If you do, you’ll have to move to Japan and shell out £100k for the only commercially available 8K TV – manufactured, rather appropriately, by Sharp!
The Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) has announced it’ll be shooting 8K footage with 22.2 channel surround sound, and even some Virtual Reality (VR) coverage.
Most of you will be thinking your HD 1080p TV with 5.1 surround sound is pretty special, so imagine that audio visual experience on the kind of performance enhancing drugs the IOC would ban in a heartbeat!
What is Super Hi-Vision 8K?
For the tech geeks among you, 8K offers a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels, which is 16 times the pixel-count of full HD’s resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Although it does beg the question, to what extent can the human eye tell the difference between full HD, 4K and 8K on a domestic television screen of 50” or less? I’m sure 8K looks amazing on a cinema screen, but I dread to think how big (and curved) your telly would need to be to get the full effect!
Can I Watch the Olympics in 4K or 8K in the UK?
Unfortunately, the OBS claims there’s no demand from rights holders and broadcasters for 4K let alone 8K, but it will be recording and airing a very small proportion of its package – less than 2% – in 8K to test with Japanese broadcaster NHK (who developed the technology).
This is in preparation for Japan’s hosting of the Olympics in 2020. That event should also feature cutting-edge holographic displays, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wider Colour Gamut recordings.
To be fair, some parts of the London 2012 Olympics were shown in 8K on large screens set up around London, but this year’s Japanese broadcasts promise to be on a much grander scale.
There’s been a real push on Ultra HD 4K TVs in the UK over the last year, so it’s disappointing to hear the major broadcasters are unlikely to have launched a 4K channel in time for the summer of sport. However, I suspect if the likes of Sky and Virgin can get ready to broadcast 4K by 5th August the OBS might change its mind.
Are There Other Ways to Watch?
Mobile video coverage is expected to be extensive and highly interactive. And in exciting news for earlier adopters of the latest VR tech, like the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift, there are plans to capture the opening and closing ceremonies and selected events as VR content for live broadcast and download on-demand.