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The 5 Best Reasons to Avoid an 8K TV Today

The Top 8 Reasons to Avoid Buying an 8K TV in 2023

If you‘re a home theater enthusiast or just looking to upgrade your living room TV, you may be tempted by the allure of 8K – the latest and greatest in TV resolution. 8K TVs boast a staggering 7680 x 4320 pixels, offering 4 times the resolution of today‘s 4K models. That‘s over 33 million pixels packed into the display!

However, before you rush out to drop several grand on a shiny new 8K TV, there are some important factors to consider. As a tech expert and TV connoisseur, I‘m here to share the top 8 reasons why you should avoid buying an 8K television in 2023. By the end, you‘ll have a clearer picture of whether the jump to 8K is worth it for you.

First, a quick history lesson. While 8K may sound cutting-edge, the technology has actually been in development for decades. Japanese broadcaster NHK kicked off 8K research all the way back in 1995. The format‘s first public demos happened in the early 2010s before Sharp released the pioneer consumer 8K TV in Japan in 2015.

Other major brands hopped on the bandwagon over the following years. But even today, 8K TVs make up a small fraction of the overall TV market. Ahead, I‘ll break down the key reasons why 8K remains more of a tech showcase than a living room mainstay. Let‘s dive in!

  1. Sky-High Prices
    The number one obstacle for most would-be 8K TV buyers is the sticker price. 8K TVs command a serious premium over their 4K counterparts. While you can find a fantastic 65-inch 4K model for $1000-1500, stepping up to an equivalent 8K set will cost you $3500 or more. And that‘s on the "low end" for 8K.

Flagship 8K models from top brands like Samsung and Sony can easily run you $5000-8000+, especially for screens 75 inches and above where 8K is more common. Unless you have a spare bedroom full of cash to burn, it‘s hard to justify spending 2-4x more for 8K versus a great 4K TV. The extra pixels simply aren‘t worth the exorbitant cost for most folks.

  1. Lack of Native 8K Content
    So you‘ve just mortgaged your house to buy that 85" 8K behemoth. Surely you‘ll be rewarded with a vast selection of stunning 8K movies and shows to enjoy, right? Wrong. Probably the single biggest downside of 8K TVs today is the severe lack of any 8K content to actually watch on them.

Unlike the 4K revolution, which saw a huge push from streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ to offer 4K HDR content, there are currently zero movies or TV shows you can stream in 8K. YouTube has a small selection of 8K video clips, but they are mostly amateurish stuff like nature B-roll, not studio content.

The same goes for physical 8K media – it simply doesn‘t exist yet. There are no 8K Blu-rays and likely won‘t be for years given how long it took 4K Blu-rays to gain traction. Without any meaningful way to watch true 8K content, you‘re essentially paying for a minor upscaling benefit on a 4K signal. Not a great value proposition.

  1. Early Adopter Blues
    Whenever an exciting new technology hits the market, there‘s always a strong temptation to be an early adopter and buy the first wave of products. After all, you get to enjoy the latest and greatest before everyone else and show off your cutting-edge gear. But being an early adopter also comes with risks.

With 8K TVs still in their relative infancy as a consumer product, you‘re more likely to encounter issues than with a mature 4K set. Panel lottery is a big one – due to lower production yields and quality control, the chances of receiving an 8K TV with some sort of uniformity issue, dead pixels, or vignetting are higher.

You also have to worry about potential software bugs or compatibility quirks that haven‘t been ironed out yet. The first generations of 4K TVs, for example, often had HDMI 2.0 ports that ended up being problematic for 4K/60 signals. With 8K being so new, it‘s harder to get a read on long-term reliability.

Early adopter premiums are also a real concern with 8K sets. The same way 4K TV prices fell dramatically in the first few years, 8K models are destined to get much cheaper as the technology matures and production scales up. Buying an 8K TV today is guaranteeing that you‘ll overpay compared to waiting a while.

  1. Massive Sizes Only
    One of the great things about 4K TVs today is the immense range of sizes available. You can find everything from a 40" bedroom TV to a 85" home theater centerpiece to fit your needs. 8K TVs, by contrast, are almost exclusively offered in very large sizes of 75 inches and above.

If you have a smaller space or simply don‘t want a jumbo screen that dominates your room, 8K is basically off the table. The smallest 8K TV on the market now is a 65" model from Samsung, but it‘s very hard to find and still costs as much as the 75" version. 8K is really designed for giant 85-100"+ screens.

This makes sense on a technical level. The higher the resolution, the larger the screen needs to be for you to actually perceive the extra detail at normal viewing distances. 4K already looks incredibly sharp on sub-65" screens, so 8K is overkill for anything but the most expansive setups.

  1. Diminishing Returns
    Speaking of perceivable detail, this is arguably the main reason to hold off on 8K. While an 8K TV has 4x the raw pixel count of a 4K display, that absolutely does not translate to a 4x increase in visible sharpness or clarity for real-world content.

That‘s because there are diminishing returns when it comes to cramming more and more pixels into a screen. Going from standard 1080p HD to 4K provides an enormous leap in apparent resolution. Fine details like hair, clothing textures, and background elements take on new levels of clarity.

But the jump from 4K to 8K is much less pronounced, especially at typical seating distances. You really need a very large screen (likely 85"+) and to sit quite close to perceive the added detail of 8K over a good 4K TV in most content. And even then, we‘re talking about a subtle rather than dramatic improvement.

For smaller screens in the 55-75" range where most people buy, a high-quality 4K set will look virtually identical to an 8K model, making the extra cost very hard to justify. After a certain point, factors like HDR, contrast, and color matter far more for picture quality than resolution alone.

  1. Bandwidth Barriers
    The incredibly massive file sizes and bandwidth required for 8K also create issues for actually delivering 8K content to TVs. To stream 8K with good quality, you would need a consistent internet connection in the 50-200 Mbps range. That‘s simply not feasible for a large percentage of households.

Even if Netflix or other major streamers started offering 8K (which is doubtful in the near term), many viewers would be unable to reliably stream it based on their internet speeds. Downloads would take ages and many would be forced to opt for lower resolutions anyway to avoid buffering.

On the physical media side, the storage needs for 8K are immense. A single 8K movie would likely require a 200-300 GB disc based on current compression tech. Fitting more than 1-2 films on a disc would be impractical, making the distribution costs of 8K Blu-rays prohibitively expensive for now.

  1. No 8K Ecosystem
    Even if you‘re lucky enough to have a lightning-fast internet connection or are willing to pony up for pricey 8K Blu-rays, another big problem remains – there‘s no 8K ecosystem of devices and content to actually take advantage of your fancy new 8K TV.

At least with 4K, you have a plethora of streaming devices like the Apple TV 4K, Roku Ultra, and Amazon Fire Stick 4K to get 4K content onto your TV. For disc lovers, 4K Blu-ray players from the likes of Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung are readily available, not to mention 4K gaming consoles.

None of that exists for 8K. There are no 8K streaming boxes, Blu-ray players, or game systems on the market. Even the latest PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles top out at 4K. Without a way to feed your 8K TV a pure 8K signal, you‘re stuck in the land of upscaling which is never ideal.

Building out a robust 8K ecosystem will take years, if it ever truly happens at all. By the time 8K devices and content are available at scale, your 8K TV purchase today will likely be outdated or nearing the end of its lifespan anyway. It‘s a bit of a catch-22.

  1. Display Tech Is More Important
    The last big reason I recommend skipping 8K for now is that display technology is far more important for picture quality than pixel count. A mediocre 8K LCD panel will look worse than a high-end 4K OLED or mini-LED TV every day of the week, period.

OLED has perfect blacks, infinite contrast, and gorgeous colors that blow away traditional LED LCDs. Mini-LED adds thousands of local dimming zones for dramatically better HDR and black levels vs standard LCDs. Both deliver incredible picture quality even at "only" 4K resolution.

So what should you buy instead of an 8K TV? If you want the absolute best image quality and have a flexible budget, opt for a flagship 4K OLED from LG or Sony. Models like the LG C2 or Sony A95K are stunning and offer near-flawless pictures that will wow you far more than a few extra pixels.

For a balance of performance and price, a high-end 4K mini-LED TV like the Samsung QN90B or TCL 6-Series is an excellent choice. You‘ll get super bright HDR highlights, deep blacks, and quantum dot color for a fantastic viewing experience. Both are a fraction of the cost of a comparable 8K set.

Even a good budget or mid-range 4K TV will serve you much better than overspending for 8K in most cases. Something like the Hisense U6H or TCL 5-Series will delivery a sharp, colorful 4K picture with Dolby Vision and solid smart features for well under $1000 at 65". Pair it with a nice soundbar and you‘ll be set.

The bottom line is that while 8K sounds impressive on paper, it simply isn‘t worth buying into for the vast majority of folks in 2023. The prices are sky-high, the content is non-existent, and the real-world benefits over a great 4K TV are minimal at best for most viewing situations.

My advice? Stick to a high-performance 4K model for now and enjoy the cutting-edge display tech that‘s already here like OLED and mini-LED. In a few years, 8K will likely be in a much better place in terms of pricing, ecosystem, and content support. But today, it remains an extravagant early adopter tech that isn‘t ready for primetime.