Skip to main content

There’s now an official standard for 8K resolution displays

(Image credit: Pixabay)

It admittedly feels a bit silly talking about 8K resolution displays when even 4K content is still relatively scarce, but technology never comes to a screeching halt. As such, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has announced an official industry display definition and accompanying logo for 8K UHD televisions.

This is a bit of a murky topic, even with the CTA jumping into the fray. More on that in a moment. First, though, let's go over the official requirements. Among the industry definition's attributes are the following:

  • Display Resolution: At least 33 million active pixels, with at least 7680 horizontally and 4320 vertically within a 16:9 viewable window, and specific measurement methodology in accordance with industry standards.
  • Digital Inputs: One or more HDMI inputs supporting resolution of 7680x4320 pixels; bit depth of 10-bits; frame rates of 24, 30 and 60 frames per second; HDR transfer functions and colorimetry as specified by ITU-R BT.2100; and HDCP v2.2 or equivalent content protection.
  • Up-conversion: Capability to upscale SD, HD and 4K video and display it at 8K UHD display resolution.
  • Bit Depth: Capability to receive 10-bit 8K images and render an image that shows responsiveness to changes to any of the 10 bits.

This is a voluntary logo licensing program, though the CTA is a bit of a heavyweight in the industry—it represents more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, including Asus, Belkin, Corsair, Intel, LG, Samsung, Sony, and the list goes on.

The inclusion of LG and Samsung as members of the organization is interesting, because those two companies not only have a vested interested in the 8K standard, but have been squabbling over what actually constitutes an 8K display.

I wrote about this last week, but the short of it is, LG feels Samsung's current 8K TVs should not be labeled as 8K because of a measurement called contrast modulation (CM). This measures the ability to distinguish a pattern of alternating white and black lines, and it affects image quality.

Samsung counters that CM is not the end-all, be-all of picture quality, and recently demonstrated how its 8K TVs display clearer text than LG's 8K TVs. So, there's plenty of drama for the 8K era.

That's still a long ways off, though, at least for gaming. There are already 8K TVs on the market, and more will come in 2020. But for gaming, no current GPU can realistically handle a smooth 8K experience in a demanding title—the horsepower is just not there, and if you factor real-time ray tracing into the equation, the task becomes even more futile.

Someday that will change, just not today, tomorrow, or anytime soon. But hey, there's an official logo now.