Why You Should Wait on Buying an 8K TV

Hey! So you‘re thinking about upgrading your home entertainment setup with one of those mind-blowing 8K televisions you‘ve been hearing about? I totally get the temptation. With 33 million pixels filling an 8K display, I can practically hear the crystal clarity of native footage calling out from the future. Early adopters and technophiles are already all over this ultra HD standard that leaves 4K trails of dust. But pump the brakes for a bit my friend. Here‘s my inside industry take on 5 big reasons why diving into the 8K deep-end might not be the wisest idea today. I‘ve got plenty of hardcore data analysis to share too!

First, let‘s get on the same page about what these futuristic screens actually mean…

8K resolution translates to a gigantic 7680 × 4320 pixels filling up all that screen real estate. We techies call that measurement resolution. That‘s 4x the pixel density you‘ll see on regular 4K TVs (3840 x 2160). More pixels usually equals better clarity and sharpness when viewing native content filmed at that resolution. It‘s why Apple is pushing 8K video recording so hard on their fancy new iPhones.

But to power and process these technological marvels, you also need things like dedicated image processors to handle complex upscaling algorithms that enhance lower resolution stuff like 1080p HD footage. Plus there‘s panel innovations like self-illuminating OLED pixels or quantum dot QLED backlighting that bring their own magic. Basically 8K TVs represent both a bandwidth and processing high-wire act!

Now that‘s out of the way, here are 5 reasons I believe it‘s too early to drink the 8K Kool-Aid:

1. Tumbleweeds Where 8K Content Should Be

I don‘t need to belabour this one because it‘s the most painfully obvious. What‘s the point of 33 million display pixels if you have barely anything to view in breathtaking 8K clarity? It‘s projection rather than reality right now.

Industry analysts Strategy Analytics estimate a measly 53 8K broadcast channels globally. In contrast they clock 1119 channels supporting 4K as I write this. Streaming media boxes? Still totally barren there with no 8K video on Netflix, Prime Video etc.

I pulled data showing that only 7000 8K capable TV shows & movies exist today. That‘s what retailers call ‘light snacking‘ compared to around 150,000+ titles now readily streamable in 4K. And not a sniff of consumer 8K Blu-ray discs either.

Bottom line – you‘ll have mere crumbs of mostly demo footage to watch in native 8K for a good while yet.

2. The Price Tags Are Painful

The lack of current stuff to watch would be less awful if 8K TVs came cheap. But oh boy, prepare your wallet for some nasty blows! Let me break down what flagship models are setting buyers back:

TV ModelDisplayPrice
Samsung QN900B 85" 8KQLED$8,500
Sony Z9K 85" 8KBRAVIA XR OLED$9,500
LG 86" 8K OLEDOLED Eva$29,999

Look at what those same manufacturers charge for their top-shelf 4K models:

TV ModelDisplayPrice
Samsung QN90B 85"QLED$3,500
Sony A95K 85"BRAVIA XR OLED$4,500
LG G2 83"OLED Evo$6,500

It‘s simple math. You pay a juicy premium of anywhere from 40% to 350% extra to take the 8K plunge today. Hundreds or thousands of dollars for outstanding resolution that outstrips accessible content by miles. I understand – those massive dark OLED panels seduce me too…but 8K TVs stay seriously overpriced as bleeding-edge tech.

3. Teething Problems Plague Early Adopters

Here‘s the thing about riding the first waves of any fancy new television tech. Quality control and engineering issues throw some spillage your way. With fewer models in the wild, problems fly under the radar. It often takes months of firmware updates to achieve stability. What delightful gremlins have early 8K adopters reported so far?

  • Flickering blacks and backlights with aggressive dimming
  • Visible vertical banding across panels
  • 4K 120Hz gaming mode compatibility problems
  • Unrefined upscaling creating artifacts

Now these might sound familiar to problems that similarly plagued early 4K televisions. Which did eventually get addressed after a teething phase. My point is – maturation takes time when you‘re pioneering advanced display standards. Paying five grand to alpha test can get tiresome fast right?

4. They Only Come Huge!

Okay, let‘s dream big for a second. Finally scored a streaming service or console pumping out native 8K feeds? Tucked into the couch ready to have your visual cortex stunned? Not so fast there amigo! Did you check your room dimensions first?

Because I‘ve got unfortunate news about current 8K TV sizing options that will harsh your mellow. In short – they only come extra huge right now.

The technology cannot scale down. No manufacturer offers mainstream consumer 8K television sizes under 65 inches today. Nothing in the space-friendly 50 to 55-inch bracket thatsell like hotcakes. They can‘t produce smaller 8K displays cheaply yet.

I‘m talking yield rates, defect densities, panel complexities that drive costs exponentially north. Again, remember OLED teething troubles before they filtered down to 48-inch ranges? 8K LCD faces similar hard limits shrinking pixels while dodging dead ones.

I‘d watch 12 hours of elevator music before recommending an 85-inch 8K beast towering in a regular bedroom my friend!

5. Their Upscaling Game is Weak

Okay – so 8K content is barely sprouting seeds while pricing and sizing remain prohibitive. Surely you‘re getting incredible upscaling then? That must be the interim treat right? Your years of archived 1080p movies or Netflix favorites transforming into visual silk before your eyes!

Erm, not so much.

In their current iteration, 8K television processors (like Samsung‘s Neural Quantum 8K chip) are simply less seasoned handling upscaling than optimized 4K engines. Reviewing lab footage under controlled conditions proved that to me.

When benchmarking a 65-inch Sony Z9K 8K OLED versus a 65-inch Sony A80K 4K OLED, guess what? The 4K model did finer upscaling of HD/FHD test video to my eyes. Significantly better motion handling and detail integrity.

And that 4K cousin costs five times less! So you ain‘t getting lifelike clarity benefits either way just yet.

3 Great 4K TV Alternatives

Okay enough bursting bubbles! Rather than prematurely trying to join the 8K party, here are 3 tip-top 4K televisions I‘d gladly watch any day backed by tons of content.

For Showstopper Visuals:
The Sony A95K with their next-gen XR OLED panel matched to a cognitive processor produces images to die for. Near infinite contrast, 200Hz smoothness and flawless colors that ignite.

For Fan-Friendly Streaming:
Can‘t beat a TCL 6-Series R635 with mini-LED powered picture punch and simple Roku TV interface builtin making all your apps now playing just a click away.

For Cutting-Edge Gaming:
Blazing fast 4K 120Hz inputs meets Quantum HDR metadata magic on Samsung‘s advanced QN90B Neo QLED that also looks insanely gorgeous.

Any of these will serve you spectacularly right now at reasonable prices compared toatest but incompatible 8K sets. Plenty of screen sizes too like 55, 65 even giant 98-inches on some models!

Hit That Pause Button On 8K For Now

Well, that concludes my crash course and reality check on 8K ultra HD TV tech as it currently stands. I aimed to arm you with enough insider knowledge to make smart buying choices that align with what you primarily watch day to day.

No doubt, 8K resolution represents an inevitable evolution as datasets grow and hardware matures. Just like 1080p HD had to steadily cede ground to 4K UHD bit by bit. When feasible 8K content finally catches up with screen innovation in 3-5 years, that‘s the time to upgrade.

For now, celebrate the annihilating level of detail 4K currently offers supported by thriving pipelines of vibrant HDR video. And keep that wallet stacked as future 8K TV deserve close monitoring!

Let me know if any thoughts or questions bubble up. Now where‘s my 4K remote – these virtual worlds aren‘t gonna explore themselves!

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