Last month we wrote about the first 4K TV set that is sold in the U.S. (by LG). You can find this post here. But now there's a next step - this time in Japan where they are beginning trials not with 4K, but 8K broadcast! It does not mean that 8K will start in Japan soon - according to plans official 8K broadcast will begin in 2020, but nevertheless the higher resolution is coming - even though it is hard to say when it will debut in U.S. or Europe. The HD Magazine reports that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has ratified a standard for 4K broadcast as well as 8K, and what's more, David Wood of the EBU and ITU explains the thinking:
"The studies in the ITU take many years and begin with a proposal from a country to open a standard in a particular area. Infact the subject of Ultra High Definition was opened over ten years ago in the ITU at the suggestion of Japan and since then all the various aspects of the television system, the number of lines, pixels, colourimetry, the sampling have been the subject of discussion.”
According to the magazine, one of the driving forces behind this standard are the HDTV manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. HD flat panels are not earning a lot of money at the moment and the 3D standard did not make this business more profitable. But it seems that there are also social reasons for higher resolution panels that will please commercial broadcasters - once again David Wood:
“It has been proven that the higher picture quality you have the longer you will watch the programme for. So programme makers in a sense get more value for the product. In my role at the EBU we have discussed what we call the ‘zapping point’, the point where the viewer changes channel. There was study done in France where people were shown exactly the same programme, in exactly the same viewing conditions in both SD and HD and the HD versions pushed the zapping point up around 30%. It’s probable that the same effect will happen when you introduce Ultra High Definition television 4K and then when we go up to 8K.”
But do we really need 8K panels in our houses? HD was indeed a revolution and with a good bitrate Full HD can look stunning. Will people be keen to change their flat panels to 8K and will they see any difference in the picture quality? Maybe broadcasters should simply stream higher bitrates?