4K TVs are everywhere at CES. 2014 is supposed to be the year 4K explodes — seriously. But who needs or even wants 4K when Sharp's 8K TV is sixteen times sharper than HD? This year's upgrade: glasses-free 3D that makes 3D look stupendous.
Every year since 2012, Sharp trots out its 8K TV and installs it at its CES booth. Like flies to a zap trap, swarms of attendees always stop to stare — for long periods of time — at the massive 85-inch 8K TV. It's impossible not to get lost in its 7,680 x 4,320 resolution screen. Looking at its picture is literally like looking at real life — only it's isn't; just really sharp video with incredible detail.
While most TV makers have started shunning 3D and glasses-free 3D in favor of 4K TVs, Sharp apparently didn't get the trend memo. Its newest 85-inch 8K glasses-free 3D TV is another one of those crazy prototypes that will likely never get released because it would cost way too much. Let us put that into perspective, the first 4K TVs in 85-inch sold for $25,000. Now, can you imagine how much an 8K TV with glasses-free 3D would sell for? The figure is too high for us to even count.
A few years ago, before 3D TVs started to sizzle, we made the case for why 3D TVs failed. Here's the quick version: when stereoscopic 3D is flipped on, the number of vertical pixels is halved, while horizontal resolution remains the same — to send pixels to each eye. So a 1080p resolution gets downgraded to a 540p resolution when viewing 3D content. And a 720p video feed gets downgraded to 360p. That's why you sometimes see all those sharp edges (I call them "jaggies") on poorly done 3D. It just looks bad.
With 4K UHD's 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, 3D pictures show up in 1080p (half the vertical lines) and 3D actually looks good; it's actually high definition 3D.
But, on an 8K TV, 3D content displays in 4K resolution, which is just overkill in clarity for the human eyes. The 3D picture on Sharp's 8K TV is so fantastically life-like that we're willing to give 3D another shot when in the future when we're all rocking 8K resolution TVs.
However, the one thing that plagues current glasses-free 3D TVs is still an issue on Sharp's glasses-free 8K 3D TV: viewing angles. Like the Nintendo 3DS, and all of the other glasses-free 3D TVs available, there is a "sweet spot" for the best viewing experience: the center. On Sharp's glasses-free 8K 3D TV, you need to stand dead center and line up two little white lines located below the screen (see photo below) to hit that perfect viewing spot. If you veer to the left or right, the picture becomes distorted, although it's not as harsh as on other glasses-free 3D TVs.
In other words: Sharp's 8K glasses-free 3D TV is ah-mazing. It really is. We wish a video could show you how stunning it is, but it's impossible to capture. Someday, our kids or grandkids will have jaw-dropping 8K 3D TVs (curved glasses-free 8K 3D TVs?) and laugh at our pathetic 1080p and 4K TVs. We're already getting jealous just thinking about it.
Posted on location at CES 2014. All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.