06 Sep 2017

8K is coming into the living room this year

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The new 8K Ecosystem was launched simultaneously in four cities The new 8K Ecosystem was launched simultaneously in four cities Sharp

Sharp launched what it reckons is the world’s first 8K TV destined for the domestic market in four cities worldwide last week with what looks to be a sub $10,000 price tag attached.

Details surrounding the new set are surprisingly sparse — even the price tag comes from an unnamed source telling the Nikkei Asian Review that the price on release will be around one million yen — but it does mean that the Foxconn-owned manufacturer will be the first to bring 8K to the world’s living rooms.

Well, it will as long as that living room is in China, which will be the first country to see shipments at the end of the year, with Japan, Taiwan and Europe following soon after, hopefully by March. A firm US release date is probably being held up due to an ongoing licensing dispute over the right to use the Sharp name, though Foxconn is in the throes of trying to get permission to build a $10 billion panel facility in Wisconsin, so it’s not a territory being ignored.

The AQUOS 8K TV is the first in what Sharp insists will be an 8K ecosystem and this first model will be a 70in screen and be compatible with Dolby Vision and BDA-HDR. “Moreover,” says a Sharp statement surrounding the release, “the 8K TV has an excellent contrast ratio and wide colour gamut due to a fluorescent molecular imaging technique, marking a great choice for an exciting life.”

Exciting indeed. Audio is supplied by a Yamaha Audio Engine with support for DTS 2.0. Additionally Sharp says that three groups of speakers built into the soundbar work with two groups of woofers and four high-powered speakers installed behind the TV for super bassy sound.

And if it feels awfully like we’ve been here before, then we have. 8K sets have been unveiled by various manufacturers at tradeshows here and there for a couple of years now — Sharp even unveiled one itself two years ago, the 85-inch LV-85001, which boasted an astronomical price tag of $130,000 — but this seems to be the first one with a solid production and marketing plan behind it.

Chances are it won’t be the last.

 


Andy Stout

Andy has spent over two decades writing about all aspects of the broadcast and film industries for a variety of high-profile industry publications on both sides of the Atlantic. During that time the industry has moved from 4:3 SD to 16:9 SD to HD and now on to 4K HDR. He's getting kind of curious to see where it goes next.

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