You’re thinking of buying an 8K TV, but you don’t know where the 8K content is. You want movies and TV shows, but 8K isn’t on Netflix. Is anything coming?
CES 2020 might seem like a lifetime ago, but the year’s major technology show gave a glimpse as to what was going to be big news: 8K TVs, and lots of them. It seemed like anyone and everyone had an 8K TV, as the higher resolution version of Ultra HD has plans to become a big place for people to spend up on.
Samsung has a couple on the way, alongside its numerous 4K Ultra HD efforts, and LG has a few coming as well. We’re expecting to see more in the 8K world from other brands this year, too, and so 8K isn’t likely to be limited to a handful of technology companies at all.
It seems like 8K is properly coming home this year, and to more than just a handful of people rich enough for the latest and greatest resolution. Twice that of 4K, 8K can potentially show more detail and crisp image quality, provided it has something to run.
But you won’t find 8K Blu-rays just yet, if ever, and there aren’t a whole lot of options for getting 8K content on your new 8K TV, just yet.
In fact, the most likely place you can expect 8K content from is over a streaming service, with the apps on the 8K TVs likely serving that gap.
Who will stream in 8K when it launches?
There’s no word yet on if Apple TV is going to make the jump to 8K, though we imagine it’s something Apple is considering, particularly given its support for 4K Ultra HD in the Apple TV 4K, and the launch of iTunes Movies apps on Samsung and LG TVs.
That leaves an Apple TV 8K in more of a “watch this space” kind of place, and we may hear about Apple’s plans either later this year in the virtual Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), or even later in the year when 8K properly kicks off when those new Microsoft and Sony next-get consoles arrive.
However there are other services you could see 8K streaming from later on, too.
Netflix was one of the first streaming companies to support 4K, so we expect it would be one of the first to join the 8K streaming world, and it may not be alone when it happens.
In a recent Samsung briefing for the Australian launch of Samsung’s 2020 4K and 8K TVs, Pickr asked about plans by Samsung to make 8K content more accessible, and was told that while “there really aren’t many avenues in place”, the company was potentially working with Amazon on an 8K solution, though wouldn’t provide any detail about the potential partnership.
Given the strength of Amazon Prime Video’s originals including major star and selling power, including Al Pacino in “Hunters” and Patrick Stewart in “Picard”, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Amazon was eyeing an 8K launch later on, or even that recently productions were being captured in 8K, either.
Amazon doesn’t appear to have talked about an 8K service that we can find, and the only organisation that has, Rakuten, hasn’t launched in Australia. However an 8K streaming service does appear to be the most likely way you can expect 8K content for an 8K TV, it’s more just a matter of when, rather than if.
The need for 8K streaming speed
Regardless of when 8K streaming services launch, you’re going to want a pretty meaty internet connection speed to make use of that technology.
When 4K first launched, the expectation was that you’d need a 25 megabit connection to make it work, something that is within reach of Australians using the National Broadband Network, or even of cable. If you’re still stuck on ADSL2+, don’t bother, but if your street and suburb has finally made the jump to Australia’s NBN, you can at least get 25Mbps, even if you’ll have to share it with the rest of the house for other activities.
That requirement of sharing, particularly in an Aussie home, means that if you’re using a 4K TV for streaming, you’ll probably want a little more bandwidth, with a minimum of 50Mbps satisfying the 25Mbps 4K requirement, and providing a little more for other activities.
However that’s 4K; with 8K, you’ll want to double it.
Given the size difference, the 8K streaming requirements are likely to be closer to 50Mbps, suggesting a little more would be advisable for a home catering to more than just a couple sitting around their TV. Think typical speeds of around 80Mbps, and you’re catering for the TV and anything else in the home.
Once you look around for plans offering those speeds, you’re typically looking at NBN100 plans or higher, which can offer those speeds, meaning that an 8K TV purchase isn’t just likely going to leave you with an imprint from the cost of the 8K TV itself, but also an upgrade to a higher bandwidth internet plan.
When will 8K streaming launch in Australia?
Unfortunately, there’s no information available about when 8K streaming services will launch in Australia, at least as of April 2020.
When it happens, you can probably expect it either in the second half of 2020 or early 2021, though right now, if you want 8K content on your TV, aside for letting the new TV upscale 4K or Full HD content to 8K, YouTube may be your best bet.
Samsung’s latest 8K TVs support the AV1 codec used by YouTube for 8K content, and while you may not find a lot of 8K content, if you go looking, you can find some. That means the YouTube app on a Samsung TV may end up being the best place to find 8K content, at least for the moment, with a similar likelihood for TVs from other companies.