Is An 8K TV Worth It?


[♪ INTRO] The newest 8K Ultra High-definition TV screens
have a mind-blowing 33 million pixels. Those are the tiny individual points of light,
each with a certain color and brightness, that add up to make
the picture on the screen. And that’s 4x as many pixels as its predecessor,
the 4K screen. And more pixels means a sharper, more detailed
image. But before you run out and buy the latest
upgrade, you might consider whether you can even see the increased resolution. And… it’s very likely that you can’t. Now, before we get too far into this, we should
note that you’ll only get the full benefits of an
8K screen if you’re looking at 8K video. Most movies and TV shows weren’t recorded
in 8K. But, let’s just assume for the moment that
8K video is available for your favorite type of media, and everything
else you need to watch it is in place—like, your internet connection
is fast enough to deliver 8K streaming. Since the whole point of an 8K screen is the
increase in detail, one could argue that the question of whether
an upgrade is worth considering ultimately boils down to your eyesight. And there’s a limit to how much detail the
human eye can resolve. Beyond the limit of human perception, two
dots, or two pixels, will blur together and look like one. The point at which this happens depends on
the size of the dots and how far away they are. Once you reach this limit, adding more details
won’t make the image look any sharper. And your eye’s visual limits are defined
by its physical features. When you take in a scene, the lens of your
eye focuses a miniature image of whatever you’re looking at onto the back
of the eyeball, where it’s projected across an array of
light-detecting cells called photoreceptors. Each one gets a tiny piece of the image. It responds according to the brightness and
color of the light in that piece. So if an image is so small that two pixels
fall onto one photoreceptor, you’ll see them as one blended light source. To see both as separate, the image needs to
be big enough so that the two pixels span at least two photoreceptors. For example, take those eye charts at the
doctor’s office. If you walk right up to it, you’ll be able
to make out the littlest letters with ease. But if you stand at the proper distance of
6 meters, or 20 feet, the image of them inside your eye is a lot
smaller. That means the ink and the space around it
have started to fall on the same photoreceptors, so the letters
have blurred into illegible smudges. That’s why the eye’s visual acuity is
measured as an angle: the angle created when you draw imaginary
lines between your eyeball and two separate points at the farthest distance
you can resolve them. If you have 20/20 vision, that angle is one-sixtieth
of a degree, or one arc minute. And using this angle and some math, you can
calculate the highest pixel resolution you can see for any distance. Say you have 20/20 vision, and you sit a comfortable
2.5 meters, or about 8 feet, from your TV. From there, you can just about fully enjoy
a 1080p HD video on a 60-inch screen. It has about 37 pixels per centimeter, and
your eye can resolve about 28 pixels per centimeter at that distance. So the image will be detailed, but not pixelated, because the pixels are blurring a bit. If you upgrade to 4K or 8K, though, you won’t be able to discern the increase
in resolution. You could buy a bigger TV—and sure, as screen
resolution has gone up, people around the world have been doing that. But you still have to fit your TV into your
living room. And to get roughly the same pixels per centimeter, you’d need a 120-inch 4K screen or a 240-inch
8K screen. But that 28 pixels per centimeter number is
based on 20/20 vision— if your vision is better than that, you might
be able to resolve more pixels per centimeter, so you might notice
a difference between a 60-inch 1080p and a 4K screen. But unless you have the best possible visual
acuity — about 20/8 vision — if your couch is 2.5 meters from a 60-inch
TV, you’re simply not going to be able to see the additional
pixels of an 8K screen. You could move your couch closer, of course. To see 4K in its full glory, you’d need
to sit about 120 centimeters or 4 feet away from that 60-inch screen. And if you upgraded to a 60-inch 8K TV, you’d
need to get even closer— a mere 61 centimeters or 2 feet… which makes
for a pretty cozy viewing experience. And there’s a catch to that, too. If you get too close, the angle between your
eyes and the screen gets so wide that the edges of the image extend
out of your visual field— meaning, you can’t take in the whole screen
at once. A 60-inch TV maxes out your visual field when
it’s about 1 meter away. But the average person can’t perceive the
full pixel resolution of an 8K TV of that size until they’re less
than a meter away from it! You can see how this starts to become impractical. Now to be fair, human vision is complex, and
the newest TV models may have benefits beyond pixel resolution. Newer, higher-resolution screens often come
with other upgrades, like higher frame rates, more contrast, and
a greater color range. These features can help improve picture quality,
especially for images that move. So a new TV will probably look better than
your old one— even if it’s the exact same resolution. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention
that there are also socioeconomic and psychological aspects to
TV ownership— like how much you can actually afford, and
whether you think it’ll make you look cool to have the latest model. So really, whether an 8K TV is “worth it”
to you doesn’t just boil down to how well you can see the finer resolution
video. Ultimately, the science can’t tell you whether
or not you should buy that 8K TV. But, it can tell you whether you can perceive
those extra pixels— and, odds are, unless you have the space for
a huge TV or sit really close to it, you can’t. Thanks to Patrick Gilmore for asking! And thanks to all our patrons who voted for
this question in our poll. If you support us on Patreon at any level, you can submit questions like this and help
us decide which ones we actually answer in episodes. There are other things you can get, too, like blooper reels or even your name in the
credits! And that’s on top of knowing that you’re
a big part of making SciShow happen – so thanks for doing that. You can learn more at Patreon.com/SciShow. [♪ OUTRO]

100 comments

  1. I have scrolled through many (although admittedly not all) of the comments, and I'm really sad that no one has mentioned Frank's 2,000" TV; it's got a two year warranty on parts and labor!

  2. But…its 8k… I have to buy it cause its the new thing its going to make my viewing experience even shaperer

  3. It sounds like an 8k screen for my PC would be worthwhile. I sit about 60cm away from the centre of the screen (more than that from the outlying areas). Unlike TV watchers, I don't need to have the whole screen in clear view at a time, and I can rearrange the windows I'm using most towards the centre.

  4. My vision is something like 20/1000 (glasses sphere is -8!), but with my glasses, it's corrected to about 20/18. I wonder if I would be able to make it out. Still not going to dump several thousand dollars on a new TV when my current one does the trick just fine, but eventually it'll need replacing.

  5. 4:31 socioeconomic reasons… I'm sure there are people who would love to ask questions but can't afford Patreon.

  6. For any of these edge of perception issues (resolution, frame rate, color space, etc), you'd optimally want to exceed the human limit – and by a reasonable margin – not just match it. Something like a 16kTV at 2kHz with 16-bit-per-channel floating point color (maybe with more than 3 color channels) is probably the point where further improvements are conclusively pointless. The 4k to 8k upgrade is probably a bad deal for TVs at any significant cost premium – but it's still well within the realm of actually doing something.

  7. Is it true that modern CGI is only rendered in 2k?

    TV's just need better refresh rates to reduce motion blurr especially on wide panning shots.

  8. My optician told me I have better than 20/20 vision… I was fascinated by this as I always thought 20/20 was the best but she explained it isn't it goes lower (lower is better) but anything below 20/20 is just overkill so they don't usually bother mentioning it, I suspect she won't do it again after my 20 questions 😉 This topic would probably make a great SciShow vid 😉

  9. If it sounds fancy and advanced people will buy it even though it’s not much different from the previous one.

  10. This video was uploaded at 1080p30. Really, we should all be doing at least 1080p60 these days. Maybe 120 hz. I'd like to see that LONG before I'd like to see a 2k resolution.

  11. I have 20/30 vision, and pack my glasses to see movies in theaters. 20/30 doesn't need them to drive or really suffer any quality loss at home. It's only those massive quality levels on similarly massive screens that suffer.

    tldr: Even imperfect vision gets everything out of a 1080-p home screen.

  12. This video is kinda disappointing. Seriously why sum up the benefits, especially imo the most important one colour

  13. TVs are on the cusp of entering a hifi style arms race, where the product is essentially perfected, so manufacturers have to invent reasons to convince people to carry on parting with their money. I look forward to the redundant pixel count increases, voodoo cables, special types of glass that let a better kind of light through etc etc

  14. A worth it or not scientific explanation won’t stop people from buying it. The number 8K is larger than 4K and therefore it MUST be better. Don’t question marketing.

  15. One thing you didn't touch on is defective pixels. My 1080 display has a few dead pixels (the manufactures seem to make failed pixels just black out so they aren't typically all that noticeable) In a 4K or 8K display, a dead pixel would be very difficult to even discern. Is failure a reason to buy a higher res display? I'd say YES!

  16. It's never enough.. and I'm sure we can all tell the difference of 8k and beyond. Be better if they made a video with a 4k 60" next to a 8k 60" and sonething over the frames so can only see the screens, and have random people say which is 4k and which is 8k

  17. This video is misleading at best. Have you yourself seen an actual 8K content on a 8K TV…? We do have a 70” 8K TV and access to properly produced 8K content (here in Japan NHK is broadcasting in 8K from 10AM until 10PM since last year in preparation for the official public launch of 8K during 2020 Olympics) and pretty much everyone who has seen it thus far from our comfortable 2.5m viewing distance can immediately tell the difference from 4K (let alone HD). Ironically (and accidentally) you got close to the key point – that from a certain distance two points will merge and look like one. But we are not robots and our eyes don’t have sensors. The photo receptors in our eyes are not organized in neat rows and columns (like in a camera sensor). However the goal is similar – not being able to “sense” any particular resolution / artificial pattern. To put it in a plain language – with 8K the pixel grid is all but gone. Even the most sensitive eyes can simply focus on tiniest details and not be reacting to any artificial pixel pattern. This is why the most common reaction from people is comparing it to “looking through a window”. So please stop “over-sciencing” everything – especially things you don’t have any personal experience with…

  18. I feel like there's something wrong about the logic used to show people "can't see" the difference. The main problem is that it's conflating "the detail the human eye can see at any given time" with "the experience of viewing image/video." This is an important distinction, because the experience of actually viewing things consists of your eyes constantly darting around and taking in a bunch of visual information, which is then processed by your brain. 4k content displayed by a 4k display contains more actual detail, so it's entirely possible (if not outright likely) that the net result from someone viewing it will be different, because even if they can't see every detail at any given instant,
    that doesn't mean they aren't picking it up in the process of viewing.

    The only real way to judge this would be a double-blind test. The only one I could find was from 2013* and gave a very clear "almost everyone can tell the difference" result (97% correctly identified the 4k), though I would like to see the result of other tests if they exist (Google isn't yielding anything else).

    Obviously, all of this is contingent on the source video actually being recorded in 4k. If it isn't (which it isn't for most television) the conclusion of this video is obviously correct.

    * https://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/news/4k-resolution-201312153517.htm

  19. 😀 i can understand any difference between 1080p and 4k , and it's not only me anyone else can understand even in a small display in phone , it's so bad some comes to explain a false knowledge and explain it with knowledge , i advise you to change your tv in 4k as fast as possible to open you mind

  20. I once worked for a stereo amplifier company. We had people buying equipment who called themselves "Golden Ears". They clsimed they could hear and discern down to 0.005 percent Total Harmonic Distortion. Science later proved that most humans can only discern 2 percent. This is the same thing. People are going to claim they can see the difference.

  21. I HAVE A QUESTION! That's right, I yelled. Is there a chance that the 60" 8K TV will make your regular HD shows look worse? For example, viewing YouTube at 240p on a 21" HD widescreen monitor looks terrible, but that same video on my 14" 480p full-screen looks reasonable. Less image stretch looks better, yes?

  22. The point of high resolution isn't for humans to discern the increase. Its to provide a detailed enough image that it would trick the brain into thinking your looking at a window instead of a tv.

  23. And to think that I still have a 1080p TV and I don't care. I don't even see the point of 4K, let alone 8K. 1080p is fine for me.

  24. I can definitely see the difference between 1080p and 4k from 2,5 meters (even from 3,5 meters). I tried the same thing between 4k and 8k, however wasn't able to distinguish the two while in the mediastore.

  25. i suspect ( ? ) that 10 years from now when 16k TV is the Standard, and we go back and look at a 4k program, we'll be aghast that our parents had to put up with that !

  26. Same stuff they said about 4k when it first came around… And yet 4k is very very clearly a step up from 1080p

  27. ya ya… so 8k tvs are stupid, but… who knows?… maybe you should buy them… because… well… you just can't avoid being pro-system, can't you? after all, so many fellow "scientists" worked so hard to put up those 8k tv sets, didn't they?… and after all, all this high tech stuff pays you your salaries, doesn't it?

  28. Movies are hardly ever true 4K let alone 8K. Most movies are mastered in 2K, which is just regular HD, and then upscaled from there. It's the only way to render all that photo realistic CGI within acceptable timespans. 4K would take 4 times as long. And imagine 8K movies taking 16 times as long to render as current blockbusters. Just get 4K TV or even just a full HD (2K) TV with HDR and enjoy.

  29. Those that say 1080p is good and 4k or 8k is a waste. You are so wrong. There's a big difference in the quality it's noticeable. And 4k is very affordable now I bought a 55 inch 4k for 400 with Dolby vision. It's worth it, but if you don't care for the best, stick with whatever you got. I'll upgrade to 8k once it's more affordable

  30. Barring the largest screens (aka, projectors), you can't even tell if something is 4k, let alone 8k. But go ahead and throw away your money.

  31. Anybody else notice the irony of his fine patterned shirt moire patterning to all heck at 1080? Is 8K pointless right now? Sure… But will it have use in normal-person life? Eventually, for certain. Raw resolution isn’t simply about how well one can discern individual pixels in a moving image. That’s hard even at 1080. Jaggies, stairstep effect, and moire patterns are all image quality issues that real people see every single day. I can tell instantaneously between 4K and 1440P in Forza Horizon 4 running on a console simply because the bumper on your car shows a dramatic stairstep effect across that mild improvement. To say that the resolution will have no benefit to mainstream users outside of hyper-large-format and uberrich people who don’t know any better is incredibly shortsighted, and frankly disappointing coming out of what I assume is a dungeon filled with video editors chained to desks. People made the same arguments about 1080, and 4K. They were wrong. It’s disappointing that the Scishow doesn’t talk about any other image quality performance aspects of higher resolution other than being able to discern two individual pixels. The likelihood of you being able to discern the difference between two individual pixels has much more to do with the type of content being displayed than the resolution in most cases.

  32. The subject is already complicated enough, why do you speak soooo damn fast (i mean imagine using that speed in front of an audience, everyone would be lost) and switch between metric and imperial metric systems ? I appreciate you saying the two but sometimes you only used the imperial system like for the size of the TV. Centimeters are a very useful thing, maybe try using these too ?

  33. It sounds like they are trying to come up with a screen that you can watch through high powered binoculars. Great fun for bird spotting, but not much else. 🤑

  34. People seem to not understand its not about how your putting it in regards to cant see the pixels, 8K and higher is all about depth.
    Seeing 8K back in 2012/2013 that was the first thing I could tell was depth and when talking with people from NHK, Sharp and others when saying depth they say "Exactly".
    Not long ago talking with NHK they say 32K is the stoping point, like the olympics are going to be shot in 8K and possibly shot in 16k if camera is reddy, and broadcasted in 8K in Japan.
    Any way with seeing it my self many times over the years I definitely can see a difference regardless of size in the TV range at least and my eye sight is not perfect.

  35. This reminds me of someone arguing with me that because the eye can not see more than x fps that the higher fps does not matter.
    The science of perception is always a step behind magic.

  36. I'm waiting until there is more content for 4K first. Despite hundreds of channels, I only get 4 in 4K.

  37. Science or not I am 70 and wear glasses both for distance and reading. Even with these older eyes I an enjoying the tremendous clarity of a 65 inch 4k screen I just replaced my 55 inch 1080p screen with. I have also demoed 8k and it is clearer yet even to me. If my old eyes can pick this up you younger people should see great improvements in picture quality at every level. I plan on getting an 8k soon.

  38. Ansel screenshots that take over 16k resolution. Now you can zoom and really take it all in without ever seeing the picture go all fuzzy or blurred.

  39. What a great channel! So clearly explained and great graphics. I've always suspected that 8K is a waste of time. 4K is pretty damn sharp!

  40. Here's a question I've wondered about for a few years. I'm a radio engineer.
    On the inverse square law for radiation

    We know that radio signal strength decreases with distance according to an inverse square law so that if you double your distance from the source (a radio transmitter) the received field strength is decreased by four. This comes from the fact that you can consider the wave front as the surface of an expanding sphere and the surface area of a sphere (field strength) is proportional to the square of the radius (distance from the radio transmitter). This is true whether the transmitter's antenna is omni-directional (equal energy in all directions) or focused in one direction. If it's spreading AT ALL the energy will decrease according to the inverse square law.

    Now consider a perfect laser where the energy is confined to a single narrow beam that doesn't diverge at all. In that case wouldn't the energy arriving at the far end be the same as it was when it left? It's not spreading out. If so here's the crunch. If the signal spreads to ANY degree it will follow the inverse square law but if it doesn't, it won't. So at what point as we approach "zero spread" does the inverse square law fail?

  41. There is a big difference from 4K to 1080p, my upstairs tv is 1080p and my downstairs tv is 4K. I much rather play and watch the downstairs than upstairs, and I have a regular PS4. Can’t imagine what it will look like on PS5

  42. What we need is better contrast, better color accuracy, better peak brightness (HDR), and more fps/Hertz and no burn ins. No one needs stupid 8k nowadays, I personally don`t need it at all, 4k is enough for me. 8k has one useful field of application anf that is VR. No one needs an 8k TV, Smartphone or Monitor.

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