8K At CES

8K At CES

CES always offers a mind-blowing array of screens on display. Also mind-blowing is the hype that goes with them. This year’s exhibition in Las Vegas was no different.

I never walk away from CES with a definite idea of what the best display is. It’s really not a place to compare, as nothing is side by side or showing the same material. What I do get from it is a sense of where manufacturers think things are going.

TV makers were holding on to what was cool last year. LG had their roll-up screens. The entrance to their booth once again showcased their ability to curve screens. Like last year, it drew crowds of people trying to capture the display on their non-curved smartphones.

8K At CES
LG made the case for “Real 8K” at their CES press conference.

Samsung attracted attention again with “The Wall,” their MicroLED display. In 2020, the display was even bigger, measuring out at 292 inches. New this year was a model in 8K but at 150 inches.

While Samsung and LG competed to attract the most crowds at their booths, they also vied to define 8K resolution in displays. Continuing a battle started in October, LG claims that their sets are true 8K because of how they measure resolution.

I listened to both sides of the argument. While it’s an interesting conundrum, I won’t feel bad if it doesn’t get resolved for a while. Why? Because I feel we first need to get to a place where 4K is as simple to do as HD has become. I don’t think we’re there yet.

I have to ask how much finishing that’s done is truly 4K. For effects work, is it all done in 4K? Why are streaming services charging extra for 4K? Once we get to a place where 4K isn’t special, then maybe there’s a place for 8K displays. And when we get there, will 8K be different enough?

I saw a lot of 8K on the show floor that was time-lapse footage. That always sends a subliminal message to me that capturing 8K in real-time isn’t easy, either from a practical standpoint (the gear/talent may not be available), or it’s too expensive, or both.

On the other hand, it’s relatively easy to set up a DSLR that can capture 8K (or more) resolution one frame per second, rather than 24, 30 or 60 frames a second. And that capture process hasn’t really changed since HD times.

That’s not to say the time-lapse footage looks bad because it usually doesn’t. But I rarely see any time-lapse footage on 4K televisions at CES. Using time-lapse also hides the elephant in the room (in my opinion) with 8K: frame rate and camera movement. But that’s for another time. Still, display manufacturers have to have a big splash at CES, so 8K lives.

MENU