THE POWER OF 8
Digital Studio|December 2020
Is the industry ready to hop onto the 8K bandwagon?
ANISHA GAKHAR
Technology advances with time, ahead of time—if I may say? Just when 4K was beginning to normalise and embraced globally for production and distribution, there came a cannon ball: 8K.

4K actually stands for 4,000 pixels. 4K, also known as Ultra HD (UHD) or UHD-1, is used when referring to content and display devices with a 4,096 x 2,160 pixel resolution. That’s a total of 8,847,360 pixels. That’s a lot more pixels—four times, to be precise—in comparison to Full HD.

Now, 8K aka UHD-2, is the natural evolution of UHD-1, as it proposes using more pixels and the same techniques as UHD-1, including Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), HDR, High Frame Rate (HFR), NGA and Content-Aware Encoding (CAE).

8K UHD refers to a horizontal resolution of 7680 pixels and a vertical resolution of 4320 pixels. This means that 8K TVs have two times the horizontal and vertical resolution of 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) TVs. Generally, 8K UHD has 33.2 megapixels (with one megapixel being either one million or 1,048,576 pixels), while 4K UHD has 8.3 megapixels. Esentially, 8K has four times as many pixels overall, and 16 times as many pixels as Full HD (1920 x 1080).

BROADCAST AND STREAMING

The 4K boom has been witnessed in the market for over a decade now, by live and on-demand services. On the OTT side, SVOD platforms have demonstrated their commitment to 4K. Out of the Netflix catalogs, 17% are in 4K, and reportedly 30% of Netflix’s 193 million subscribers have the UHD package, making it the largest 4K platform in the world with 57 million subscribers.

But things are gradually starting to shift. 8K was all the rage at this year’s mega technology and broadcast events, such as, the NAB Show and IBC; there was a lot of deliberation and hype around the impending 8K revolution. Streaming bags a major chunk of how viewers view content today. This means that the most important part of the 8K business model is to cooperate with partners in the high-definition video streaming ecosystem and come out with a complete solution for end consumers. Add to this a consideration for the ever-evolving devices like smart phones and TVs.

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