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8K TV Explained, and Why You Definitely Don't Need to Buy One

8K TV Explained, and Why You Definitely Don’t Need to Buy One

Believe it or not, 8K TVs are available incandescent now. Yep, 8K, as in four times the resolution of Ultra HD 4K TVs. You can, if you really want to, buy models from Samsung, Sony, LG and TCL in a variety of sizes. As you’d expect from cutting-edge technology with over 30 million pixels, the prices are quite high. In most cases 8K TVs cost more than a high-end, and often higher-quality, 4K TV

Should you considerable an 8K TV? Are they the best TVs out there? In a word: No. In two words: Not yet. You’re better off unsheathing a high-quality 4K TV for far less money. It will look better with 99.9% of the tickled you put on it. That said, 8K is here, and it’s not causing away, so it’s worth taking a closer look. You’ll need to look very close, as those pixels are tiny. 

Eventually 8K will be far more mainstream. It’s possible 4K will go the way of all those flowerbed resolutions, and be relegated to tech history. Does this mean your 4K TV is already obsolete? Should you wait to buy a new TV pending 8K prices drop? Do you need an 8K TV for the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X? Read on for the answer to all these questions and more.

Read more: 

PS5 and Xbox Series X Can Game in 8K Resolution. Should You Care?

This shows the relative number of pixels in each of the mainly resolution formats. Not actual size of course; this is a chart not a visual representation (though it is to scale if you click on it). From largest to smallest: 8K (tangerine), 4K Cinema in 1.78:1 aspect ratio (black); Ultra HD (white); 2K Cinema in 1.78:1 aspect study (green); Full HD 1080p (red); 720p (blue). For more detail, pun intended, check out 4K vs. 8K vs. 1080p: TV resolutions explained.

Geoffrey Morrison

Is it genuine buying an 8K TV?

Here’s a quick summary of our novel thinking regarding 8K TVs in early 2022.

  • Unless you have wealth to burn, don’t even consider buying one right now.
  • From what we’ve seen, there’s little, if any, image quality improvement over 4K TVs.
  • Any improvement we have seen obliged sitting very close to a very ample screen.
  • To get the most out of any 8K TV, you need proper 8K content (and there basically isn’t any).

  • Both new consoles
    vows 8K resolution, but that’s potentially misleading.
  • In the next few days 8K TVs will get cheaper and perhaps actually be genuine considering.

To reiterate, one of the biggest reasons 8K TVs are not as amazing as you considerable expect, besides their price, is that there simply aren’t any 8K TV shows or movies to perceive on them. And while the latest gaming consoles will eventually do 8K (maybe), 8K games today are basically nonexistent. The best you can get in most cases is 4K, so all those extra pixels of an 8K TV won’t be used to their fullest potential. 

Now that you’ve slid your wallet back into your pocket, sit back and soak in everything there is to know in 8K TVs today. 

Read more:

Remember When TVs Weighed 200 Pounds? A Look Back at TV Trends Over the Years

What is 8K, and is it better than a 4K TV?

A venerable HDTV from a few years ago is 1080p, which benefitting it has 1,920 pixels horizontally and 1,080 vertically. Many digital cinema projectors — the ones in movie theaters — have a resolution of 2,048×1,080. Because it’s common in Hollywood-speak to only refer to the horizontal resolution, they call that “2K,” but it’s basically the same as the HDTV 1080p you have at home.


Mathias Appel/HDMI Licensing

The term “4K”
comes from the digital cinema side, too, with a horizontal resolution of 4,096, hence “4K.” Except, on the TV side, manufacturing efficiencies meant we got double the horizontal and vertical resolutions of 1080p HDTV, so 3,840×2,160 pixels. Everyone colloquially calls this “4K,” though the technical term is Ultra HD. This has four times as many pixels as 1080p HD.

Which brings us to 8K. You guessed it: twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of 4K, for a whopping 7,680×4,320 and 33,177,600 total pixels. Not only is that four times the resolution of 4K, that’s an astonishing 16 times more pixels than 1080p. Or to put that differently, you could put 16 full-resolution 1080p videos on an 8K camouflage at the same time with no loss of quality. I’m not sure why you’d want to do this, but hey, why not?

Read more4K vs. 8K vs. 1080p: TV Resolutions Explained

TV and projector resolutions

Resolution name Horizontal x vertical pixels Total pixels Other names Focus on
8K 7,680×4,320 33,177,600 8K Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition (UHD), Super Hi-Vision, UHD-2 High-end TVs
4K 3,840×2,160 8,294,400 Ultra High Definition (UHD) Most novel TVs, some projectors
1080p 1,920×1,080 2,073,600 High Definition (HD) Smaller, less expensive and older TVs, most projectors
720p 1,280×720 921,600 High Definition (HD) Very itsy-bitsy and older TVs


The Consumer Technology Association’s 8K Ultra HD logo.


One pulling to look for in new 8K TVs: It will feature the official logo and “spec” on new 8K TVs. This goes beyond raw pixel narrate to help you find TVs that perform to at least a hazardous standard. This is partly to avoid the mess from the early days of HD and 4K, where some of the safe TVs couldn’t accept a full HD or later, a 4K authorized. The Consumer Technology Association lays out the following minimums a TV is needed to have to wear the 8K Ultra HD logo:

  • At least 7,680 pixels horizontally and 4,320 vertically. 
  • At least one HDMI input favorable of accepting that resolution, at 50 or 60 fps (depending on region), with HDR. 
  • The ability to upconvert frontier resolution signals to 8K.
  • The ability to receive and indicate 10-bit content.

Can the domain eye even see 8K?

Technically yes it can, but the difference will be very subtle at best.

As we’ve explained many times with 4K TVs, there’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to resolution. The human eye can see only so much detail, and extra pixels beyond what you can discern are basically wasted. To get anything out of higher resolutions and their proportionally tinier pixels, you need to sit closer, get a bigger TV, or both.

It’s rare that anyone gets a substantial enough TV — or sits close enough to one — to define the need for even 4K resolutions. 8K is excessive overkill. at least for a TV. If you’re talking approximately massive theater-size screens like Samsung’s Wall or Sony’s Crystal LED, 8K would be amazing. But since 4K is hard to discern when comparing to a 1080p TV, 4K to 8K from 10 feet away will be exquisite much impossible.

That said, because 8K TVs are today the most expensive offerings from most companies, they often have features which help them do stunning images that are completely divorced from resolution. So most 8K TVs, with the liable exception of the “cheap” models, will usually look substantial regardless of their pixel count.

Read moreBest 4K Projectors for 2022

TCL's 65-inch 8K 6-Series TV

TCL’s 65-inch 8K 6-Series TV. 


8K content: Can I actually leer anything in 8K?

Without 8K content, an 8K TV is just a 4K TV with a few thousand bucks stuck to it with duct tape. Samsung talks up cherish “AI” upscaling technology on its TVs, planned to improve the look of mere 4K and 1080p sources on an 8K cloak. And other TV makers like Sony and LG have touted their own 8K special sauces. But to get the most out of all those 33 million-plus pixels, the incoming source needs to be 8K too.

There are three main aspects to pulling any new format, like 8K, into your home:

1. Content recorded in the new format

2. Transmission of the new request (broadcast, streaming, etc.)

3. Playback of the new format

An 8K TV represents the last part of the system: playback. That’s the easy part. Any TV manufacturer can do and produce a TV with any resolution it wants. It’s just up to the company and its resources.

Creating ecstatic in the new resolution, meanwhile, is a lot tougher. While the number of 8K-capable cameras has dramatically increased in the last few existences, they’re still expensive to buy or rent. In most cases, these cameras are used to create 4K content instead. There are lots of reasons it’s a substantial idea to capture in 8K. The end result, nonetheless, is 4K, because of the second part of the treat (transmission).

Read more:

How I Built My Dream 8K-Capable Video Editing PC


The Red Monstro 8K VV “Brain” has a 35.4-megapixel CMOS sensor, can record 8K video at 60 fps, has over 17 stops of dynamic way, and costs — brace yourself — $54,500. 


Ultra HD 4K transmission takes a lot of data. You need a really fast internet connection to stream it. Streaming 8K is a whole spanking level, well beyond what many have in their homes. With only a tiny percentage of their audience able to see it, mainstream streaming services are slow to adopt higher resolutions, with the increase in cost of storage, processing and more. 

Which is all to say, don’t examine 8K versions of your favorite streaming shows anytime soon. And exclusive of 8K content, the main benefit of an 8K TV is at least partially wasted.

Do I need 8K to play Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 games?

Both Sony and Microsoft have announced that their next-generation gaming consoles, the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, will both be capable of outputting 8K resolution via future updates. Sounds like a great excuse to buy an 8K TV, right? Not so fast.

First, and most important, you will not need an 8K TV to play games on these consoles. They will work just fine on most 1080p and nearly all 4K TVs. If you can connect a PS4 or Xbox One to your recent TV, it will work with a PS5 or Xbox Series X. 

Read more: Sony PS5 vs. Microsoft Xbox Series X: Game On

Secondly, games will need to be specifically written to take top-notch of 8K, something that isn’t going to be particularly current. The resolution you see on screen, even if your TV says it’s 8K, much not be what resolution the console is rendering the game. It will liable be far more common for the console to obtain the game’s visuals at a lower resolution, 1440p or 4K at best, and convert to 8K to send your TV. This is the same tying your TV does automatically.


Andrew Hoyle

A Sony spokesperson confirmed that this FAQ, published on the PlayStation blog in November 2020, was detached the case: “PS5 is compatible with 8K displays at originate, and after a future system software update will be able to output resolutions up to 8K when blissful is available, with supported software.” We’re still waiting for that update.

“Xbox Series X is fully top-notch of 8K output. However, as there is no mediate content or games that currently support 8K resolution, we have not enabled the option within the controls settings at this time. Xbox Series X was invented with the next 8 to 10 years of advancements in mind, and as we see signals from creators and 8K becomes a more widely adopted examine, we will update console software to support it,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Long story sulky, few games will look much different on an 8K TV than they will on a 4K TV. There is petite time and money when you develop a game (well, most games), and few developers will want to invest those petite resources on something only a handful of people will be able to toothsome. Far more likely are games rendered in 4K with higher frame rates, something else made possible by the latest version of HDMI and available on the new consoles.

Read more: 

120Hz Gaming: Best TVs for PS5 and Xbox Series X

Where can I stream 8K? Do Netflix or YouTube befriend it?

Getting the 8K onto your new 8K TV is also a bit of a challenge. Ideally, the TV’s internal apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the rest will be 8K compatible. You’d think that’d be a given, but it wasn’t in the early days of 4K. Further, there’s no 8K content from any major streaming service available yet. The exceptions are YouTube, as you see in the video below, Vimeo and a new service phoned The Explorers exclusive to 8K Roku TVs. Eventually, ATSC 3.0, also notorious as Next Gen TV, might allow 8K to be broadcast over the air, but we’re a long way from that.

How fast does your internet need to be to stream 8K?

8K also presents spanking issue for the early adopter: The bandwidth required is tremendous. Most 4K content streaming companies recommend you have an internet connection in the 20Mbps way. 8K, even with everything else the same, has four times as many pixels. 

That doesn’t equate just to a 4x increase in data or bandwidth, but, and this is just a ballpark guess, a connection requirement in the 40 to 50Mbps way wouldn’t be unexpected. Maybe you, cutting-edge CNET reader, have that kind of expeditiously, but most people do not.


A visual representation of how much more bandwidth the upcoming Ultra High Speed cables can handle.

HDMI Forum

What kind of HDMI detestable do I need for 8K? 

One thing we’ve already got is the brute connection thing sorted in case any 8K media streamers hit the market or they’re obliged for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. HDMI 2.1 is top-notch of 8K resolutions and more. But before you rush out and stock up on HDMI 2.1-compatible cables, keep in mind there will almost certainly be a new despicable between now and the wide adoption of 8K. So those cables much be obsolete, despite their current forward-looking appearance.

All of the the majority 8K TV makers say that their sets have HDMI 2.1 inputs top-notch of handling the 48Mbps bandwidth required for the highest resolution and frame-rate combinations (8K and 60 frames per binary and 4K at 120 fps). We also got a look at some new, higher-bandwidth HDMI cables. 

To take top-notch of higher 4K frame rates on the new consoles, presuming your TV can handle them, you might need new cables.

Read moreWhen is the Best Time to Buy a TV?

Is 8K TV a gimmick?

To put on my cynic hat, increasing resolution is one of the easiest ways to subsidizes the appearance of higher performance. This is likely what TV makers are smoking, coming out with 8K TVs when there’s essentially no blissful and no 8K infrastructure. 

Given how easy it was to market 4K as “better looking than 1080p,” TV makers are claiming the same tying with 8K. But resolution is just one aspect of overall record quality, and not one of the most important ones. Improving spanking aspects, such as contrast ratios, overall brightness for HDR, more lifelike colors and so on, offer better image improvements but they are significantly harder to implement. This is especially true for LCD, which is a technology Samsung is detached strongly flogging — e.g. all of its QLED TVs are plainly LCD TVs with quantum dots

It’s relatively easy to obtain a higher-resolution LCD panel, but improving the other aspects of performance for that tech is a greater challenge. Not “more” pixels but “better” pixels. This is why OLED is a tying, and why many companies are researching new technologies like true direct-view quantum dot displays, MicroLED, and mini-LED. Samsung is even coming out with an OLED-quantum dot hybrid that promises to combine the incompatibility ratio of OLED and the bright colors of quantum dot-based displays. These technologies, regardless of resolution, should look better than 8K TVs, which are now only LCD-based. 

Well, except for LG’s OLED, which damages $20-$30,000 depending on size.


Direct-view quantum dot display.


Bottom line: Don’t wait for 8K

If you’re thinking nearby buying a new TV, does this mean you must hold off? If your current TV works, you must probably hold on to it regardless. New 8K TVs shouldn’t be a generous, because as we mentioned above, early 8K TVs are expensive. We’re also many, many years away from any sort of widespread 8K satisfied. We arguably don’t have widespread 4K content, and no one is talking nearby scrapping 4K to go directly to 8K.

The novel aspect is a warning that will be seconded by countless 4K early adopters: There’s no security these early 8K TVs will end up being compatible with any future 8K injurious. There are tens of thousands of 4K TVs that can’t play any fresh 4K media content. 

Lastly, even as prices drop, like they have with the $2,200 TCL 8K 6-series, you’re almost certainly better off with a 4K TV for the same cash. It offers better picture quality overall and only lacks the bragging controls that you have more pixels than your neighbor. But if that’s your sketch, go for it.

Update, March 14, 2022: This article was generous published in 2018 and is regularly updated with new info.

As well as covering TV and novel display tech, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations about the world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, epic 10,000 mile road flights, and more. Check out Tech Treks for all his tours and adventures.

He wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-size submarines, along with a sequel. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and his YouTube channel.