People are increasingly making the leap from HD to 4K, both in the office and at home. Now that displays have become more affordable and entertainment is created with this higher resolution in mind, buying a set or a monitor that isn’t capable of supporting such technology feels like a poor investment. To further prove the need to look forward, the dust had barely settled on 4K when display manufacturers began making the push towards 8K.

The leap from SD to HD was huge for users and this next step in display technology promises to be just as revolutionary. In the same way that 4K display was a spectacle, seeing an 8K screen in person is as impressive an upgrade. The images are of such a high resolution that they imitate moving photographs, with no evidence of pixilation no matter how close you are stood.

What exactly is 8K?

Where full HD video have a resolution of around 2 megapixels per frame and 4K footage has 8 megapixels, 8K in turn will triples this, taking displays up to a full 32 megapixels per frame. In practical terms, this means that we will get a display resolution of 8K horizontally and 6K vertically – for viewers with 20/20 vision, this creates a resolution that is technically perfect. Beyond this point, we are biologically incapable of perceiving much more detail, putting us on a scale of ever diminishing returns. Early adopters who are tired of finding their monitors slipping behind the competition after only a few years will be glad to hear that there is unlikely to be a similar race to 16K or 32K.

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Does this mean it’s time to upgrade your display?

The short answer is not necessarily just yet. To output footage at 8K requires an expensive and powerful computer and there isn’t any media that supports the resolution yet. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the first global event that’s confirmed to be filming at super high resolution, and although we’re sure to have media before then, it’s unlikely that industries only just acclimating to 4K will be in a hurry to move on before then. For business use, there are only a few, very specific reasons to adopt just yet. Unless you are editing IMAX video, it’s unlikely you’ll need one for a while. Early adoption might sound enticing, but much like the early days of 4K, the displays themselves are prohibitively expensive.

That being said, businesses are already laying the groundwork for this technology. In March 2016, the Video Electronics Standards Association formally announced its new DisplayPort 1.4 standard and it is the first indication for widespread adoption of 8K video. DisplayPort 1.4 will take advantage of VESA’s Display Compression 1.2 standard, allowing for 4K resolution at 120Hz or 8K resolution at 60Hz. This new standard will include support for both USB-C and Thunderbolt, meaning that monitors are moving towards using a single cable that has the ability to support both 8 and 4K. Although in large, companies haven’t laid out their display port plans for the future, it’s likely that we will see widespread adoption arriving by 2018. With devices already unveiled at CES earlier this year from Sharp, Samsung and LG, there’s no doubt that our high resolution future is just around the corner.

Do you think it’s worth investing in 8K in the near future? Let us know below or join in the conversation over on LinkedIn!

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