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HANDS ON: Panasonic ultra-high definition 8k TVs

Tom Morgan
29 Aug 2012
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Incredible 8K high resolution plasma leads Panasonic IFA showcase

Panasonic has always been at the forefront of TV technology, so it should come as no surprise that the company trotted out its prototype Ultra High Vision 8k plasma TV at this year’s IFA show.

Created in partnership with Japanese broadcaster NHK, itself a pioneer of all things high definition, the as yet unnamed prototype was briefly shown at CES and put on show for the London Olympics but today marks the first opportunity we’ve had to take a close look at the impressive technology.

Panasonic UHD TVs

With sixteen times the pixel count of a Full HD TV, the 7,860x4,320 resolution produces incredible, even spread across a mammoth 145 inches. You would need an absolutely huge room to accommodate a set of this size, as numbers alone don’t do it justice – it’s as tall as a full-grown man and wider than the average sofa.

Evan at this size, native resolution images were absolutely pin-sharp, to the point that our camera simply couldn’t pick out the detail from behind the line Panasonic had set up to stop grubby-handed journalists from getting too close to the screen. Intricate details such as feathers, leaves and fur are preserved, unlike in 1080p images where they are lost to compression and resolution limitations.

Panasonic UHD TVs

our camera pixellates before we can see the pixels on this

As it’s based on existing plasma technology, a field Panasonic is something of an expert in, images were unsurprisingly vibrant, with vivid colours that leapt off the screen. In a dark room, the image was also startlingly bright, not something plasma screens are famed for. Even with Panasonic’s current war on all things unenvironmentally-friendly, we would still hate to think how much power one of these sets might use.

We also managed to spend some time with Panasonic’s also unreleased 20in 4K panels. Even up close, it was impossible to spot individual pixels, making for some astonishingly sharp images. Text was readable even in very small fonts, with the same legibility as a printed page. Better yet, each screen used an IPS panel, so viewing angles were spectacular. Whether Panasonic sold these as TVs or computer monitors, we wouldn’t hesitate to snap one up – although we’d shudder to think of the cost.

Panasonic UHD TVs

Finally, a 100in glasses-free 3D display was also on show – it appeared to be using a lenticular system that worked surprisingly well, even as we walked from one side of the show floor to the other. It was displaying 1080p content, so didn’t have quite the same impact as the ultra high definition sets sat opposite, but Panasonic expects the system to make its way into billboard adverts in the very near future.

3D glasses free Panasonic

Realistically, 8K technology is a long way from making its way into homes – after all, we’re still waiting for a 4K video standard – so it should come as no surprise that there’s no indication as to what a set like this might cost, but it’s certainly exciting to see what’s around the corner.

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