Forget your blurry 4K telly (that’s so 2016) as according to a report on FlatPanelsHD, the first consumer grade 8K TVs are due to be announced at this September’s IFA convention in Berlin.
Samsung and Sony, two of the industries juggernaut manufacturers, are planning to unleash their latest wallet-busting pixel-beasts in a bid to shake up the high end of the market currently dominated 4K OLEDs.
Speaking of OLED, it’s thought the dazzling self-emissive tech with its perfect blacks and epic viewing angles is lagging behind and won’t be available in this monster resolution for a couple of years at least – leaving the 8K honour to LCD (or as Samsung irritatingly insists on calling its variant, QLED).
What does it mean for gaming? Well judging by the current hardware available in mainstream devices such as home consoles and laptops, nothing at all – except for the potentially positive effect of the image being naturally scaled to a higher native resolution (depending on the quality of onboard processing).
No, vanity products such as these require equally exotic PC rigs to come close to utilising the outrageous number of pixels on offer. As always, there will be a rich few who will delight in this technological marvel, for now.
But it’s not a pricey resolution that should really matter to gamers right now.
No no, It’s the other far more impactful upgrade coming this year that makes a 8K/HDR/60 fps picture possible via a single cable – HDMI 2.1 – the long-awaited new industry standard for video & audio connections.
Not only does it enable the best possible experience from a picture quality point of view, but it natively supports many other features which will positively impact the gameplay experience.
First up is VRR (variable refresh rate) which is basically FreeSync but for TVs. Anyone who has utilised this feature on PC will be looking forward to this perfect synchronisation of picture and frame rate without the need to lock to 30 or 60fps for fear of screen tear. This feature is already built into Xbox One X and available on some Samsung TVs launched earlier this year (tagged on to the now obsolete HDMI 2.0b standard).
Another HDMI 2.1 upgrade is HFR (high frame rate) which grants native support for 4K 120 fps images – a feature that will doubtless prove popular to gamers in the coming years – assuming developers actually favour frames over resolution, or offer the choice as to your preference (as many ‘enhanced’ titles now do).
And finally there’s dynamic HDR – an improvement on the already high-end tech that should make it easier to optimise dark and bright moments on a scene-by-scene basis. As no games are currently offered in Dolby Vision (the most popular dynamic meta data driven format for TV shows and movies right now) but the static data HDR10, this new development should only help make those high-end games looks even better.
And the best news of all? HDMI 2.1 is likely to be included in a much wider variety of TVs at lower price points, so you won’t have to sell one of the children to get your hands on this tasty new tech.