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8K Association Director on SDVoE Live! Series

In January this year, the Software-Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE) Alliance ran episode 5 of their live video series with special guest – our very own – Chris Chinnock, 8K Association executive director.

The SDVoE platform is all about enabling great AV user experiences. The industry body describes itself as “a dedicated group of pro AV manufacturers, system designers, integrators, and technology managers working together to accelerate the replacement of point-to-point connectivity and the matrix switch with Ethernet-based AV distribution.”

As you’d expect, this episode was about the 8K revolution in ProAV, and you can watch it on YouTube here.

To register and access the “after-show,” go here: https://sdvoe.org/live-register/, then after some arduous navigation – requiring a logout log-back-in – you can get to the Q&A “after-session”.

In it, hard questions were addressed, such as whether viewers can honestly tell the difference between 4K and 8K or whether realism is the ultimate goal of better video.

This no-nonsense show asks why after all the stress of moving from HD to 4K, we need to head now to 8K.

The link between 8K and HDMI 2.1 was hammered home with plenty of under-the-hood examples. For example, the show went into the Fixed Rate Link (FRL) packet-based protocol supported by cat three and higher cables requiring at least four pairs of wires or “lanes” for data.

HDMI 2.1 is defined as a suite of optional elements, so compatibility to this latest version might be subject to some interpretation as it will not always be simple to determine which parts are supported. The show also discussed other features like the Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) or the Display Stream Compression (DSC) technologies required to surpass the current 48Gbps HDMI limit in what was presented as a complex transition from 4K to 8K.

Chris was welcomed on with the curveball question of better pixels vs. more pixels. He quickly brushed it aside as a false controversy. Indeed, ALL pixels are better in an 8K environment, and you get more of all of these better pixels.

In line with last week’s op-ed on 8K technology adoption rates, Chris reminded the audience that in every transition from SD to 720p to 1080p to 4k, and now to 8K, starting from the introduction of a new resolution, it consistently takes seven years to reach 50% of TV sales. During that time, the many elements needed to accompany the rise in resolution (storage, transport, post, etc.) catch up at different speeds. So capture and display are often first, with some parts of production and distribution being ready a bit later.

Focusing on ProAV in particular, Chris saw signage as an example where growing canvas sizes create a precise need for 8K.

In its first few years, the 8K Association has been more focused on entertainment. It is only now exploring what it can bring to the ProAV ecosystem, where areas such as museums, medical devices, and signage are already embracing 8K.

A common thread of the association’s work in all areas is to lower the fear factor for doing things in 8K.