Sony unveils largest 16K screen

There’s always a bigger fish!

by Andy Bassett Apr 10, 2019 at 11:15 AM


  • As TV viewers start to enjoy 4K resolution on their latest TV purchases, 8K seems a long way off and only for those ‘must-buy-latest-gear’ early adopters. Inevitably, though, these are just stepping stones on technologies endless march to 16K ... and onwards.
    Announced at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, Sony’s latest screen isn’t the first 16K display to be made public but it will stand as the largest when it is fully installed in the city of Yokohama at a research centre belonging to Japanese cosmetics group Shiseido.

    Standing at a neck stretching 17 feet high by 63 feet wide (5.4m x 19.2m), its gigantic size means that it will stretch between two floors - essentially, it’s as high as a house!

    The display contains 16 times the number of pixels than a 4K TV (or 64 times as many as a 1080p high definition TV for the many viewers that still use one) and the details enabled by this pixel density means that a viewer can stand right in front of the unit without the image looking blurred (dodgy eyes notwithstanding).

    Sony’s previous example of a 16K screen was unveiled in 2014 at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo. This particular version was made up of numerous, separate units which completed the screen and the images contained within each separate ‘window’ were distinct from the next.

    Sony’s latest is also made up of separate panels but the image appears seamless across them all because the bezel-less modules mean that no join is visible. Sony call this ‘Crystal LED’ and it is their version of Micro-LED technology, currently also being developed by Samsung.

    As with Samsung’s version, the technology does not require backlighting, and the brightness available exceeds that of OLED TVs, quoted as up to 1000 cd/m2, whilst delivering matching black levels. It can also support a maximum refresh rate of 120 fps. The modular approach means a screen can be added to, rather than replaced, when space and finances allow. So, potentially, the enormous screen on show in Japan may eventually be replicated on an entire wall in a room.

    As the technology continues to be refined, expect its use in the business and entertainment worlds before it reaches consumer markets.

    The BBC quoted David Mercer, from Strategy Analytics, as saying, "We're moving slowly towards 8K TVs at the end of the decade and who knows how long it will take to get beyond that, so 16K is likely to be limited to the corporate world for the time being."

    As well as the hardware still being a work in progress, there is also very little native 16K footage available so Sony has created its own for the upcoming screen installation. One method of doing this is using a demosaicing algorithm which reconstructs a full colour image from the incomplete colour sample output from an image sensor overlaid with a colour filter array. In this way, the algorithm can take 8K footage and deduce what information the extra pixels should contain.

    Mercer went on, "But there's no doubt about it. These displays are incredibly impressive in person - even 8K on a big display is almost mesmerising,” adding, “When you get to this resolution it delivers almost a quasi-virtual reality experience as your eyes perceive there to be depth to the content."

    Of course, 16K TVs are some time away and no doubt a 32K screen will be announced well before they are ready for consumers but Sony and Samsung’s Micro LED technologies look like they are going to make the TV market interesting in the future.

    Source: www.bbc.com, www.neowin.net, www.wikipedia.org
    Image Source: Sony, BBC

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