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Sharp 85-inch 8K TV
Sharp's 85" 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive

By Rasmus Larsen (@flatpanels)
07 Sep 2011

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At IFA 2011 Sharp exhibited their extremely high-resolution 85-inch 7680x4320 pixel LCD-TV – close to 16 times Full HD. FlatpanelsHD spend some time with the prototype and it is jaw-droppingly impressive – nothing less. Learn why.

Sharp's 85” 8K TV

Sharp did not have many new products to show at IFA but it did not matter much because they had brought their 85-inch TV, developed in collaboration with Japanese NHK that has also produced the video material shown on the TV.

Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive
Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive

The TV has a resolution close to 16 times Full HD (that dominates TVs today) and the panel consists of 7680x4320 pixels – a total of 33,177,600 pixels. This crazy resolution is often called 8Kx4K, Super Hi-Vision, or Ultra HD. On a 85-inch panel it equals 103.67 ppi (pixels per inch). By comparison, Apple’s iPhone 4 has a 326 ppi.

We spent some time with the monster and we can tell you, without hesitation, that the presentation was extremely impressive. It is the best picture we have seen on any TV – period. Obviously this is a combination of a TV with an extremely high resolution (for TVs) and extremely high-resolution video material but that does not make the experience less valid. Not many movies are shot in this resolution, true, but that is another story.

Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive
Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive

Images on the TV appeared almost 3-dimensional in some sequences, even though only 2D material was played. The level of details was amazing. People had to get pretty close to the TV to fully appreciate the pixel count, and people also crowded around the TV even though Sharp did not do much to promote the presentation. We managed to take a few still pictures of the TV but they do not match the real-life experience in any way.

At a trade fair show, thousands and thousands of TVs are exhibited and when you walk around from hall to hall you see a pattern of people looking at TVs for a few seconds before realizing that TVs are not that different. It is kind of like a “look and move” attitude. But not with this TV. People placed themselves in front of the TV and stayed there for some time; occasionally moving very close to the TV to examine the pixels. Most people seemed spellbound to the TV – to great inconvenience for our picture taking – and hung around for some time with a clearly impressed grimace. You need to see it to believe it.

Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive
Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive

The LCD panel inside the 85-inch TV is Sharp’s own and based on the VA panel technology, also found in Sharp’s consumer TVs. Colors were reproduced in 10 bit – compared to 8 bit for most consumer TVs. And brightness peaked at 300 cd/m2, which is fairly good when you consider the pixel count.

Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive
Sharps 85” 8Kx4K TV is jaw-droppingly impressive

So when is this TV ready we hear you say? Not in the next few years, unfortunately. Sharp can make it but it is expensive. Not much video content is produced in 8K resolution and Blu-ray players, Internet streaming and other distribution formats are incapable of delivering anything near 8K. There is – in other words – no commercial incentive to release this TV, other than the bragging rights. The 2012 Olympics will be broadcasted in 8K to a few select big screens in the UK but it is still very early to start talking about much higher resolution than Full HD. But we cannot put a finger on Sharp’s technical expertise. The 8K demonstration took us to dreamland – for a while.


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