Q. I noticed that the prices of 8K televisions have come down a lot recently. I was thinking of getting one for our living room, but is there anything to watch in 8K TV? Or would this just basically be an empty box? — Larry, Brooklyn.
Larry, you are correct. 8K TV prices have fallen dramatically in the last year. For example, Amazon is now selling a Samsung 65-inch 8K TV for less than $2,400 and a 75-inch model for under $3,500. That’s roughly a 50 percent decrease in the last year or so, and the current prices are comparable to what you would pay for a comparably-sized OLED 4K TV.
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But if you buy a 8K TV, what are you really getting?
Is the picture that much better? Is there anything to watch in 8K?
1. Can be.
2. Not really.
8K TV promises to offer 16 times the resolution of a High-Definition picture. But to truly enjoy those extra pixels, you need a large screen (at least 65 inches, but bigger would be better and be prepared to sit thisclose to the screen) that is displaying an image in 8K. And there is very, very little available in 8K now. YouTube and Vimeo have some travelogue videos in 8K, but that’s about it. There are no U.S. channels in 8K nor 8K Blu-ray discs.
NHK has said it plans to broadcast this summer’s Tokyo Olympic games in 8K, but it’s unknown if it will be available in the format in the United States. (Not to mention whether the Olympics will even proceed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.).
Some videophiles say an 8K TV can significantly enhance a high-def or 4K picture, but that’s debatable as well. Again, you would need an extra-large screen to see any possible improvement.
If all of this sounds familiar, it is. We had the same debate a few years ago with 4K TVs. There was relatively little 4K content to warrant buying a 4K set. While there’s more 4K programming available now, the debate still continues over whether the picture enhancement justifies the upgrade.
So if you buy a 8K TV, even one less expensive than last year’s models, know that you could probably get the same picture with a comparably-priced 4K set.
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— Phillip Swann