8k display

Is it time to look to 8K displays for your digital signage?

With 8K displays now entering the market, should you be an early adopter, or is it still too early?

You’ve got your sales messages sorted out, you have your stop-them-dead visuals, you’ve invested in the reliable software that brings it all together, now all you have to do is to find the display screen that will do your digital signage the justice it deserves.

And that’s where it can get difficult. Do you plump for tried and tested screens or do you go for the brand new cutting-edge, attention-grabbing technology designed to wow your customers? It’s a problem, as you need to balance the cost of your display screen/projector with the potential impact you want to make, but you also need to get it right as the competition is fierce.

This is because traditionally it is digital signage in the form of video walls or electronic billboards where we see the first adoption of screens offering ever better clarity and resolution. It is here that new technology is embraced by advertisers and promoters to win the battle to make the most impactful, legible and high definition advertising or point-of-sale promotion.

The latest ultra-high display technology being bandied about as the future for digital displays is 8K. That’s 4 times the resolution of a 4K TV (one with over 4,000 pixels, as opposed to the typical full HD 1080p television screen you probably have in your house, which has 1920 x 1080). You can see the difference in scale here:

8k display

Is it time for 8K displays?
It’s a very new technology. It was only in 2014 that an 8K display was demonstrated  at CES, but that wasn’t a commercial model as to produce it would give it a price label in the hundreds of thousands of pounds. Roll forward to September this year and Sharp has already released an 8K 85-inch 7,680 x 4,320 pixel TV at the bargain price of £86,000! However, as we all know, those prices will quickly tumble, and even if not, the impact of that screen could pay for itself quite quickly.

The panel size  is impressive: at about 7ft long it is genuinely large enough to replace a shop window or billboard display and clear enough to display easily legible poster text on it. The panel’s contrast ratio is 100,000:1 with viewing angles of 176 degrees and it offers up 104 pixels per inch, perfect if you have small text or details you want your customers to read while standing close to the screen. That’s a vibrant punch being offered up to capture your customer’s attention.

However, you will also need to capture 8K footage, and 8K cameras don’t come cheap, in fact, many of them are still in development.

8k display
The Cinema EOS System 8K camera: Canon has one way of capturing the approximately 35.39 million effective pixels needed for 8K

With all this in mind, it may seem a lot to fork out for, when you consider it’s a reasonably unsupported and non-standardised display format, especially when you consider the old saying ‘people like novelty, but they don’t like novelty for long’. However, as 8K televisions aren’t being targeted at home users until at least 2016 (mainly because no one is producing and broadcasting 8K content yet – not until the 2020 Olympics anyway), this means that the clarity and sharpness of the image will be genuinely surprising when first seen – an impact no marketer should ever ignore.

8K: one to watch
It may be a little time before we see 8K display technology commonly on the high street, but don’t dismiss it out of hand, the wow factor offered is sure to be a strong temptation to marketers who are willing to go that extra mile to make a statement. However, with 4K displays now available, and much more affordable, 8K displays are a technology best left for the future once the technology has matured and the price reduced.

Image sources:
Canon and Sharp


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