File this one under, “told ya so.” Back in 2016 I reported that our friends in Japan had started tests of 8K television. The goal at the time was to have 8K broadcasts ready for the Olympics in 2020. I think we can safely say things didn’t work out as promised there. Obviously the Olympics didn’t happen in 2020. Apparently NHK, the Japanese broadcast network, did actually broadcast 200 hours of 8K over satellite to its customers, but the rest of the world didn’t see it. I suppose that’s fair.
So is 8K a thing now?
I suppose theoretically 8K broadcasts over satellite are possible. But that’s a long way from saying that you’ll be getting 8K anytime soon. We’re just saying it’s technically possible under specific circumstances.
Here in the US, I’m not aware of anyone doing any tests on 8K. It’s been ten years and we’re still trying to roll out 4K effectively to people. Sure, there’s more and more content every year but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what’s out there in HD.
DIRECTV and DISH have the technology to do 8K “in theory.” At least they could send 8K signals up to the satellite and back down. Of course neither company has an 8K receiver.
A quick search shows there are some 8K videos on YouTube, and if you had an 8K monitor you could probably watch them. Of course you would also need an internet connection that’s fast enough to download that kind of video. I’m not quite sure how fast that would need to be. I’m sure it’s faster than I can download right now.
Will 8K ever be a thing?
I think that’s the better question. Given the slow pace of 4K adoption, it’s fair to say that we don’t have to worry about 8K for a while. Maybe we don’t have to worry about it ever. In order to really see the quality difference between 4K and 8K, you’d need a 120″ TV at normal viewing distance. Maybe with a desktop monitor, something 40″ or larger would let you see it. But the real question is, would you be “wowed” by what you see? Or would it just be a bragging rights kind of thing, like so much 4K video today is.
I guess that’s a subject for the next Throwback Thursday article, the one from 2027 that I’ll write referencing this one. I’ll see you in 5 years… hopefully you keep reading the blog between then and now.