By Vishnu Anand
Bangalore, June 10 2019: For a change, let's begin by talking numbers. Full HD or 2K means a resolution of 1920 by 1080. Ultra HD or 4K means a resolution of 3840 by 2160, and 8K means a resolution of 7680 by 4320. It is important to note that increasing resolution, which essentially is the number of pixels in a square centimeter, means increased clarity, enhanced colours and an immersive viewing experience. Of course, as resolution keeps increasing, enhancement in viewing experience can be truly leveraged by having larger and larger display screens. 4K ideally requires a screen in excess of 40 inches, which mathematically requires 8K content to be viewed in a screen that measures at least 55 inches.
Speaking of content, it is important to note that there is hardly any consumer 8K video content available in the world. Then what's the point of launching 8K TVs, you ask? Samsung, the first manufacturer to bring their range of QLED 8K TVs to India, claims that it uses artificial intelligence to upscale content to 8K. By reducing image noise, and using proprietary algorithms for machine learning , the processor inside the new range of Samsung QLED TVs is able to 'upscale' or digitally boost 4K content to 8K, adding more colour, brightness, resulting in crisper and more 'involving' images. However, if the source content is not 4K, it will upscale it as close to 8K as possible, effectively beefing up your content, irrespective of the format it airs in. Samsung uses its own 8K Quantum processor to literally control the picture, scene by scene, in real-time to generate beefed up content. Like most other TV manufacturers, Samsung also adopts the principle of darkening the black and brightening the white in order to create better contrast and sharpness.
In order to create a premium range of TVs riding on the 8K display technology, Samsung has added many bells and whistles to the range. These include a no-gap wall mount, where the TV does not jut out of the wall, but blends in with a few millimeters of distance between the wall and the device. The heat dissipation happens from the top and bottom, thereby reducing the need for a rear exhaust mechanism. When not used as a TV, the panel can be made to display information like the weather or a piece of art. This is a feature called The Frame that Samsung launched two years ago. Another, is One Invisible Connection along with the One Connect Box: the TV has a single translucent cable which leads to a hub box that connects all your auxiliary devices. The TV also comes integrated with voice assistants like Google Assistant, and Samsung's own Bixby.
Samsung has priced the new range of QLED 8K TVs at Rs. 16,99,900 (82 inches), and Rs. 10,99,900 (75 inches). Besides these, the 65 inches variant will be available next month, and an exclusive 98 inches variant is available in a made-to-order basis at Rs. 59,99,900.
How time and technology flies! Till a year or two ago, 65 inch was the largest TV available in India and prices were as low as Rs 1 lakh or less. Samsung must know something we don't , to offer such jumbo sized TVs, some larger than the largest wall in the majority of Indian homes and at an asking price for which you can buy a small home. The march of technology and the urge among consumers to be bigger, better, whatever the cost, is seemingly boundless.
While Samsung is the first to bring an 8K TV to India, your cousin in the US can already pre-order an LG 88 inch OLED 8K TV, at around $40,000. Powered by the Alpha 9 8K processor, LG also comes with access to multiple content streams, voice assistants and one touch remote controls. The message is loud and clear: Unlike Bluray and 4K, manufacturers are not waiting for appropriate content before releasing hardware. They go a step further and beef up existing content to the most recent standard. And they are able to charge a premium from customers, who like Boy Scouts and Girl Guides embrace the motto: Be Prepared.