(More distractions from electionitis)! Well we’ve reached the point where 4K displays are main stream. When you can buy a great 43” television for $530 in 4K, you know that we’ve reached a great point. Some sets like the LG CX show the quality you can get at 65” with 4K. It took 7 years from 2012 to 2019 for this to make sense. And you can definitely argue that was the first year when it is clearly better.
In the HD transition the big novelty was 3D and that didn’t work. With 4K, it was HDR color and that definitely did.
So of course, technology keeps moving forward and now 8K is in view. That is a whopping 33Mpixels in each frame. And you are going to need really powerful systems to run at 60fps. So it looks like we are just at the start of the transition and Flat Panel explains all the issues.
- Codecs. Current TVs are going to need new compression. Right now YouTube content won’t play
- Content. There isn’t much out there. Mainly computer games. With 4K remastering 35mm film was the key. But 8K isn’t so simple. There aren’t many 65mm movies in back catalog. Plus the 4K transition is just starting.
- HDMI 2.1. These sets only ship with one. You want them all otherwise you are limited to 30 frames per second.
- Viewing angle. You have to sit closer to see the detail difference so these sets are narrow.
- You can’t see the difference. With 8k you should sit 0.8 the diagonal away to see the pixels. That’s really close. In most cases you need a massive wall to see the difference (but of course you will be completely immersed in it).
- Processor. These things don’t handle motion well (true even for 4K sets). So they get blocky in action films.
- Price. And of course it’s horrifically expensive.
But, the time is coming as the first 8K capable AVRs are here, the nVidia RTX3090 is out, the PS5 and XBox Series X are here as well all with 8K capability. The first games are coming out that support that resolution. So what’s the state and is it time to think about how to display it.
While there are projectors out now that are really 4K projectors using shift technology. That is, they have 4K arrays that move slightly to generate the additional pixels.
With flat panels, you need 8K worth of displays and there are now a few (expensive ones available). According to Techradar, PC Magazine and IGN (2019 models) here are some of the best ones. The main thing to know is that for 8K to really matter you are going to have to be really close or the screen needs to be really large. That’s why most screens are over 75”. The rule of thumb is 1.5x the screen height so about the same as the diagonal so about 6-7 feet.
The other thing is that you need HDMI 2.1 capable devices as these are going to require way more bandwidth and these cables run at a breathtaking 48Gbps to support 8K60 or even 4K120.
Net, net, the two options are $5K for the Sony Z9G or $2.5K for the Samsung Q800T if you can find space for a 75” panel. But only if you bragging rights and probably a 2-4 year life.
Right now if you buy a great 4K panel it will have an easy to justify improving content list and an easy 7-10 year one. So picking up an LG CX isn’t crazy at all.
And with 4K the larger the better because you should sit 1 to a max of 1.6x the diagonal away. The resolution is so fine that a massive 77 inch set means you should be only 6-9 feet away otherwise the resolution is wasted. The 77 inch is a dream for $3.5k at Amazon is expensive but at great value. You just need to find 1.72m or 67 inches of wall space 🙂
So net, net if you must have 8K it’s early adopter land and make sure to sit close with these:
- Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED. A whopping $10K for 85” at Amazon, this si the Samsung flagship using their latest QLED technology. The only thing it doesn’t have is full Dolby Vision, but it’s currently the best 8K display out there. The lack of bezels is pretty incredible.
- Sony Z9G 8K (2019) or the Sony Z8H (2020). For 2020, they dropped the 98” and just have the 75 and 85. For 2019, This also a massive screen and you can get an 85” or an unthinkable 98” if you really want this to be a home theater centerpiece. And it runs at almost 4000 nits. All the an incredible $13K for 85” and 60K for 98”.And yes it supports Dolby Vision. With performance just a hair below the Samsung, this is still an incredible set. And with the 2020 prices much lower, you can see the time is coming to buy with at $5K at Best Buy or Amazon.
- Samsung Q800T QLED. If there is a value proposition here, this set is just probably it. It is $2.2K for the 65” while it is $10K for the Q950TS 75” so there’s a big delta here, but the main one is the expense of that huge panel. The main tradeoffs are the lack of Dolby Vision and lower color and the 75” version is $4500, so not a bad compromise. And the 82” at Dell is $5,500 as well as $4K for the 75”.
- LG ZX 8K OLED (pocket-lint review). At $20K for the 77” model (Amazon) for a huge. They also are the only set to have all hdmi 2.1 inputs. this is really super expensive, but it is a glorious quality of an OLED screen with it’s deep, deep black. They will have models in 2020 with their 88 and 77 inch models and yes it’s ready for 8K120 whenever we get content like that with Dolby Vision. And the OLED88Z9PUA9 from last year was stunning and you can still get it for $30K if you like 🙂