If there’s one massive trend that’s been made perfectly clear here during our first 24 hours in Berlin for IFA 2018 it’s that 8K TV is officially here. There’ve been rumblings at past IFAs and other consumer tech shows with manufacturers showing off some very early and very expensive models. But the time is apparently now for 8K to truly make its presence felt, and all of the big players are using this show as their platform to get into the game.
Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve seen so far:
- LG showed off the world’s first 8K OLED TV here in Berlin. The South Korean-based manufacturer said in its statement that it expects the market to mature to some five million units in the next four years.
- Samsung quickly followed suit with their 8K QLED TV. The company’s 85-inch offering will reportedly be made available in October.
- TCL was next up with their 8K QLED TV, which put the focus on sound thanks to its integrated Onkyo soundbar that will be Dolby Atmos-enabled.
- Sharp, which announced in April that their 8K model would hit the European market this year, has that set with them here in Berlin as well.
With the exception of Sharp, which announced pricing information in April, no other TV manufacturer here in Berlin has said anything about how much their 8K displays will cost. But if Sharp’s $13,000 set tells us anything, it’s going to be expensive to get into the 8K market as an early adopter.
Are We Ready for 8K?
We’ve questioned already why the industry is so gungho about diving head first into 8K TVs when the content is quite literally nowhere to be found right now. I get the excitement around picture quality and wanting to have the latest tech in a TV. But we’re still lagging behind on the content side when it comes to 4K-ready TV stations. It’s gotten markedly better over the past few years. But now, all of a sudden, those same content makers that just invested in 4K are going to find themselves behind the 8-ball yet again. Is that really what’s best for TVs today?
For what it’s worth, Sony is showing off 8K-ready professional grade cameras, so the adoption rate could be much quicker than 4K was. But there are a lot of what ifs.
From what I’ve seen, getting my nose nearly up against some of these displays here in Berlin, the technology is beyond impressive. I had an incredibly hard time trying to pick out individual pixels in an image, and some even created this sense of depth that made it feel like I could dive right into the scene in front of me.
Whether consumers, the content, or the market are ready for 8K, it doesn’t really seem to matter. Manufacturers are, which means they’re coming. They’ll take the upscaling approach in most cases, promising to make our now-outdated 4K content look even better. So, as is standard with the TV market, consumers will likely find themselves waiting a few years to hop on the 8K bandwagon once the prices start coming down and the content finally starts catching up. And hey, by then maybe we’ll be talking about 16K TVs.