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Ultra-High-Definition: Do You Really Need It?

The current cutting edge of ultra-high-resolution is 8K. Also in this category are QFHD, and 2160p (4K).

Ultra-high-resolution is what you imagine you want in display technology. A clear, crisp picture at potentially enormous scale.

Now who doesn’t want that?

The reality is that ultra-high-resolution is a good match for a limited number of applications/workspaces.

Since 1080p, display resolution has quadrupled - 4K was the quadrupling of 1080p, and now 8K is a quadrupling of 4K. 8K is here and available, but not as broadly as 4K. Beyond the question of who are the early adopters, with this increasingly fine-grain changes in image clarity, just who is likely to need ultra-high-resolution?


The correct resolution you need or have capacity for depends in part on the type of display you use. Ultra-high-resolution 8K content has an aspect ratio of 7680 x 4320 pixels, which means an 18-foot wall would be required for a proper image display.

With LCD displays, size is not the issue. But on smaller screens, the potential selling point of an 8K monitor will be pixel density. But you must ask yourselves whether that ultra-level of clarity, practically indistinguishable from 4k unless you are incredibly close, is worth the time, effort, and spend.


This can certainly change over time, but realistically, very little content is available in 8K ultra-high-resolution. So, this is a situation where you can have exciting capabilities, literally without much to show for it – or on it – as the case may be.

File size of content is another area to consider. The more ultra the resolution, the bigger the file size. Storing, editing and distributing this content can present logistical challenges.This is an area where cost again becomes a factor because processing ultra-high-resolution content is more expensive.

“While an HD screen might run on a single phase of electricity, an 8K screen can easily require multiple 3-phase supplies – which means spending on developing the power supply provision as well as higher electricity bills once the integration is complete”.

Higher resolution screens, and the additional processors needed to support them also generate more heat and can make it necessary to increase your air-conditioning capacity.

Other Considerations:

  • 8K ultra-high-resolution does increase viewing range, so that might be a consideration depending on where and how you use the display.

  • Audio channel – 8K supports 22.2 audio channel, whereas 4K is at 5.1

  • 8K supports frame rate up to 120 Hz progressive

  • Infrastructure – ultra-high-resolution applications may require upgrades in electric service, processing support, even air conditioning. There are wider implications than just getting that crystal-clear image.

We are getting ever closer to bigger experiences in terms of image size and resolution. For applications where this is desirable, where it makes sense, and where it meets the budget, ultra-high-resolution is an exciting potential next step.

But if it doesn’t – maybe there’s a chat to be had to make the best choice?

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