Samsung to Introduce 85” 8K TV
October 15, 2018
Samsung Electronicsis expected to release its first commercial 8K QLED TV in the US (and Korea) this month in a bid to bolster its share of the super-premium TV market, where it claims to hold the #1 position with a 34% share and in the high-end of the premium market (75” and above - premium) where Samsung claims a 57% share, up from 43% last year and more than double the #2 share holder Sony’s (SNE) 25%. This introduction is about a month earlier than anticipated and the TV is expected to be priced at $15,000, according to an unnamed Samsung official. For further clarification that same official added “the evaluation and reaction to 8K is very good”, which is not quite the defining moment for 8K TV, but it’s a good sound bite.
As far back as 2016 the Japanese Public Broadcasting Network, has been offering 8K content to viewers. While at that early date the content was primarily test footage from the 2012 Olympics and it was only in Japan, it could be seen on Sharp 8K ‘professional use’ TV, but the price was $133,000, although a similar 70” Sharp ‘professional use’ 8K set is now priced a $73,000. There are only a few content providers who are focused on 8K content. Streaming content provider Vimeohas almost 1,800 8K clips that are limited to very short clips of mountains, oceans, cities, and a few very odd music videos.
8K formats (and there are more than one) running at 60 frames/second produce a data rate of 24GB/second uncompressed. A typical new home computer comes with 1TB of data storage space, and at the above rate, that hard drive will be filled in ~41 seconds, although most systems cannot move the data fast enough to meet those specifications regardless of how fast the drive is filled. Compression techniques, which have been used for many years to reduce data rates, will lower those numbers, but data rates and file sizes are still very large and barely manageable even using such algorithms.
Samsung and other TV brands will sell 8K TV before 8K content is available ‘upscaling’ 4K or FHD content, which is used for years by TVs with resolutions greater than the source video. which can mean almost anything, with a basic structure being the duplication of a single pixel across a number of 8K pixels, to sophisticated video processing that can take low resolution pixel information and modify that information for each 8K pixel in a block. The key here is that every TV brand has their own upscaler, just as they were with 4K TV sets, so the major selling point of, “it will make your lower resolution content look better,” is dependent on first, how good the content was to begin with, and how good the upscaler is on the particular 8K TV. TV brands are enamored with 8K TV because:
The tactic is not new. We have had HDTV before we had HDTV broadcasting and now we have 4K without 4K broadcasting. The 8K TVs will be larger and higher priced and will help with profitability and status. Since 2000, every seven to ten years the TV buying cycle, the size of a TV changed to larger screen. Looking back, the 40~43-inch TVs were the main TV in 2000 and the 50~55-inch entered the market in 2010 and in 2012 the 65” TV entered the market, the new TV screen max size range will now be 75-inch, 82-inch to 85-inch. The TV brands believe that the Summer Olympic in 2020 could ignite TV buyers to go purchase large TV with higher resolution. Another factor is the pixel density of its inverse characteristic, the pixel pitch. As the table below shows, having a TV with a pixel density of ~50 ppi, might cause the viewer to see space between the pixels.
Table 1: Size and Resolution vs. ppi