TVs are a staple household item nowadays, but with new technology entering the market every year, it’s hard to know when it’s the right time to upgrade.
While the biggest TV may not always be the best there have been significant advances in TV tech in recent years. Fancy buzzwords like OLED, Mini-LED and 8K are filling up the market, which can make it even harder to find the perfect TV for you.
A TV with 4K HDR is good enough for most people, but TV enthusiasts will know that 8K is the next big thing.
The problem is that 8K is so cutting edge that it doesn’t have much content right now. So, is it worth investing in an 8K TV now or will something better come along?
What is 8K?
For starters, what on earth does 8K even mean?
When a TV is 8K compatible that’s in reference to its resolution – i.e the number of pixels it can display. The more pixels you have, the clearer your picture.
4K provides 3840 x 2160 pixels and 8K is double that at a huge 7680 x 4320.
When you see 4K or 8K listed in a TVs product name they are referring to its resolution which is then paired with other features like the panel type and technical capabilities.
Why you should consider an 8K TV
8K is still a new and emerging technology in the market, which makes it quite expensive. So, is it really worth your money right now?
We chatted to Hisense’s product specialist, Chris Mayer, to find out the pros and cons of buying an 8K TV right now.
Hisense’s 2021 lineup features two new 8K capable TVs – the U80G and the U90G.
I actually had the chance to test out one of these snazzy 8K TVs for myself and was suitably impressed with its picture quality. But I have my reservations about buying such a high-end TV when there’s not a lot of optimised content right now.
According to Mayer, the difference with an 8K TV like Hisense’s is that it’s built for the future and that’s in large part thanks to its AI upscaling engine
“The benefit you get from buying one this second is the 8K AI upscaling engine. The effort we put into making the 8K AI upscaling engine was informed by knowing that there won’t be 8K content for a while,” he said.
It’s worth noting that AI upscaling is a feature standard in 8K televisions from a lot of different brands, for these reasons. It’s also particularly relevant for Australians, where getting a decent internet connection capable of 4K, let alone 8K, can be hard enough.
The upscaling engine takes the stress off your internet and processes images internally via the software in the TV, meaning you won’t constantly be battling buffering to get a clear image.
Seeing this 8K upscaling in person is pretty impressive. I ran the TV through the gamut of content from 360p to 4K HDR and the engine handled it remarkably well, but there’s no denying that true 8K pictures looked the best, by far.
This is where future-proofing comes in.
“All our TVs have a three-year warranty, so we expect at a minimum that someone who buys one of our TVs is going to have it for at least three years. We’re always thinking about whether this technology is going to be relevant in three years time.”
“[Hisense TVs] are certified to all the 8K standards and we have all of the building blocks that are essential to an 8K TV for the future.”
That makes this year as good a time as any to buy an 8K TV. Mayer said that now 8K standards have been set it’s easier to have confidence in this new technology.
“I think this is a good year to buy an 8K TV, knowing that we’re future-proofed as much as we can be. I wouldn’t have bought it a few years ago because the conditions hadn’t been standardised.”
There’s no doubt it will take the film and television industries a bit longer to make 8K content standard. We’ve seen over the years the transition towards 4K HDR content being the new normal and that’s thanks in large part to streamers like Netflix.
If you’re seeking a new television and have the funds, an 8K TV is a reasonable investment to future-proof your viewing experience. But if ultra-high-definition content isn’t one of your pre-requisites, you can certainly afford to wait until 8Ks become more accessible.