2160), sixteen times more than Full HD (1920 × 1080), and thirty-two times more than HD (1280 × 720). 8K UHD provides the best image quality among all formats because it has the highest pixel density per inch (PPI). This means that the image on an 8K resolution screen will be more clear, detailed, and realistic compared to screens with lower resolutions.
|Format||Resolution||Number of Pixels (16:9)|
|HD||1280 × 720||921600|
|Full HD||1920 × 1080||2073600|
|Ultra HD (4K)||3840 × 2160||8294400|
|Ultra HD (8K)||7680 × 4320||33177600|
Pros and cons of 8K UHD
Like every technology, 8K has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Pros of 8K UHD resolution
8K offers several advantages over other resolution formats, such as:
- High clarity and image detail, enabling viewers to discern the finest details and textures.
- A larger screen area, creating an immersive effect and enhancing visual perception.
- Greater color depth, providing more natural and vibrant color reproduction.
- Higher frame rates, making motion smoother and more realistic.
- Expanded perspective, widening the viewing angle and reducing distortions at the screen edges.
These are the main advantages inherent in 8K technology. Let’s move on and look at the other side of the coin.
Cons of 8K Technology
However, 8K also has some drawbacks, such as:
- High cost of devices and content, making them inaccessible to most consumers.
- The lack of content and sources supporting 8K, limiting choices and accessibility for users.
- High bandwidth and data storage requirements, increasing the burden on networks and devices.
- The need for a close distance between the viewer and the screen to notice the difference between 8K and 4K, which can be inconvenient and potentially harmful to the eyes.
These are the main disadvantages that you should pay attention to when choosing 8K technology.
8K is a resolution format that delivers the highest quality and realism of images but requires significant investments, resources, and conditions for its usage.
What is 8K UHD Resolution: Final words
8K is a new resolution standard for digital cinematography and computer graphics that promises incredible image quality and realism. However, at present, 8K faces several issues and limitations related to cost, content availability, transmission, and perception.
Therefore, 8K is not ready to replace 4K or even Full HD in the near future. But this does not mean that 8K has no future. On the contrary, 8K can become a powerful catalyst for the development of technology, the industry, and society as a whole.
Perhaps in a few years, we will enjoy 8K video on our screens just as we currently enjoy HD video. For now, we can only keep track of progress and await new achievements in this field.