Why 8K TV is a non-starter for PC users

Has there ever been a more pointless increase in resolution? I found this video hilarious!

In my opinion 8K’s future lies in VR.

Don’t go throwing away your plans for an 8K camera just yet – the future will involve lots of 8K content.

It just won’t be on your lounge room TV, or computer monitor.

In my opinion mainstream acceptance of 8K for TVs is going to be a non-starter.

That’s not just because the technology is currently a buggy mess. It isn’t that you need a graphics card with 4x separate HDMI outputs and the ‘right cables’. Those things will all be solved in time, with new connection standards, new GPUs, and whenever the combined idiots responsible for drivers and software at NVidia, AMD and Microsoft decide to bother fixing the behaviour seen in the video by Linus!

8K is dead for TVs and home cinema because it has no use, no purpose. The experience you get for so much extra expense (upwards of $15,000 PC and $25,000 TV) is just plain naff. Who wants to have to sit within 0.5m of such a large display, just to see the difference above 4K?

Who wants to crane one’s neck around and shift your eyes across such a huge area?

And then, as soon as you sit back on the sofa, the resolution may as well be back at 4K or even 2K depending on your eyesight.

So this fundamental ergonomics problem is why 8K will never catch on for home cinema, PC monitors, workstations or gaming.

The other reason 8K is a hard sell to consumers, is that consumers like gaming. Ray tracing is here and takes a lot of resources. To run games at their highest quality settings on the most powerful consumer GPU today (Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti) 4K is still on the limit at 60fps even without ray tracing whilst a resolution of 2560×1440 is preferred for higher than 60fps with ray tracing in most titles. There are an array of other visual improvements that make a bigger difference to gaming than resolution, the primary being motion… 120hz being common now for gaming monitors. To do those screens justice you need to be running at 120fps with high quality settings in the game. Not gonna happen with 8K. 8K is 4x 4K quadrants and that takes a HUGE hit to the frame rate compared to the current most common resolution of 2560 x 1440 used by gamers. The experience of running a 2.5K display at very high refresh rates like 120hz (or even 240hz) is a far nicer experience in games compared to an 8K TV at 60z, with a struggling GPU.

That’s now. What about, say, in 10 years? Should we get consumer graphics hardware which runs 8K at 60hz or even 120hz and maintains a steady 60fps+ in-game, it’s always going to be 4X more GPU-resource hungry than the same quality in 4K, thus 4X less detail than would be the case if the GPU rendering time was put to better use on actual rendering quality (ray tracing, lighting, shadow quality, polygon count) rather than it being squandered on resolution.

8K has a strong future for VR headsets (which is perhaps also the future of the cinema experience itself) and that’s what I’ll be covering in a blog post tomorrow. Stay tuned.