8k vs. 4k: How Noticeable is the Difference?
Earlier this year we saw a lot of 8K products (mainly TVs) launching at CES, with products like the Samsung QLED TV retailing for as much as $5,000. So, is now the time for an upgrade and can you really tell the difference between 8k compared to 4k? Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the next big resolution and what it means for us consumers.
What is 8k?
8k simply refers to the resolution of the image/video that’s being captured. So, if you buy an 8k TV, for example, the resolution will be 7680 x 4320. This is 16x the number of pixels as its 1080p counterpart, and 4x the pixels you get from 4k resolution. With 8k you’re getting a much larger crop too.
How noticeable is the difference?
When you look at the side by side in ads, the difference is pretty clear and 8k looks impressive. It’s able to catch far more of the finer details. With that said, if you’re watching TV in the living room, you’re probably not going to see a really big difference.
Just because a TV has 8k resolution, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a higher picture quality. You need to look at a variety of other factors, including color profiling/HDR, optimal viewing distance, the quality of the lights that are used, and screen size.
If your screen size is too small, the pixels will be packed too tightly together and you won't really experience the benefits of 8k. We’d only really recommend it if you’re in the market for TVs larger than 60 inches.
From a business perspective, 8k could render some huge benefits, especially if you’re creating large digital displays but don’t have the budget for a huge commercially built display and are looking for some retail options.
What’s required for 8k to work?
You also need to think about whether your current tech in the home can handle the processing power required for 8k. The footage you play back also needs to be shot in 8k, otherwise, you’re just watching footage shot at 4k on an 8k screen so it would be a little fruitless at present. However, it’s safe to say that 8k TV and films will be common relatively soon.
We also need to consider streaming capabilities for 8k. A solid data connection is required. If you’ve ever found yourself getting annoyed at Netflix struggling to buffer a 4k movie, imagine it trying to load something twice the size.
Of course, the rollout of 5g, and ultimately 6g in around 10 years will come with speeds to support 8k technology and beyond, but right now, users may face difficulties. To stream 4k, you need to have a minimum internet download speed of 15Mbps, though 25Mbps is preferred. In the US, the average download speeds from broadband are generally much higher than this. If you live in a remote location though, you might struggle to achieve this.
Buy it Now or Wait?
There’s no doubt that 8k presents an incredible upgrade to anyone’s tech arsenal. However, with all this in mind, is it worth paying for 8k this early on?
If you’re a business that is using large digital signage to help generate foot traffic, there are some benefits to investing in 8k. From a consumer point of view though, we think it’s best to hold off for now.
Over the coming years, we’ll see the price of 8k resolution become a lot more accessible for consumers, and we’ll have the tech in place to support it. If you purchased an 8k TV right now, you may feel a little underwhelmed, and to be frank, you would probably be jumping the gun a bit.