Earlier this year I found myself at the fabulous Bristol Hi-Fi Show. Looking for somewhere to take a little rest I blagged a seat inside the What Hi-Fi demo room, where a brand new Samsung 8k TV was about to be demonstrated to a bunch of wide-eyed public.
My inner geek was quite keen to see this, and after a few minutes adjusting my eyes to the dark and my lungs to the lack of oxygen, the show began. The excitement was palpable. This was a great TV, at least according to What Hi-Fi who had recently reviewed it and given it four stars.
However, my excitement was curtailed when the presenter opened his demo with the words: “Now, the thing with 8K is that there’s no readily available content. And we’re not sure if there are any firm plans for it to be made available any time soon. We’ve been informed that the Tokyo Olympics will be broadcasting in 8K but will they really be able to achieve that? We’re not sure.”
Ok. So this lack of 8k content available for public consumption is a true fact. After all, we’re just getting our heads around 4k, and plenty of ordinary people I know (ie, those who aren’t involved in the CE industry) have only the meanest relationship with it. The majority seem content squirting standard DVD content through cheap HDMI cables into their brand new UHD TVs. Which fills me with horror. And to be fair to What Hi-Fi, the upsell from 4k to 8k alone wasn’t enough for them to award that extra shiny, even though by all accounts it’s a great TV.
In fact, from what I saw, it’s a fabulous TV. They played some of Samsung’s proprietary 8k content from a USB stick and even though I was sat at the back of the room, some 15-20 feet away from the screen, I felt as though I could stand up and walk into the picture like someone enraptured by The Light. It was astonishing.