Tue. Jan 18th, 2022


Can you really tell the difference between 4K and 8K in the image for the title article?

Illustration: Benjamin Curie / Gizmodo

Some time ago I realized, very literally, the speed of semi-recent technological advances. My roommate — a gamer — probably got it in his head from another gamer that ’90s video games look best when played on 90s television. This led him to a safe on Craigslist, which helped me climb the stairs. And it was, I tell you, the heaviest fucking thing. I couldn’t believe how heavy the TV was.

In the 25+ years since the debut of that TV and its arrival in my living room, televisions have changed a whole bunch. Now they are all flat, and not particularly heavy. As you might expect, screen technology has also improved dramatically. Some expensive models offer 8K UHD resolution, which is double the previous standard of 4K. Is the picture on this 8K TV really twice as good as 4K? At a certain point in time, is the return on image quality declining? For this week Jizz asks, We have reached a number of experts to find out.


Professor, Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, whose research focuses on visual perception, attention and memory

The obvious answer is that it depends on (1) how big your television is and (2) how far you are watching it. The benefits of 8K will be most easily visible on a very large TV viewed from a short distance They will virtually disappear on a small TV seen from afar. The same is true of current 4K TVs versus 2K TVs (1920 × 1080 pixels, aka “1080p”), they work better with larger TVs seen at relatively short distances.

Professor, Vision and Computational Neuroscience, MIT

Let’s deal with this with some technical details: General visual acuity (which we often refer to as 20/20 vision) corresponds to being able to solve two points separated by a ‘1 minute arc’. What does this mean? One thumb, arm length, about two degrees wide, and one degree 60 minutes. This means that if you draw 120 evenly spaced dots in a line across the width of your thumb, you will only be able to see the individual dots at arm’s length. You will be unable to tell the difference between a dotted line and a continuous one at any greater viewing distance, or with more dots. If we translate this calculation into a TV, it appears that when viewed from a distance of five feet for a 60 “wide screen, our resolution limit is 4K. At this distance, we will be able to tell the difference between HD and 4K, but say 4K (say, 8K). To separate the 4K screen from the 8K screen we need to go directly to the TV (an unusual thing). So, unless one is planning to have a really big screen, or plan to watch TV from very close Doing so, 4K is plentiful. Up to 8K (4K) steps will be unnoticed in most living room setups.

Assistant Professor, Optometry and Optics, University of California, Berkeley

We are faced with situations that push the limits of what our eyes can see. Maybe you had trouble reading the short text on the food label or you had trouble recognizing a friend’s face in the crowd. Although the human visual system is remarkable, it has an array of limitations that effectively obscure certain aspects of the world. When it comes to display design, understanding these limitations is essential to understanding whether one display will look better than another.

The difference between an 8K television and a previous generation display is that the number of pixels increases. In modern television displays, individual tiny pixels are arranged side by side on a grid. Each pixel in this grid emits a color spot, which together creates the images you see on your television. When you watch your favorite show, you want to see these images in high detail without being distracted by individual pixels. That is, you want the images to be lively but the pixels to be invisible.

Will an 8K television improve this situation? It depends on a lot of things, such as display contrast, how big each pixel is, and how far you want to look — it even depends on the image you are looking at and how fast that image is changing. For example, if you watch a television from a distance, each pixel smaller than your visual system, the pixels will disappear whether the display is 4K, 8K, or 100K pixels wide. If you take out some measuring tape and remember your trigonometry, you can easily count the number of pixels per visual degree for your own viewing setup. If you’re already above 60 pixels per degree, you won’t see improvement with an 8K television of the same size (for reference, a visual degree is equal to the width of your thumb at arm’s length). On the other hand, a display with more pixels enables you to see more detail when viewing a larger area if the panel is large in principle or if you want to view from close up. This assumes, of course, that the original recording has 8K resolution or higher.

Increasing the number of pixels can certainly be an advantage, but the details of how you look, what you see, and where you look from will ultimately determine what the visible advantage is to you.

Martin S. Banks

Professor, Optometry, Optics, Neuroscience, and Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

There are 7 recommendations for the resolution of TV display, cell phone, etc. These recommendations are usually based on one thing, which is that the pixels should create a “1 minute arc” or smaller visual angle. “Minute of Arc” is a technical term, and despite “minutes” it does not involve time: only space. Think of a minute arc as a small cone of light coming to the eye. It pixels on the TV screen, and it comes to a point in your eye. The angle that the cone forms from your eyes to the pixels is one minute of pressure. An HD TV has 2,000 pixels from left to right, an UHD TV has 4,000 pixels and here we are talking about 8,000. A lot of people in my field think the “one minute arc” recommendation is flawed – it should be short.

Viewing distance also comes into the equation here. Avoiding some math, it works that if you have a 2K TV (HD) and it’s 3 feet tall, you’ll need to sit 9.3 away or closer to appreciate the resolution; If you’re 20 feet away, there’s no way to tell the difference between your TV and a slightly smaller number of pixels. If you have a 3-foot-tall 4K TV, you need to be about 4.5 feet away or closer to make the difference and no one is sitting so close. Go all the way up to 8K, and now you have to Two feet To appreciate it from your three-foot-television. If you want to take advantage of this you have to be a very rare type of visitor.

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