Your TV turns on and off; its colors aren’t horribly unnatural and the sound levels seem right — so why should you bother buying a new TV? This question is especially common when you are considering the most cutting-edge of all televisions on the market, 8K TVs. Is there truly anything revolutionary about 8K television experiences, or could you get along happily without spending this month’s wages on a new flat screen?
In truth, 8K TVs are leaps and bounds better than any television that has come before. Here are a few major benefits of this latest advancement in television tech, so you can decide whether an upgrade is in your future.
First, there was HDTV; then came 4K screens, and now you have 8K — but what does it mean?
In both 4K and 8K television sets, the number refers to the number of pixels present in the width of the screen. So, while 4K TVs have roughly 4 thousand (actually 3,840) pixels wide, 8K TVs have exactly twice that: 7,680 pixels wide. Pixels are small squares of illumination which combine to form an image, not unlike the dots in a pop art painting or the pictures in a photo mosaic. Therefore, the more pixels you can squeeze into the same sized space, the more detailed you can make an image.
However, better resolution not only requires that viewers have better-quality TVs; it also means that TV and movie producers must use higher resolution cameras. For some time, few media producers could afford the equipment necessary to film in such high resolution — which is why only high-budget studios, like HBO and Hulu, could offer viewers the jaw-dropping visuals of shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” However, as more home viewers are investing in high-resolution TVs like 4K and 8K, all television producers are seeing the value in upgrading their tech.
Thus, by keeping your old, outdated HDTV, you are missing out on some serious detail in your favorite shows and movies.
Accurate Color and Contrast
While 8K TVs promise nothing more or less than a screen packed with pixels, the truth is that any 8K TV you buy is going to offer cutting-edge technologies that drastically enhance your viewing experience. Currently, only the leading TV manufacturers — Samsung, Sony and LG — have 8K offerings, so you can be certain that you will also get outstanding color and contrast in your new TV set.
But, consumer televisions have had color since the 1960s — what’s so different about the color on 8K TVs?
Newer sets offer more accurate colors, meaning the colors on the screen are truer to the colors you would see in real life. Inaccuracies in color are easiest to spot in whites and blacks; they appear various shades of gray or perhaps even tinged with color, like yellow, cyan or magenta. Sometimes, inaccurate color simply means that you need to recalibrate your TV, but often, TVs can only be so accurate.
That isn’t the case with newer models, like 8K OLEDs and QLEDs. Not only does the increase in pixels enhance detail, but the method of displaying light and color — through individual LED lights or with a complex LED backlit–LCD screen. Especially in OLED TVs, the blacks are pure, true blacks because the set has more refined control over the lighting in those areas of the screen. This means that images in low lighting are more true to life, which makes objects and action more perceptible in these scenes. A good example is the infamously unwatchable “Battle of Winterfell” episode, which becomes exhilarating on an 8K TV.
You don’t have to be a color expert to notice when color and contrast is off. There are plenty of shows where accurate color and contrast make or break scenes, and having a TV that performs perfectly in all lighting situations will make your viewing experience better.
If you have rock-bottom expectations for your television — that it turns on, will play sound and show some moving picture — you might not need an 8K TV. However, everyone who engages in at-home viewing, which is pretty much everyone, likely wants to make the most of their experience with beautifully accurate and detailed picture. If you don’t want to miss a single pixel of your favorite show or movie, you need to upgrade to 8K.