TECH

Robb Report (USA) - - DEPARTMENTS -

8K TVs, a mixed-re­al­ity head­set, and Le­ica Le­ica’s cov­eted new cam­era.

THE LAUNCH this fall of 8K TVs marks the fourth time in 20 years that the tech in­dus­try has promised a bet­ter view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence through an in­crease in TV res­o­lu­tion. But will 8K pro­duce a vis­i­ble im­prove­ment?

The term 8K refers to a screen res­o­lu­tion 7,680 pix­els across and 4,320 pix­els high, com­pared with 3,840 by 2,160 pix­els for today’s 4K ul­tra­high-def­i­ni­tion (UHD) TVs. There is no 8K pro­gram­ming cur­rently avail­able to con­sumers, so th­ese TVs con­vert low­er­res­o­lu­tion video to 8K.

How­ever, ex­perts weren’t even con­vinced that 4K de­liv­ered a no­tice­able im­prove­ment. “When we con­sider typ­i­cal view­ing habits, the dif­fer­ence be­tween HD and UHD was not per­cep­ti­ble,” says Martin Banks, a pro­fes­sor of vi­sion science at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley. “The dif­fer­ence would be per­cep­ti­ble if you sat closer to the screen than view­ers typ­i­cally do.” Ac­cord­ing to rt­ings.com, a viewer needs to sit within five feet of an 80-inch TV to see the dif­fer­ence be­tween 4K and 8K.

Sam­sung’s 85-inch QN85Q900, priced at $15,000, will likely be the only 8K op­tion that

U.S. video en­thu­si­asts can ac­quire in 2018. It boasts an ar­ti­fi­cial-in­tel­li­gence en­gine that an­a­lyzes the con­tent of the pic­ture and op­ti­mizes its own set­tings for best per­for­mance.

Sharp’s nearly $11,000 LV-70X500E 70-inch 8K TV is now avail­able in Asia and Europe; the com­pany says it will of­fer 60-, 70- and 80-inch mod­els in 2019.

TCL re­cently demon­strated a 75-inch 8K model with Dolby Atmos sur­round sound. In ad­di­tion, LG has shown an 88-inch model, and Toshiba a 65-inch, but nei­ther com­pany will pre­dict pric­ing or avail­abil­ity.

De­spite ques­tion­able ben­e­fits and lit­tle selec­tion for now, 8K TVs are likely to be­come stan­dard. Af­ter all, 4K now dom­i­nates the TV in­dus­try, even though ex­perts raised the same ques­tions about it.

Brent But­ter­worth

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