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8K Association defines 'performance specs' for 8K TVs

01 Sep 2019 | Rasmus Larsen |

8K Association, comprising Hisense, Panasonic, Samsung and TCL, has defined ‘performance specifications’ for 8K TVs that must support HDMI 2.1 and more. A logo will be revealed later.

8K TVs with HDMI 2.1

At CES 2019, a group of companies came together to form the 8K Association (8KA). Hisense, Panasonic, Samsung, and TCL are amongst the 16 members. Major players like LG and Sony are not participating at this time. Ahead of IFA 2019 in Berlin, 8K Association has announced a set of specifications that an 8K TV must meet or exceed in order to boast a new logo that will be revealed later. The association will develop a compliance test. - “Defining the key attributes for an 8K TV specification demonstrates the 8KA’s focus to quickly define a critical step in the growth in next-generation video technology," said 8KA Executive Director, Chris Chinnock. "To reach this milestone is a great testament to the cooperative spirit the members of the 8K Association enjoy along with our shared enthusiasm for the 8K ecosystem expansion.” The specifications are as follows.

8K Association - 8K TV specifications

Resolution: 7680 x 4320 pixels Input Frame Rate: 24p, 30p and 60p frames per second Display Luminance: More than 600 nits peak Luminance Codec: HEVC Interface: HDMI 2.1 Additional performance and interface specifications (available to members)

What it means

An 8K TV must have a resolution of 7680x4320 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) - obviously. No requirements for effective resolution were announced but the 8KA says that additional specifications are available to members so we cannot rule out that the association is going to address the issue but it is worth noting that some early 8K TVs use sub-pixel rendering/dithering to improve viewing angles at the expense of effective resolution. In addition an 8K TV must be capable of receiving 60p frames per second input. It must also feature an HDMI 2.1 port, which is required to input 8K60 video via HDMI. This rules out early 8K TVs that were launched with HDMI 2.0, which is limited to 8K30. Also read: Why you shouldn't buy an 8K TV in 2019 8KA specifies HEVC as the codec for 8K video compression. HEVC is already employed for 4K encoding/decoding and can also handle 8K. Many industry observers, however, agree that a newer and more effective codec is required to make 8K distribution feasible.

 Samsung 8K Q950R

Lastly, it specifies “more than 600 nits peak luminance” for HDR. Unfortunately, the specification available to consumers is not accompanied by any requirements for contrast or black depth but 8KA says that it the “tech spec includes specifications for 8K Input Parameters (bit depth, frame rate, chroma sub-sampling), Display Performance (resolution, peak brightness, black level, color gamut, white point), and the Interface & Media formats (High Dynamic Range, codec)”. Without context, peak brightness numbers are fairly meaningless as most modern LCD TVs can easily increase backlight intensity to reach this brightness level at the expense of black levels and other factors. 8K Association is a “cross-industry group focused on facilitating the growth of the 8K ecosystem”. The group has a big task ahead of it. Early 8K TVs are underwhelming or prohibitively expensive. Content is not readily available and services such as Amazon and Netflix who were quick to embrace 4K and HDR have yet to commit to 8K. We expect to see more 8K TVs announced at IFA 2019 next week. 8K Association refers to all of this as “performance specifications”. From a consumer viewpoint it is probably more fitting to think of them as minimum requirements. - Source: 8K Association

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