8K at IFA – A Review
The IFA show was much quieter this year than it has been in the past and two big TV brands in Europe, Sony and Philips, only attended to talk to dealers, not to show their products. However, there were some 8K products to see.
There are rarely many new TVs at IFA – most of the new models for the year are shown first at CES and at this time of year, the focus of most of the brands and their channels is on planning for the Q4 boost in demand rather than showing new sets which might not be available for the holiday season.
But There Were 8K Sets…
Samsung was promoting the benefits of 8K sets to journalists in its private Innovation Room. It had a strong emphasis on the Neo QLED miniLED LCD technology sets which are available in bigger sizes with 8K, but there were no new 8K sets shown at the event. The company had two QD OLED sets on view (but they are 4K) and also an impressive range of direct view LED TVs down to 79″ diagonal, but again only in 4K. On the booth, the firm was playing some of the 8K Lord of the Rings trailer that it is promoting with Prime Video.
LG also had its 8K QNED LCD TVs and the 88″ 8K Signature OLED that it is shipping already. The firm showed the 97″ OLED that was recently shown at the IMID conference in Korea and although this was rumoured to be an 8K set, it was just a 4K panel. We had talked to LG Display just a couple of weeks before about the panel and they had confirmed it was 4K. That’s a shame as a 97″ panel really needs 8K unless you are viewing it from a long way back, but this highlights the challenges of making 8K panels for OLED makers.
(Just as an aside. When I’m not sure about something like this, I take a photo of the display with my business card. I know that the logo is around 21mm tall, so on the LG booth I counted 39 pixels giving around 47 ppi. I know that a 97″ 3840 x 2160 16:9 set is 45.4 ppi, so that little exercise confirmed it!)
TCL had 8K front and center of its booth as it promoted its miniLED TVs. We talked to Marek Maciejwski who runs the TV business in Europe who said he is happy to promote 8K but finds that Europeans are less keen on the really large sets that are popular in other regions such as China and the US and that really need 8K. On that topic, we met Paul Gray of Omdia in the media office and he told us that the second largest 8K TV brand in the world, behind Samsung, is Changhong of China. In previous years, the firm has been at IFA but apart from TCL, the big Chinese TV brands stayed away in 2022.
Vestel had a 65″ 8K set to show that it could make them. The firm sells under its own brand in Turkey but also makes around 10 million sets a year for other people. As most of its products are mainstream or low-end rather than in the premium segment, it is not currently mass producing 8K sets.
8K Other Than in TVs
When I saw that JVC Kenwood was at the show, I was really looking forward to a demonstration of the firm’s 8K D-ILA projector which has recently received glowing reviews. Sadly, the firm’s German projection specialist, who I have met at many IFAs, retired earlier this year and has not yet been replaced. Because of that, the firm decided not to have the set in operation, but just to display it. I can confirm that it looks like a projector!
In the IFA Next hall which is full of new ventures and R&D groups, I found Kanda from Shenzen, China. The firm was showing its Qoocam 8K360 degree camera which can live stream the data with 12 bit RAW image quality at 30fps, allowing a very high quality video stream. There are many uses cases in security and industry and the firm told us that the cost is around €2,000. A larger and even higher resolution 360 degree camera that the firm had for high end applications reminded the writer of a camera developed by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. “Oh, yes”, said Kanda, “We use their engine”.
So I enjoyed my quest of looking for and at 8K at IFA – but it’s really not the best place to find a lot of new products – watch out for CES 2023!