You’ll probably never own LG’s 88-inch 8K OLED TV, and that’s OK
It should be a stunner, but don’t worry about adopting 8K any time soon.
CES, the tech industry’s biggest annual trade show, kicks off next week, which means it’s time for various gadget makers to start teasing their most striking announcements. LG has already partaken in this process, and this week, its LG Display subsidiary furthered the pre-show hype by announcing a new 88-inch OLED TV panel with a super-sharp 8K resolution, which it will showcase at the event.
To put that jargon in simpler terms: beyond being very large, this panel should have the infinite contrast ratio and deep colors of LG’s existing (and excellent) OLED TV panels and four times as many pixels as the already-crisp 4K TVs that have just recently fallen to mainstream prices. Officially, the new TV’s resolution measures at 7680 x 4320, which is twice the vertical resolution and twice the horizontal resolution of a typical 4K panel.
LG only talked up the display itself in a press release. So while the panel is likely to be used in a future OLED TV set, the company did not disclose any details related to price, a release timeline, or any further technical details. LG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
That isn’t much of a surprise, though. CES is a haven for these sorts of absurdly high-end-yet-impractical sets, and TV makers have been showcasing 8K panels at trade shows like CES for years, mainly to nudge the market’s needle forward (and produce articles like this). Don’t be shocked if similarly extravagant TVs are unveiled from other manufacturers at CES. Plus, if LG’s new set ever does reach store shelves, it will likely cost as much as a new Miata; LG currently sells a 77-inch OLED TV that’s only 4K for a whopping $20,000.
The use of OLED tech should be a bit more pleasing to the eye than most of those past ultra-premium sets. And as LG notes, since OLED is self-emissive and doesn’t require a backlight, it should also allow giant sets like this to be thinner and consume less power. Still, 4K already borders on overkill for many living room setups, chews up more bandwidth to stream, and isn’t swimming in native content. That last point is certainly improving, but 8K would only exacerbate those concerns for an increase in sharpness that isn’t really visible unless you buy a massive display or sit extremely close to a decent-sized screen.
That said, even if most sane people don’t need to worry about adopting 8K any time soon, it is clearly the next stop on the treadmill. Last year, for instance, Japan’s NHK rolled out the world’s first 8K TV broadcasts (albeit on an extremely limited basis) with the goal of wider adoption by 2020 (albeit tied to a major national event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics). Sony and Panasonic have said they plan to introduce 8K TVs by 2020, too. If nothing else, the push for sets like LG’s should eventually further drive down the cost of today’s premium TV tech, which is a win.