Today a friend of mine bought their first 4k TV — something I gather is quite popular this holiday season. But I’m holding out for something even better: 16k.
It’s been said on more than one occasion that for most purposes 8k resolution is “as good as real life.” At least when considering resolution alone this does appear to be somewhat truth-y for certain screen sizes and distances. So does that mean that 16k resolution is twice as good as real life? Can our eyeballs even appreciate such high resolutions? I’m betting they can, and even though it may seem unlikely now, I think most of us will eventually own 16k displays.
Admittedly, at the present time 4k resolution remains the gold standard in HD, and for most screen sizes today, at the distances you usually view them, 4k offers exceptional clarity. 8k will almost certainly be the next big thing, but as ExtremeTech argued, 8k will only be perceptibly better than 4k if viewing relatively large screens at close range, such as a 65″ screen at four feet.
I agree that for right now even 8k screens sound ridiculous. I mean, who wants to sit within four feet of a 65″ screen anyway? But I think it’s easy to underestimate just how ubiquitous high resolution screens may become. Even in the home, I can easily see entire walls eventually dedicated to OLED screens or other similar technology. These giganto-screens wouldn’t necessarily be used entirely for entertainment either; they could be used to display live panoramic views of the Mediterranean or a cabin on Lake Tahoe. They could do this in addition to displaying news or weather reports on embedded sub-screens.
And, of course, there is VR, where immersion depends heavily on resolution. Most agree that we have only scratched the surface in terms of what we’ll eventually be able to do with VR. But this brave new frontier requires immense graphics processing power, and we might in fact see slower advancements in this area as we reach the limits of Moore’s Law.
So perhaps 16k won’t be “better than real life”, but I can certainly imagine VR in particular offering enhanced or augmented visual realities that may be preferred to “vanilla” reality. And even outside VR, 16k can come awfully close to matching real life, allowing powerful immersive experiences to become commonplace.