8K TV is far from high quality and low price, but it is also short of chips, computing power and film sources

  Our reporter Jinfeng

  An 8K TV is a TV with a screen image of 8K resolution. Each frame of an 8K TV contains about 33 million pixels, which is 4 times that of a 4K TV.

In addition, it also has high dynamic lighting rendering, and its rich color range includes existing colors in nature and other artificial colors, which is the highest standard of current TV industry technology.

  Xue Bing

  Director of Technical Management Department of Jiangsu Radio and Television General Station

  In mid-January, the 2021 International Consumer Electronics Show will be held online, and 8K TV has become the darling in the field of audio-visual intelligent products.

Well-known TV brands such as Sony, Hisense, TCL, and Skyworth frequently "show their muscles", showcasing new 8K TV products or display technology and chip technology that support 8K output.

  Although 8K TV is popular among many industry leaders.

However, for 8K enthusiasts, the dream of owning a good-quality and inexpensive 8K TV may not come into reality so quickly.

Although there is no lack of support for the development of the ultra-high-definition industry at home and abroad, the implementation of 8K still faces market-oriented choices.

According to the analysis by researchers from Deloitte, a well-known management consulting agency, factors such as lack of content, high costs, and consumers' difficulty in distinguishing between 8K and 4K video, make 8K TV "unlikely to achieve significant development in 2021."

  However, this has not affected the industry's confidence in the layout of the 8K industry.

In an interview with a reporter from the Science and Technology Daily recently, experts said that 8K technology and products have broad application prospects in large-scale events, immersive entertainment, aerospace, precision medical and other fields, but before that, they have to experience breakthroughs in the research and development of core devices and the industry chain. The cultivation and maturity.

Limited by equipment, 8K video sources are scarce

  "8K resolution means that there are 7680 pixels in each row in the horizontal direction and 4320 pixels in each column in the vertical direction. An 8K TV is a TV with a screen image of 8K resolution. Each frame of TV image contains about 33 million pixels, which is a 4K TV. In addition, it also has high dynamic light rendering (HDR), and its rich color range includes existing colors in nature and other artificial colors, which is the highest standard of current TV industry technology." Xue Bing, director of the technical management department, told reporters.

  According to Xia Jun, a professor at the School of Electronic Science and Engineering of Southeast University, “Currently, the display technology supporting 8K TV is gradually maturing and entering the market. However, the popularization of 8K TV is facing the problem of lack of video sources, mainly in shooting, coding, etc. The field still lacks technology, equipment and content support. If there is no 8K content, no matter how good 8K TV is, it is difficult to find a place to use it."

  The lack of 8K content first originates from the limitations of 8K video capture equipment.

Beijing Radio and Television Station Zhu Jiang and Chai Yan pointed out in the article "Domestic 8K Ultra HD Development and Prospects for IPTV Landing" that 8K cameras have developed rapidly since 2012. NHK, RED, Hitachi, Canon, Sony, and Panasonic have all launched 8K camera systems. .

However, 8K cameras are expensive, and uncompressed 8K video occupies a large storage space, which limits the popularization of 8K devices for civilian use. Currently, they are only used by national television stations or large film and television production companies.

  Xue Bing said: "The brightness, color, and gray level of each pixel in 8K images are much more complicated than 4K resolution, so the amount of information processing is greater. Just the camera's CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) image processor For optical lenses, the real picture will be distorted after entering the lens, especially the edge of the image will be deformed. It is necessary to use distortion calibration technology for image correction, and then use digital signal processing technology to convert the optical signal into a digital signal to become an 8K image In the past, when producing SD and HD images, the image pixels were low and it was easier to correct by algorithms, but now the amount of information stored on the same imaging area has increased sharply, and there is a lot of information that needs to be supplemented and corrected. This is a problem for imaging devices. higher requirement."

Want to be more popular, chips and computing power need to be improved

  Image acquisition solves the conversion from optical signals to electrical signals, but this is only one aspect of 8K video display technology.

Xue Bing believes that in more usage scenarios, 8K video images need to be transmitted, stored, and recorded. To successfully complete these tasks, the current chip development and computing power still need to be improved.

  According to data, an 8K video with a length of about 1 minute requires 194GB of storage space.

Judging from the data of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 8K video coverage of the event and the recording of 20 minutes of uncompressed ultra-high-definition video take up about 4TB of storage space. Each minute of video takes up approximately 200GB of space, every second The video capacity is 3GB.

  "This means that the amount of codec, audio and video processing, and the amount of information stored has increased. If the processing power of the chip cannot keep up, the system will freeze. For example, if the parallel bandwidth of multithreading is not enough, when 8K screens need to be switched When the time comes, it is difficult to operate." Xue Bing said.

  The broadcast of an 8K film or video program involves 8K video content photography collection, production, broadcast, transmission, terminal and other links.

With the continuous development of 8K technology and its application in major events, all links in the 8K industry chain are gradually improving.

  In terms of ultra-high-definition coding standards, the country has introduced a new generation of AVS3 coding standards, which can support 8K video coding.

Digital Video released a commercial encoder in August 2019, and HiSilicon released an 8K/120P decoder chip based on the AVS3 standard in September 2019, which can provide high-quality, low-code, low-complexity solutions suitable for streaming media applications .

  However, Zhu Jiang and Chai Yan also found that the huge bandwidth required for 8K video limits their application areas, and the profitable business model is not clear. Most 8K encoding equipment manufacturers invest relatively little, and only a few are based on the AVS2/H.265 algorithm. Realize the commercialization of the 8K codec.

  These challenges are also the difficulties and key points to be overcome in the transformation and upgrading of my country's ultra-high-definition television industry.

It is proposed in the "Ultra HD Video Industry Development Action Plan (2019-2022)" (hereinafter referred to as the "Plan") that by 2022, core components such as CMOS image sensors, optical lenses, professional video processing chips, and codec chips must be obtained Breakthrough, 8K front-end core equipment will form an industrialization capability, and the sales of 8K ultra-high-definition TV terminals will account for more than 5% of total TV sales.

Civil use will take time, but the commercial potential is huge

  The lack of natively shot 8K video does not mean that the current 8K content is a wasteland.

Researchers from Deloitte, a world-renowned management consulting firm, analyzed that in the short term, 8K content can be produced through methods such as line-folding technology, re-recording of high-definition content, user-made content, and 8K game consoles.

  "The line scaling system can be built into the TV, using artificial intelligence algorithms and edge computing technology to convert 4K images into 8K images. With the line scaling technology, the TV can independently analyze each frame of image and apply artificial intelligence technology to identify many of them. Then, the doubling engine converts the 4K image to 8K by restoring the edges of the image, repairing compression artifacts, and coloring each pixel as accurately as possible.” Deloitte researchers said.

  However, during the reporter's interview, many experts pointed out that the quality of the image converted through the line-folding technology needs to be gradually improved.

"Upgrading 2K and 4K pixels to 8K, some high-frequency information will be lost, and may not be as delicate as a real 8K image." Xia Jun said.

  How 8K TVs, which have just emerged in the consumer market, have entered the homes of ordinary people in the form of high quality and low price, which has continuously inspired the research and development enthusiasm of Professor Xu Bo of Nanjing University of Science and Technology.

  "Currently, large-size 8K TVs are sold at a market price of 20,000 to 30,000 yuan. How to reduce costs while ensuring high-definition low energy consumption requires continuous innovation in scientific sources and technical processes to develop new ultra-high-definition, low-cost display technologies." Xu Bo said that they are studying ultra-high-definition, ultra-thin, low-cost, large-size flexible display technology, but the research and development have just started, and it may take 10 to 15 years for the technology to mature.

  Xue Bing believes that 8K content has higher resolution, pixels, color gamut and other parameters. Even if it is divided into several pictures, the local definition will be very high, and the presentation of details will be vivid and rich, and it will have a broad field in many fields. Application scenarios.

  "For example, in the fields of landscape display, large-scale competitions, space exploration, archaeological excavations, and historical data retention, 8K display technology helps us to retain some precious image data for subsequent observation and analysis; in the medical field, such delicate eye surgery In surgery, doctors can use 8K video to zoom in on capillaries that are difficult to distinguish directly by the naked eye; 8K display technology is applied to face recognition, and the recognition accuracy will be higher. "For the future application of 8K technology, Xue Bing is confident Full.

  "8K TVs, and even higher-resolution 16K TVs, will have an important application scenario in the future is three-dimensional display. The current mainstream three-dimensional light field display technology converts two-dimensional pixel arrays into information at different angles, and image resolution will appear. The problem of lowering rate. 8K and 16K ultra-high-resolution display technologies just make up for the problem of low 3D display resolution. Japanese JDI company has demonstrated a 3D light field display based on 8K resolution, and the viewing angle of 3D image content exceeds 100°. It is foreseeable that 8K TV will drive the development of new 3D industrial technologies, including 3D video collection, 3D video compression and transmission, 3D display and interaction, etc." Xia Jun said.