The 8K (UHD-2) resolution. What resolution is 8k

To enhance the visual experience at 8K resolution, NHK Science & Technical Research laboratories have developed a 22.2 multi-channel sound system using 24 speakers (including two subwoofers).

The 8K (UHD-2) resolution

Not so long ago, 4K resolution (UHD = Ultra High Definition) was considered a standard. And although 4K content and 4K technology has not really reached the “masses” yet, the successor to 8K has already appeared on the horizon. Below you will find interesting facts about the 8K resolution:

Comparison of different resolutions, simplified view

8K describes the UHD-2 and is the successor to 4K (UHD). 8K resolution has approximately 8,000 columns horizontally. Or 7680 x 4320 pixels, spread over the appropriate display size in the classic 16: 9 format, which is four times more pixels than in 4K and 16 times more than in Full HD.

This means there are approximately 33.2 million pixels on the display = 33.2 megapixels. Sometimes also 8192 x 4320 pixels at around 17: 9 is called 8K. However, with a rather unusual page format, this resolution is not suitable for consumer electronics.

This question cannot (yet) be answered in a general way. The differentiation depends not only on the viewing distance and size of the 8K screen, but also on other details such as the equipment and individual eyesight.

Simplified and in general, the farther the viewing distance, the fewer pixels per inch are required to prevent what you see from appearing “pixelated”. For example, a smartphone that usually comes close to the eye requires a higher pixel density than a home TV.

In 8K, the pixels are closer together and smaller, which can be seen as an improvement in image quality in terms of level of detail and depth. Colors can also appear more vivid thanks to the 12-bit color depth. Perception of increased color brilliance and greater detail may vary from viewer to viewer.

Schematic view of Full-HD, 4K and 8K sub-pixel structures Schematic view of Full-HD, 4K and 8K sub-pixel structures

The diagram above shows an illustration of the increased accuracy from Full HD to 8K. It shows the corresponding sub-pixel structure of different resolutions with the same section in each case. In Full HD, the sub-pixel is relatively large, you see 4 x 4 = 16 pixels. Four times the number of pixels is given for 4K: 8 x 8 = 64 pixels. In 8K, the number of pixels is again four times greater: 16 x 16 = 256 pixels .

The 8K data transfer, which is quite complex in terms of quantity, is demanding. Only HDMI from version 2.1 provides enough bandwidth to transmit 8K at a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

In addition, only this version supports 14 and 16-bit color depth, as well as 4K 3D 50 / 60p, which the predecessor HDMI 2.0 could not. Generally, HDMI 2.0 “only” manages 4K. DisplayPort supports 8K from version 1.3 .

8K compatible devices, such as TVs, are still very expensive and 8K multimedia content is difficult to access. Already, 4K content is only supported by a few TV stations. There are many movies available as UHD Blu-Ray, but the necessary playback devices are not yet widely available.

So, 8K content and playback devices are even scarcer, and it will take years before they can spread across the country (as of end of 2019). “Technology first, then hardware and content”, however, is software development and can also be seen in 4K.

Buying 8K cables and adapters is already a good idea, not only for technical early risers, to prepare for the future. The price difference with 4K products is not great and 8K products are backwards compatible. Home theater and gaming enthusiasts who use large screens can already use 8K. Also interesting for gamers: in 2020, the new Xbox and Playstation will be on the market, both are compatible with 8K and support 8K streaming.

NEW DisplayPort 1.4 Repeater

It can be used to amplify the DisplayPort connection signal up to 12 m. A cable up to 2 m long from a desktop or laptop can be connected to the inverter input port. A cable up to 10m in length is then routed to a display or TV at the amplifier’s output port.

1 x DisplayPort female
1 x DC 5V power connector
1 x DisplayPort female
Supports HBR3 data rate (8.1 Gbps
Cascade (Daisy)
Dimensions (LxWxH): approx. 55 x 54 x 20mm

Item 85660

Samsung offers 8K models in its Neo QLED 2021 range – which uses Mini LED technology – while QLED 2020 also has 8K options. If you’re looking for an 8K TV, chances are Samsung will be one of the cheaper options.

The Basics of 8K

8K is a resolution higher than 4K – and that’s it. 1080p screens have a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. 4K screens double these numbers to 3840 by 2160 and quadruple the number of pixels. 8K doubles those numbers again, to a resolution of 7680 by 4320. That’s four times the pixels of 4K, which means 16 times the pixels of a 1080p TV.

For context, look closely at your TV set. Try to find a single pixel (not individual red, green and blue lights; they are sub pixels, meaning you are too close). If you are looking at a 4K screen, imagine four pixels taking up the space of that single pixel. If you are looking at a 1080p screen, imagine a grid of sixteen pixels, four by four, within that single pixel. This is 8K. It’s much sharper than 4K and much, much sharper than 1080p.

What About HDR?

If you’ve been paying attention to TVs and 4K, you’ve heard the term HDR, high dynamic range. You may also be confused by what HDR is and whether it is different from 4K. HDR can be a complicated concept, but it’s important to understand that 8K is still evolving and it’s helpful to know when you are buying a 4K TV.

The resolution – 1080p, 4K, and 8K – indicates the number of pixels on the screen. HDR and SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) determine what each of these pixels shows. Each pixel is assigned values ​​that determine the brightness of its red, green and blue (sometimes white) sub pixels that make up the color and light of that pixel, more specifically its hue and luminance.

SDR and the standard color gamut are deliberately limited due to the technical limitations of CRT televisions that set these standards decades ago. Light is assigned a value from 16 to 238 on a scale of 1 to 255, and color is assigned a value in Rec. 709 color space, a small fraction of the full spectrum of visible light. Transmission standards were defined within these ranges because CRT displays could not exactly become darker, brighter or more colorful. This meant that any signal transmitted over wireless, cable, or satellite, as well as most physical and streaming media, was also limited.

HDR and wide color gamut take advantage of the greater capabilities of LCD and OLED screens, taking advantage of the full range of light and color values ​​available. For light, this means from 1 to 255, often with much greater levels of light in between due to the greater bit depth. HDR TVs use a much wider range of light and color values, with more steps in between than SDR TVs.

Different types of HDR have different possibilities. Delving into the differences of each of them can be your own story. All you need to know about HDR in this context is that 4K determines the number of pixels and SDR / HDR determines what each pixel does. Virtually all HDR content is 4K, but not all 4K content is HDR.

This logic also extends to 8K. 8K content can be HDR and so can 4K content. It can also be SDR, with more limited values ​​for each pixel. Of course, most 8K content will likely be available in HDR, but we don’t have a way to know it – there is no 8K content available for consumers yet.

So, 8K content and playback devices are even scarcer, and it will take years before they can spread across the country (as of end of 2019). “Technology first, then hardware and content”, however, is software development and can also be seen in 4K.

4K, 8K and higher resolution display products in the market

While 4K products have been around for many years, the market is not saturated with 8K products. And it will likely be a few more years before we really see 8K products in any volume – except for displays which are usually introduced first.

When it comes to projectors, Digital Projection unveiled the world’s first 8K unit in early 2018. A few months later, at InfoComm, Barco presented its 8K projector.

I asked André Jensen, Barco’s Product Marketing Manager, why it is important for the company to showcase a product like an 8K projector. His answer:

“Barco has a tradition of bringing new resolutions and projection technologies to market early. We were the first to introduce WQXGA resolution for niche markets such as simulations and V&AR, and we have just introduced the XDL, a direct laser with a brightness of 75,000 lumens for the major events and attractions market. While there is no real interest in 8K in the market right now, it’s important to get the message across that Barco is ready to meet future demand.”

It’s fair to say it’s only a matter of time before Panasonic, Epson and other manufacturers also unveil 8K projectors.

Other 8K display devices include OLED screens unveiled by LG at CES in January 2018, a Dell 8K monitor, an 85-inch SONY 8K TV with 10,000 nits, and let’s not forget that Sharp introduced an 8K TV in 2015 with a neat price tag. $ 133,000… The First Move Costs! I wonder what content has been watched by the owner of the screen since 2015 .. maybe a poorly scaled BluRay?!

Interestingly, the Japanese public broadcaster NHK announced that it would launch the 8K satellite channel in December 2018. NHK started 8K test broadcasting in 2016, and in December 2018 it will start broadcasting in the 8K satellite format called Super Hi-Vision. NHK reported on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in 8K. To support their high-definition broadcasting efforts, they even developed a full-resolution 8K full-resolution camera that records at 60fps at 15360 x 8640p at 12bitHDR. Their goal is to increase the frame rate to 120 frames per second by the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

To enhance the visual experience at 8K resolution, NHK Science & Technical Research laboratories have developed a 22.2 multi-channel sound system using 24 speakers (including two subwoofers).


Higher resolution means more and smaller pixels on the display (unless the display size scales appropriately), resulting in greater image detail. It is well documented that higher resolutions give greater performance. Read more about pixel power here

In addition to the direct benefit of more pixels, higher resolution also means you don’t need as many displays to display the same number of pixels. There are several installations where this is relevant, e.g scientific visualizations, simulators, virtual reality, planetariums and domes.

Mark Wadsworth, Digital Projection, explains: “Extra pixels are a huge benefit, especially in installations where many projectors were previously used in confined spaces. Dark rides, planetariums and other immersive installations will greatly benefit from the 8K pixel density. We see a lot of interest from architectural drawing companies where 8K allows viewers to get very close and discover fine lines and details that were previously only available on paper.”

What are the challenges of higher resolution displays?

As with 8K, when 4K was announced, there were few displays and finding sources that could reproduce 4K footage was a challenge. As players became available, there was a clear need to distribute content from the source to the end display – infrastructure.

With higher bandwidth requirements, as shown earlier, infrastructure (scalers, switches, routers, converters, cables, and basically any type of device between display and source) has become a limiting factor in the distribution of high-definition content. He wasn’t ready to handle those bandwidths.

At the same time, there is a paradigm shift in the AV industry, where we increasingly focus on IP-based infrastructure. This means that a whole new set of tools and hardware must be developed to support both high definition and network AV.

If you plan to upgrade your IP-based infrastructure soon, be sure to plan the high definition content your AV equipment will need.

André Jensen, Barco, comments: “While the end displays are capable of processing high-quality content with high frame rates and high color depth, the entire image stream and infrastructure is not yet 8K ready. This will require significant investment in infrastructure and content creation before the market is mature enough for 8K.”

While 4K products have been around for many years, the market is not saturated with 8K products. And it will likely be a few more years before we really see 8K products in any volume – except for displays which are usually introduced first.

8K and Connectivity

To meet the bandwidth and transfer speed requirements for 8K, physical connectivity for future TVs and source devices needs to be upgraded.

An improved version of HDMI (version 2.1) was created to accommodate televisions, switches, splitters and extension cords. In addition to the enhanced HDMI connector, there are two additional physical connection standards, SuperMHL and Display Port (version 1.4) for use with 8K.

Speed ​​of adoption is at the discretion of the manufacturers, but compatible technology began to appear on select TVs and related devices in 2019.

8K and Streaming

To stream 8K you need a very fast broadband internet connection – over 50Mbps or more. While it’s not out of range, it can easily block bandwidth and slow down access for other users on the network. It can also chew through your monthly data limits very quickly. Moreover, broadband speeds not only vary depending on the ISP, but also the time of day. There is no guarantee that actual speeds will approach advertised speeds.

Both YouTube and Vimeo currently offer 8K video streaming and streaming options. Even though hardly anyone can watch 8K videos, you can access 4K, 1080p or lower resolution playback options of the 8K content provided. That said, once 8K TVs start landing in homes, YouTube and Vimeo are all set. Expect other services such as Netflix and Vudu to arrive.

We embraced 4K, and while some are still struggling to meet the challenges 4K has brought, a few manufacturers are gearing up for 8K – and more! What are the advantages and challenges of higher resolutions? What products are on the market?

Test results

The results were summarized in several ways. On average of all scores, 8K clips were rated “slightly slightly better” than 4K clips (see Figure 5). The average value did not exceed 0.252, which is a quarter of the “slightly better” value. In fig. 5, the mean scores of participants with vision of 20/20 or better are also shown. In this case, the average value for some clips has shifted slightly more towards 8K, but slightly less for the other clips.

Figure 5: In the mean of all scores (left), the 8K versions were rated “marginally slightly better” than the 4K versions. In the mean scores of subjects with a visual acuity of 20/20 or better (right), the mean values ​​changed slightly, but not significantly.

Looking at the average results of participants with visual acuity of 10-20 seated in the front row (see fig. 6), the 8K version of the two clips – A Bug’s Life and Stacey Spears – fared slightly better, right next to the full figure “slightly better”. The rest of the clips were still a small part of it. The results from this group of participants were particularly highlighted because, in keeping with a more technical and precise expression of sharpness constraints, they were able to fully split the 8K resolution on an 88-inch screen from this distance.

Dig. 6: Average scores for participants with 10-20 visual acuity seated in the front row (five feet from the screen) show that the A Bug’s Life and Stacey Spears wildlife footage clips were rated higher than the other clips, but still only “slightly better” than 4K.

By analyzing the numbers in a different way, all the “slightly better”, “better” and “much better” responses were combined into one “better” result. According to Michael Zink, vice president of technology at Warner Bros and one of the study authors, “The goal was to remove nuances from the equation. What could be “slightly better” for one person could potentially be “much better” for another person in terms of the perceptual difference. Basically, we wanted to see the difference between people who score “equal” and “better” at any level. These results are presented in the right half of Fig. 7.

Another interesting view of the response data is shown in the left half of Figure 7. The graph shows the distribution of responses that indicated 4K looked better than 8K, both versions looked the same, and 8K looked better than 4K. Interestingly, Stacey Spears’ wildlife footage had a different scoring distribution than other clips, with more responses rating the 8K version better than the 4K version.

Figure 7: The graph on the left shows the distribution of ratings that rated the 4K version better than the 8K (blue) version, rated both the same (orange) and rated the 8K version better than the 4K (green) version. The chart on the right shows the results when three different grades of “better” on each side have been combined into one “better” score.

I was amazed to see how many people rated the 4K version better than the 8K version. When I asked Michael Zink about this, he replied, “I believe the reason you see a large number of people rate” 4K better than 8K “is because they don’t really know the difference and are just guessing. The more interesting point is the fact that in all clips except Nature clip 7, most people rated “4K the same as 8K”. And “8K better than 4K” is the second most rated option. It’s different for Clip 7, and most people scored “8K better than 4K” which was an interesting finding.”


Of course, Zink and his colleagues made several conclusions from these results. First, increasing the spatial resolution from 4K to 8K under typical viewing conditions does not result in a significant visual improvement. Also, the perceptual difference is to some extent dependent on the content; Stacey Spears’ nature footage clip ratings in particular tended a bit more towards 8K than others, possibly because it contains a lot of high-frequency detail.

Perhaps most importantly, the perceptual difference depends on visual acuity and sitting distance. Participants with a 20/10 sharpness first of all confidently rated the 8K A Bug’s Life versions and nature footage higher than the other clips. An additional finding was that the ITU may wish to revise its viewing distance recommendation to accommodate viewers with 20/10 or 20/15 visual acuity.

One of the things that was not covered by the study is whether display technology has any effect on the ability to recognize 8K. Would the results be different if the display were an 8K LCD TV and not an OLED? I suspect not, but an objective determination would require a different study.

This study supports the view that 8K is only marginally better than 4K in terms of perceived detail – and only with good visual acuity at a relatively close distance to the screen. Otherwise, 4K offers as much detail as most consumers can perceive. Still, I’m sure TV makers will continue to produce 8K TVs and bring that resolution to their mid-range models, as they did when 4K TVs first came out, although I doubt studios will be creating a lot of content in native 8K in the near future. So it all boils down to how well 8K TVs scale lower resolutions. Perhaps this could be the subject of another study.

Fig. 1: All seven clips have been encoded in HDR10. This table shows the MaxFALL (Maximum Average Frame Light Level) and Max CLL (Maximum Body Light Level) of each clip. As you can see, the clips represent a wide range of average and maximum light levels.

What about 8K content and upscaling?

We’ll talk about these two things together as there’s virtually no actual 8K content right now. There are a few samples, there is support for 8K resolution on Vimeo, and Japanese broadcaster NHK intends to film the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 8K (when it is in 2021), but otherwise the implementation is not common.

There is no optical disc support, there is no Netflix in 8K, and it’s not a format commonly used to capture content. That could change in 2021 as some smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S20, now offer 8K capture. But that’s a long way from the studio standard that is widely available.

So 8K in the present and foreseeable future is all about scaling up. What will scaling to 8K do? It uses artificial intelligence to analyze images and correct them, enhance colors and replace missing information by analyzing previous frames. It will sharpen edges, remove jagged edges from things like text, and reduce noise in areas where there is little data – such as blocky blue skies.

None of this is really new, but it’s a more advanced system than is used in many 4K TVs.

Samsung confirmed to us in 2019 that it is using machine learning and artificial intelligence in its 8K scaling solution, but the power demand will also be high as there will be a lot of processing.

This is the story so far: there is no content, but anything you pump into an 8K TV will be scaled up to look better.

Is an 8K TV upgrade worth it?

It really comes down to who you are and what you expect from your TV. Let’s separate the argument from resolution: the flagship TV is designed for the best performance, regardless of the content you put into it. It’s also the company’s 8K TV, and the scaling performance is great. So buying the highest quality 8K has some advantages as you are not just buying the resolution.

At the same time, the lack of 8K content from a convenient source can be a barrier to adoption for many people. We are sure it will happen in the next 3-5 years, at which point we expect 8K to be much more common. With that in mind – and the average TV lifetime is at least around 5 years – there will likely be a lot of changes before you can natively watch 8K content and get the most out of your 8K TV.

With that in mind, it’s hard to recommend a “cheap” 8K TV that could come out in the next 12-18 months. If you’re not buying quality, you likely won’t get great 8K quality.

The 8K Association (8KA) – an industry body created to oversee the development of the 8K ecosystem – has outlined some basic public specifications for what an 8K TV should offer, including: 7,680 x 4,320 pixel resolution; input frame rates 24p, 30p, 60p; over 600 nits of peak brightness; HEVC support; and HDMI 2.1.


In theory, higher resolution means more pixels, and more pixels means more detail captured in the video. Compared to 1080p, 4K video has four times as many pixels and 8K has 16 times as many for even more detailed video.

To illustrate the difference, we used our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to record three videos of exactly the same scene – one in 1080p, one in 4K and one in 8K. Here is the scene in question:

8K vs 4K vs 1080p video: what's the difference and in what resolution should I record?

We then extracted the individual frames for side-by-side comparison and enlarged the highlighted area. Here’s the difference:

The quality differences between 1080p and 4K are serious – so much so that on a 1080p snapshot we have a hard time distinguishing what we are looking at. 4K makes things so much better. The image is much sharper, although fine details are still noticeably blurred.

8K 100% crop

This is where it gets interesting. In the 4K crop it is impossible to read the text written on the machine, while in 8K you can read it a bit. Compared to 4K, it looks like there’s a big difference again.

But can you see the difference between 1080p, 4K, and 8K?

Technically, there is a big difference between the different resolutions. But in real life, it will be almost impossible to notice the difference between 4K and 8K on your phone. When it comes to 1080p, if you have a phone with a display larger than 6 inches, with a resolution of at least FHD +, you will notice differences compared to 4K, with the latter providing noticeably more detail. But if your phone isn’t that big in terms of display specs, you won’t be able to tell the two resolutions apart.

If you’re interested in whether the same is true of larger screens, the answer is no. It all depends on the resolution of your TV or monitor, so if it’s 1080p, you won’t see a difference when playing 4K or 8K unless you zoom in. If you have a 1080p TV or monitor, you won’t be able to notice the difference between the three provisions. But one day you are going to buy a new one and chances are it will be 4K as this has become standard on televisions and monitors. This makes 4K a better resolution for filming if you ever plan on watching these movies on your TV or computer monitor.

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