A few people at CES this year were showing off 4K LCD TVs, which are four times the standard HD resolution that we're all used to by now. Yawn. Sharp, on the other hand, has an 8K LCD, which is sixteen times HD. It's glorious.
An 8K TV is the equivalent of sixteen standard "high def" televisions all smooshed together, which sort of makes standard HD seem piddly by comparison. Every frame that Sharp's proof-of-concept display shows is a whopping 33 megapixels, and although they wouldn't specify the framerate, it was at least 60 hertz, meaning that you're seeing like two gigs of image data every second playing across the screen.
At 85 inches, the TV is a monster, but the 7680x4320 resolution is so high that you can peer into the picture to see even more detail than you get from watching at a comfortable distance. In other words, if you were sitting on the couch watching this thing, you'd want to have a pair of binoculars handy just in case you wanted to see something far off in the image: there's enough detail to actually do that.
This is hard to get across in pictures (especially since the full resolution of my DSLR is only a third of this TV), but Sharp was playing some footage of the space shuttle taking off, and you could practically look in the cockpit windows if you got up real close to the display. Oh, and let me assure you that the screen is most definitely a rectangle, it's just so large that my wide-angle lens distorts it a bit.
And closer up:
Part of the reason that the picture on this TV looks so good is that it's not made up of an expanded resolution Blu-ray or a couple HD cameras stitched together or anything like that. NHK has an 8K native camera system that uses a trio of 33 megapixel sensors to capture ultra-HD images, and they've been carting it around and recording stuff in partnership with people like PBS in preparation for the day when we all have TVs like this.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. All photos by Evan Ackerman for DVICE.