While many folk on all sides of the AV world are still getting to grips with 4K TVs, 8K TVs have actually been a thing since 2019. Carrying four times as many pixels as 4K TVs, you might think they’d have flown off the shelves. In fact, though, 8K TV sales have tanked, making up just 0.15% of 2021’s global TV shipments.
The main reason typically cited for consumers not buying into 8K is the lack of native 8K content. Apart from a few YouTube videos, there really isn’t any true 8K content (outside Japan) for 8K TV buyers to enjoy. Or at least, there wasn’t until satellite broadcaster Sky recently announced that it will soon be streaming the third season of Das Boot in Germany in native 8K.
The latest season of this popular show about a wartime submarine crew has been filmed and mastered in 8K, so lucky Sky subscribers in Germany with compatible 8K TVs will be able to enjoy a true 8K experience. Provided, anyway, that they also have at least 40Mbps of broadband speed, and one of Samsung’s 2020, 2021 or 2022 8K TVs.
A single season of a single show, though, hardly feels like an 8K dam breaking – and there’s no current talk about anything else in the 8K pipeline. In fact, a single release like this reminds us how rare 8K content continues to be years after the first TVs appeared. So Das Boot seems unlikely to move the 8K interest dial much by itself.
Perhaps surprisingly, I think this is a shame. For while Das Boot doesn’t herald an 8K content glut, and while I get that many consumers think 4K is resolution enough, I personally find there’s a case for 8K TVs even without native 8K content. Partly because the AI-inspired processing now used to convert 4K sources to 8K can be remarkably good; partly because in really big screens 8K delivers a smoother picture closer to the way your eye sees the real world; and partly because 8K TVs typically partner their ultra-high resolution with other high-end picture quality features, so 8K becomes just one part of a wider premium experience.
So even if you’re struggling to get worked up about Das Boot in 8K, I’d recommend not summarily scratching all 8K sets off your TV wishlists just yet.