Will this perpetual push to press the limits ever end? Perhaps. But probably not anytime soon.
It seems that video camera and television display technologies are hopelessly linked together in a never-ending chicken-and-egg relationship. On the surface, this may cause a degree of frustration to mediaphiles and makers of digital video content. The drive to develop new and improved imaging and display technologies is a continuous race to the top where the sky is the limit. The one-upmanship of these two mutually dependent technologies continues to drive innovation towards better and better resolutions — and ultimately towards lower and lower prices.
At the time of this writing, 4K monitors and camcorders have made their way onto the main-steam consumer scene and prices have already begun to descend, making them accessible to the masses. That sounds like great news for producers shooting and editing at high resolutions. However, at the same time, newer camera technology has already started to reach up to 8K. RED Digital Cinema has introduced two 8K camera options, the HELIUM 8K S35 and the MONSTRO 8K VV. The current prices on these models range from $24,500-$54,500 for the camera sensor ‘brain’ alone — not including essential accessories like a lens or power adapter. While these models are clearly targeted top-of-the-food-chain professionals and early adopters, 8K is already here. It’s only a matter of time before 8K monitors follow. For now, although some can shoot in 8K, no one can watch 8K. There are no 8k monitors currently available.
Of course, there is a notable lag between the introduction of the newest advancements in camera technology at the highest level and the widespread availability of those same advancements at the consumer level. The primary separation being one of time, and time alone.
Way back in 1965, Gordon Moore of Intel famously observed that there was a predictable exponential increase in the number of transistors that could be contained within one square inch. His prediction was that processor power would double every two years. This factual phenomenon would thereafter become known as Moore’s law. And it has held true. We have seen increasingly complex technological advancements rapidly rise over the last decade. With the introduction of 5G, you can be sure that the Internet of Things will once again set the bar at a new height that, within the next decade, will change our world in ways that most of us cannot even imagine today.
Of course, another question one might ask is whether the human eye can even appreciate resolutions higher than 8K. If not, at what point do the limitations of the human eye cause technology companies to say ‘good enough’? Will this perpetual push to press the limits ever end? Perhaps. But probably not anytime soon.
By the time the monitor people catch up with 8K displays, the camera people will be introducing something even better.