The 8K era, the resolution we’ve all been waiting for, is here. As we speak, the home entertainment space is being revolutionized with the launch of devices that offer richer, more immersive 8K viewing experiences. But how close has the industry come to introducing those experiences into living rooms everywhere?
To answer eight common questions about 8K, Samsung Newsroom caught up with Bill Mandel, President of the 8K Association and Vice President of Samsung Research America, and Chris Chinnock, Executive Director of the 8K Association. Read on to learn more about topics such as the state of the 8K ecosystem, market outlook, key industry players, 8K content production methods, and what users can expect for the future of the technology.
Who is leading the way in creating the 8K ecosystem?
In 2018, Samsung and a few other TV and panel manufacturers planned to organize a trade group focused on planning and developing the 8K ecosystem. They approached Insight Media’s Chris Chinnock to discuss future product and content development.
That’s how the 8K Association was created in 2019 to benefit users, content creators and technology developers alike. Since then, 8KA has published a variety of materials to teach people about 8K technology, including a detailed “State of the 8K Ecosystem” report, educational seminars and webinars, and a weekly news service called “The 8K Monitor.” The Association also has several committees involved in developing new 8K TV specifications and testing methods, along with encoding and decoding activities, content creation, marketing and promotion and more – all with the goal of expanding the 8K ecosystem.
What kind of companies have joined 8KA?
When the 8K Association was formed in 2019, it had only five member companies. Having focused its efforts on expanding the 8K ecosystem over the past three years, the Association now has 30 members, which include not only TV brands, but also panel manufacturers, chipmakers, content creators, streaming service providers, and equipment suppliers, among others.
What makes 8K-enabled devices different from others?
In addition to announcing Test Specifications at IFA 2019 and CES 2020, the 8K Association has established common industry standards, including an 8K certification program to enable consumers to enjoy consistent, high-quality 8K experiences.
The certification program is refined each year by adding specific criteria, and stringent evaluations are conducted based on various requirements. The program is comprised of elements that provide users with more three-dimensional and highly immersive experiences. These include multichannel immersive video and sound decoding that supports a wide variety of 8K streaming content, as well as resolution, brightness, color and connectivity that ensure high performance on large displays.
How many 8K-enabled devices are currently on the market?
The number of 8KA-certified TV models is increasing every year. With the launch of its 2019 QLED 8K displays, Samsung became the first manufacturer in the industry to introduce a full lineup of 8KA-certified TVs. As of August 2021, 47 Samsung 8K TVs have received the 8KA Certification logo. Today, Samsung, Hisense and TCL have introduced more than 70 8KA Certified TVs to the market.
How is 8K content typically produced and distributed?
A large amount of 8K content is captured with cinema-quality 8K HDR cameras. However, most of this content is finished in 4K or HDR resolution before being distributed to consumers.
That said, it is clear that the amount of 8K content available continues to expand. The YouTube and Vimeo platforms also have a large amount of short-form 8K content that focuses on nature and travel.
Will we be able to play games in 8K?
Major gaming consoles are expected to support 8K playback via the HDMI 2.1 interface, and 8K gaming will also be possible with upscaling technology in 8K TVs. On the PC gaming side, high-end graphics cards from manufacturers such as Nvidia and AMD may include support for 8K output, including with features such as ray tracing and GPU-enabled upscaling.