4K Resolution or higher is often mentioned in relation to digital cameras. These figures should however be analysed with care, considering that they are not necessarily indicative of a device’s quality. When referring to them, people often forget an essential point: the physiological limits of the human eye. We are human beings, not eagles. Furthermore, it should be highlighted that, as a result of our ongoing love affair with smartphones and tablets, human beings’ long-distance eyesight capacity is inevitably destined to decrease.
8K content: when it will become reality
For some time now, a potential successor to 4K resolution, which currently represents the accepted standard, particularly for hardware (due mainly to the fall in prices of ultra HD TV’s), has been the subject of much debate. The next step in the current scenario will be the introduction of 8K, a visualisation system which offers four a resolution which is fourfold that of 4K. The development of content with these features has so far been the domain of television broadcasters and video makers, due to the fact that it allows the user to zoom in and crop images without detracting from their quality.
If we consider, on the other hand, the devices able to visualise this content, it is worth remembering that several brands have already launched prototype TVs able to reproduce 8K resolution. In any case, it is still premature to speak of an existing market. The very few devices on sale are certainly not designed for the mass market consumer, rather they are targeted at professional sectors which require extremely high resolution screens.
4K resolution and beyond: other issues
Concerning the effective usefulness of the successors to 4K resolution, much can be said, as mentioned above. The issues to be faced go much further than the objective limits of human eyesight and also include the status quo of wide band technologies. A closer look at the current Italian scenario reveals that it would be objectively impossible to carry such a large amount of data as that required for 8K broadcasting. It is no coincidence then that people are waiting for the large scale introduction of 5G before making any definite plans in that direction.
At present, it is possible to broadcast via satellite, but as several tech experts have pointed out, considering the Codecs which are currently available, it is highly unlikely that any streaming would manage to reach viewers’ homes.
Among other causes of the scepticism encountered by 8K, is the perception of the images by viewers accessing the content from the comfort of their sofas. This is connected to the previously mentioned issue of human eyesight, which, from an average distance of 3.5m from the screen and using a typical 65” device, is apparently not capable of distinguishing such high resolution.
Some experts suggest that a Full HD resolution, or at most 4K resolution screen, might be sufficient. In short, in order to fully appreciate the quality of 8K, viewers would have to look at the screen from a very short distance, or alternatively, use a very large screen, a device which certainly would not match the requirements of the average consumer, whose budget and available space are generally limited.
Consequently, purchasing an 8K television set would seem to be premature. If anyone is looking for a pretext however, they might consider the principle of upscaling, a process by which a video signal with a specific level of resolution is converted into a higher resolution. Thanks to machine learning and AI, the aforementioned process is continually evolving, allowing for the creation of images approaching those perceived by the human eye.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith