Wednesday, September 23, 2015


   Sharp announced last week the October 30 release of its LV-85001—an 8K beast of a thing measuring in at 85 inches and boasting a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels. Which, if you’re not in the mood to do math, is four times the resolution of the UHD TVs appearing on store shelves these days and a monumental 16 times the resolution of the standard 1080p TVs that most of us still enjoy.

   But don’t freak out.
   The LV-85001 isn’t actually a thing that Sharp expects consumers to buy. It’s aimed at corporate users, museums and the like, and requires four HDMI connections at once just to handle the massive pipeline of data required to put that many pixels on the screen at one time.
   There’s also, of course, the fact that even if you did buy the TV, there isn’t much of anything in the way of 8K content to watch, just yet (although, as CNN Money points out, Google’s “Ghost Towns” is presently playing on YouTube in 8K resolution, so there’s that). Heck, we’re just now getting to the point where 4K video is becoming readily and widely available. But according to Sharp, 8K broadcasts are actually predicted to be a real thing in 2020, so it doesn’t hurt to be ahead of the game.

   Mind you, when that day does come, the LV-85001 itself will be practically obsolete. But don’t think I’m being a sourpuss here. I’m not. Displays like this are actually crucial to the testing of tomorrow’s broadcast technology, so I applaud Sharp for taking a leap of faith.
   As for the actual technology itself, the LV-85001is a liquid crystal display relying on Sharp’s IGZO technology, which, in a way, points toward the strengths and future flexibility of LCD, despite the fact that LCD isn’t always picture-perfect compared with other display types. I can’t honestly imagine doing this sort of thing—at least not yet—with technologies like OLED. And if someone did, I can only imagine what it would cost.
   Speaking of cost, the LV-85001 is slated to sell for 16 million yen, which at current exchange rates equates to right at $134,000 US.

   For more thoughts on this new Sharp 8K TV and what it means now and potentially in the near future, check out CNN Money’s rundown, as well as Engadget’s story, PC Mag’s post, and this more technical write-up from AV Watch in Japan.