Fairfax Tech Column

Fairfax Tech Column

29.3.2019 Fairfax Tech Column 139


Have you ever had that feeling of extreme excitement when you have some wonderful news to tell everyone – but it just doesn’t seem to register above zero on the excitement scale for anyone else?

I suspect that Samsung are feeling that way right now.

In my Tech Column 124 I wrote in detail about the limits of the human eye related to resolutions of TV screens. The summarised conclusion was that a 4K TV at 75” in size would require a human at closer than two metres to spot a pixel. Jump to an 88” TV at 8K and you would need to be viewing it from just over a metre to spot a pixel. I’m not sure about you but I tend to sit more than a metre from my TV.

So you can feel for Samsung. Next week they launch a range of 8K televisions in Australia. They will have a 65” model for $9,999; a 75” for $12,999K and an 85” for $17,499. A 98” will launch later this year and I won’t tell you the price – suffice to say the price tag will be designed for people who don’t look at price tags!

Based on my previous column in relation to the limits of the human eye, I am not sure it is even worth considering anything below the 85”. Then comes the second part of the problem for Samsung (and Sony and LG who are also launching 8K TVs).

Content.

Most current TV viewing is in High Definition (HD) with some providers boasting about their wonderful new 4K content. Foxtel has started limited sports broadcasts in 4K and some streaming services have limited content in 4K. Put 4K content onto an 8K TV and it will probably look pretty much like it does on a 4K TV. None of this logic means the manufacturers won’t continue though.

We are talking about technology – where too much of anything is never enough.

To be fair to the TV manufacturers, providers are looking at 8K content. Japanese broadcaster, NHK, started broadcasting limited content in 8K at the end of last year and streaming providers are looking at how they may broadcast in 8K in the future.

Which then brings us to the next problem.

Download speeds. Streaming 8K content would require a bare minimum of a connection capable of consistent 50Mbps download speeds. As the various versions of the NBN roll out across the nation, not all of the NBN options are capable of this.

So, apart from the limits of the human eye, the price tag, the lack of content and poor Internet connectivity, I can see 8K TVs being a big hit! Have a look at them at your favourite electronic goods retailer from next week.

Mathew Dickerson