Is 8K video on the horizon?

We’re beginning to see 8K UHDTV (7680 x 4320) cameras and displays come onto the market, although so far they’re just a curiosity in pro A/V.  The Japanese broadcaster NHK was planning this year’s Summer Olympics in 8K, and as this newsletter from SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) notes, there’s an organization devoted to 8K promotion, the 8K Association  The Resources page on their website is a fun place to poke around.

Many of the same questions that accompanied the introduction of 4K video some years ago are reappearing now with 8K.  Do we need it, what benefit does it offer, and can we even see the difference?  To which the only real answer is that the market wants it.  My clients are acutely aware of features and cost, and the more features, the better.  A common request today is “Plan everything in the system for 4K, but we’ll stay with 1080p projectors for now.”  This approach will surely continue, resolutions will go up and we’ll make exceptions where costs require.  So yes, we’ll need to become conversant with this new standard.