Tuesday, September 04, 2018


The first salvos were fired this weekend at IFA 2018 in Berlin, and later this week the battle between South Korean MegaGiants LG and Samsung will resume on American shores as both of the world two largest manufacturers of TVs by sales volume,  #1 Samsung (22.2%) and #2 LG Electronics (14.5%), will once again meet head-to-head here in Southern California at the 28th annual CEIDA Expo; and the topic here at Video & Audio Center’s (and on everyone else who’s here for the Expo event’s) tongues…8K TVs!

At the end of last week, on August 30th, LG Electronics released this press release:

“Already a leader in advancing TV innovation with its OLED TVs, LG Electronics (LG) is introducing the world’s first 8K (7680 x 4320) OLED TV at IFA 2018. The 88-inch 8K LG OLED TV features over 33 million self-emitting pixels to produce the unmatched contrast ratio and true blacks that define OLED TV’s iconic picture quality.”

Coincidentally enough, at the end of last week, on August 30th, Samsung Electronics released this press release:

“During its press conference at the IFA 2018, Samsung Electronics is to announce its foray into 8K with the unveil of the Q900R QLED 8K complete with 8K AI Upscaling. Available in four ultra-large screen sizes (65”, 75”, 82” and 85”), Samsung QLED 8K TV will feature several 8K-ready enhancements, including Real 8K Resolution, Q HDR 8K and Quantum Processor 8K, all created to bring 8K-quality images to life.”

According to Samsung developer Hyunseung Lee, “the TV’s added resolution allows detailed in images to be expressed more clearly, and creates a sense of reality and depth that keeps you immersed in your content. With conventional SD (standard definition) or HD (high definition) displays, when people look closely at depicted images, they can recognize them as a cluster of pixels, however, with QLED 8K, the level of resolution is so high that pixels become invisible to the human eye, and viewers become incapable of distinguishing depicted objects from the real thing.

According to Brian Kwon, president of LG’s home entertainment business, “LG’s first 8K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and the next evolutionary step in display technology…4K OLED played a major role in reshaping the TV industry, and LG is confident that 8K OLED will do the same.”

According to the most-recent estimates, at the current rate of adoption, it is estimated that by the end of 2019, “only” 49% of all US households will even have a 4K UHD TV in their home. I say “only” because at Video & Audio Center, we’ve seen a far greater than average acceptance of this new technology than even the most optimistic of projections even dared to estimate.

So why the quick move to 8K? It may seem a little quick, but 8K has been in works as early as 2012 in terms of development, and while some people may criticize the move as a case of “one-upmanship” or simply trying get more money out of consumers, the opposite is actually closer to the truth; as the demands for larger and larger screens increases, the NEED for an 8K image also increases to be able to project those images on screen sizes above the 80’-85” screen sizes!
According to HDGuru, “In addition to having four times greater pixel resolution (7680×4320 pixels) than 4K displays, the new resolution screens will be able to pack those extra pixels with more visible color and brightness attributes, compared to today’s 3840x2160p systems. This should deliver images with greater dimensionality, textures, wider shades of color and sharper gray scale detail for things like text and digital image enlargements when viewed up close. Importantly, it will also enable sharp and vibrant images on screen sizes 65-inches and larger, something both companies clearly had in mind by releasing premiere models exceeding 80 inches.”

While pricing is certainly going to be “up there,” for this new line of “Ultra Premium” televisions, as the market has begun to call them, imagine a state-of-the-art, 100” 8K Ultra High Definition HDR Artificial Intelligence-enhanced Smart TV for the same price as a 42” plasma TV twenty years ago! Not such a bad deal, now is it?

Of course there will be content issues at the start, I mean we’re still working on developing and standardizing 4K broadcast and streaming content, but technology is moving at a much faster pace, and with advancements in AI that pace will only quicken. In a CNBC interview last week, Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research, said his firm estimates that “close to 250,000 8K TV panels will be shipped THIS YEAR, rising to close to 7 million by 2022.”

In the final analysis, if what we as consumers are looking for is the most realistic viewing experience possible, the most cinematic, the one that truly inspires and engages, then all I can say is, when is 16K coming out?

Video & Audio Center will be back from CEDIA and starting next week, we will take a far more in-depth look at LG’s and Samsung’s initial forays into the 8K consumer, Ultra Premium market, and report back what we were able to observe.

 As an added bonus, here’s a link to what I was told was the first 8K video ever uploaded to YouTube: VIEW "GHOST TOWN"


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