02 Sep 2019

I'm getting an 8K TV today

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I'm getting an 8K TV today Samsung

I’m excited, of course, but I have a feeling that it’s not going to be easy to view 8K video

I just want to say, at the earliest possible stage, that I don’t own the TV. It’s on loan from Samsung for review. And I have to admit that this is a big day for me, just like it was when in 1973 my parents got their first colour TV. That was a big deal, and I think this will be too.

Hopefully I’m not alone in my fascination for TV technology. In my lifetime we’ve gone from monochrome 405 line TVs (in the UK) to today’s top-end devices which are literally a hundred times more detailed.

But I must admit that I’m also a bit perplexed. I’ve not had time to study - or even cursorily glance - at the specifications of the TV. I think it costs about £6,000. I have absolutely no idea what’s on the back of it. Maybe it’s got the latest version of HDMI, 2.1, which has an incredible 48Gb/s bandwidth. If not, I’m not sure how we’re going to get video onto the screen. (It almost certainly doesn’t have 4 x !2G SDI ports!). And of course I need to find something that can actually play 8K material.

So I thought I’d mention it now, because I’m determined to watch genuine 8K content on the screen, but I may have to go through some contortions to get it there. And of course I will write about it here.

There are two leading options at the moment. There’s YouTube. I have 500 Mbit/s broadband, and there is 8K content, like this from our friend Phil Holland.

The TV is of course a Smart TV, so it will have YouTube built in. Will it decode YouTube footage at 8K? We’ll have to see.

The second option is that I believe these TVs have a “Demo mode” where they actually have 8K demos footage stored internally. I need to confirm this but I’ve been told about this in a UK department store called John Lewis, which sells the sets. I’m hoping that if this demo mode exists, it is accessible through the normal menus and you don’t need a special “resellers code” to activate it. Of course I can ask Samsung about this.

The elephant in the room is that if you have to go to these lengths to show 8K on an 8K TV, then it’s very hard to see why you would want to buy one at this stage. But let’s not get hung up on that: a lot could change over the next year. For example, quite a few 6K-capable cameras are in the shops now. If you want to view native 6K, you’ll have to buy an 8K TV.

So, I apologise for the almost total lack of detail here, but this is actually representative of the state of consumer 8K right now.


David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

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