What is 8K?

In one of my previous posts I have mentioned that my job at FIFA World Cup 2018 has to do with 8K television. As far as I’ve discovered, there aren’t many people who know much about 8K so far – not even broadcasters! So this post is about 8K.

So, what is 8K Super-Hi Vision?

Basically, it’s the next generation of television systems, developed by the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation NHK. 8K video has 16 times the resolution of current HDTV and 4 times that of 4K television (I bet most people haven’t even seen 2K yet!). According to the official brochure that we’re sending around, this super high definition video combined with 22.2 multichannel sound will envelop the viewers and create the illusion that they are actually experiencing the scene by themselves.

At the moment, 8K technology is mainly aimed at all those big screens which are usually set outdoors or in giant cinema halls. NHK is launching its official 8K broadcasting this autumn, but it’s highly unlikely to bring them much profit in the nearest future, as few households will be able to afford the 8K TV set. According to Digital Trends, Sharp’s first 8K TV for “professional use” cost $133,000 in 2015. This year you might be able to purchase a set for $73,000. Sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it?

NHK started using 8K equipment for major sports events at the Rio 2016 Olympics and then tried it out in Russia at the FIFA Confederation Cup 2017. They are now filming a few major matches (and Team Japan of course!) at this World Cup, and the footage is being showcased at the 8K Television theatre in the Main Media Centre. The plan is to have the whole Tokyo 2020 Olympics fully broadcast in 8K. But will 8K be widespread enough by then?

The answer is, it’ll probably take quite long to become a common thing – most of us are still getting used to 2K and 4K formats. However, just as it has happened before to HD, it’s just a matter of time before 8K becomes a part of our daily digital reality.

I personally don’t consider myself a tech geek and wouldn’t really mind watching the games in good old HD, but 8K does look impressive – and the difference is drastic. Do check out this article on Digital Trends if you’d like to learn more about the technical specifications of Super-Hi vision – I don’t think I’d do a better job by telling it in my own words here.

If by any chance you are at IBC during World Cup – do pop in to check out our 8K Theatre, it’s fun! It’s located at NHK booth Pavilion 2 hall8.

Seat reservation: nhk.8k.theater@gmail.com (or just walk in).

See you here!


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