Flat-panel television technology continues to advance at a blinding rate, and as it does, new features and designs appear on the market at a rate that can be confusing. They’re not cheap though- while the best tvs with 8K capabilities offer image fidelity and realism undreamed of on the consumer market even a decade ago, they come at a premium. So should you invest in new TV technology now, or wait for the prices to come down before taking the leap.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Getting the most out of an 8K TV requires the space for proper viewing distance and angle, otherwise, the fidelity will be wasted
  • HDR or High Dynamic Range is a technology that greatly increases the range of brightness between the darkest blacks and whitest whites, and almost all HDR is in 4K
  • There’s currently very little actual 8K content available- quality or otherwise- to most consumers, meaning most people won’t really experience most of its benefits until more 8K content is produced

The answer depends on a number of factors that need to be considered before you take the plunge into technology you may not see enough of a benefit from to justify the costs. While you’re at it, if you’ve asked yourself recently “I’d like to know how to repair my TV screen,” you find out by clicking that link.

Insider Tip

8K televisions require both the space to allow for the best viewing distance and content made for 8K to make the most out of their potential.

8K: Is it a Good Investment?

8K TVs are capable of producing images of dazzling depth, richness, and life-like definition, but in order to actually enjoy this cutting-edge picture quality, they require 8K video content (not to mention enough space to accommodate their large size.

While major manufacturers like Samsung have been offering 8K TVs for a little while, the industry still hasn’t started to produce a lot of 8K content to match the technology, whether it’s series television, major motion pictures, or video games.

When you consider the high price tag of even lower-end 8K TVs, the cost-benefit ratio just isn’t there yet. In the next few years, we’ll start to see major content producers and streaming services offer 8K content on a larger scale- and prices on 8K TVs should come down a least a little- but for now, it’s probably not a good investment for anyone but the absolute tech-obsessed who demand the cutting edge as soon as it’s available- for those of us less tech-savvy, click here to learn some smart tv tips.

HDR Explained

Another newer technology featured in a lot of high-end flatscreen TVs is HDR, or High Dynamic Range, a technology used in professional digital cameras before it came to flat-panel TVs and monitor displays.

The simplest explanation of HDR is that it increases the difference in luminosity between the blackest blacks and brightest whites of an image, thereby producing images with often dramatically improved shadow detail, deeper blacks, vibrant colors, and overall superior picture quality. Paired with ultra high definition resolutions like 4K, it can be a major step up in viewing experience when used.

The caveat, however, is that the effectiveness of HDR can vary greatly depending on the image source, ambient light, the specific type of HRD technology, and other variables. So while it can produce exceptional image quality, it’s not 100% guaranteed in every setup and any content- especially in resolutions under 4K. When considering an investment in a flat-panel TV, HDR can be a feature that increases the price tag but isn’t sure to produce superior results.

Warning

One problem with HDR is that its effectiveness at improving image quality can vary greatly depending on the source.

F.A.Q.S

What are the pros and cons of 8K?

While 8K televisions provide stunning, next-generation image quality and detail, 8K content is required to make use of its capabilities. At this time, streaming services and other content providers still aren’t producing 8K content regularly, meaning there’s currently a lack of 8K content available.


When will 8K televisions drop in price?

For the past few years, consumers have had to spend a minimum of $3500 for a lower-end 8K television, but this year, TCL’s 2021 6-Series introduced models starting at $2999. Prices should also continue to drop as content providers create 8K content on a larger scale and consumers have access to a large library of 8K titles.


What new technologies in television are coming in the near future?

Probably the most game-changing technology that will be coming to the television marketplace in the near future is MicroLED, which offers the millions-of-pixels image depth of OLED, but with superior brightness and far less chance of “burn-in,” where pixels become permanently displayed in one color regardless of the image being shown.



STAT: As of 2021, 44% of consumers had a 4K/UltraHD television, up from only 31% in 2019. (source)

STAT: 8K resolution boasts 16 times the detail of 1080p or standard HD (source)

STAT: The average US household has 2.5 television sets (source)

Jed Smith

I'm a musician and recording engineer and live in Queens. I have a cat. Her name is Elsa. I love to write about consumer tech and musical instruments.

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