4K video is still in the process of bleeding into the mainstream, but Sharp is looking further ahead, trying to get the ball rolling on an 8K ecosystem. The centerpiece of that ecosystem will be the Aquos 8K Series, a range of TVs and displays launching this year that are 8K-ready and can upscale HD and 4K content.
With a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320, 8K displays boast four times as many pixels as 4K, and 16 times as many as 1080p HD. The technology has been around for a few years now, but prohibitive price tags have left it firmly in the realm of business use and public displays only.
Sharp is calling the Aquos series the "world's first" 8K TVs, and by that it seems to mean these are the first consumer-directed devices to cram in that many pixels. While there isn't much to go on in terms of specs just yet, Sharp has at least detailed the LC-70X500 model, which will go on sale in the Japanese market. This model will sport a 70 in display, an LED backlight, LCD screen and four HDMI ports, and it weighs a hefty 42.5 kg (94 lb).
There's no word yet on just how much they might cost, but it's likely to still be enough to make your eyes water. Even if you do fork out for one, 8K content will be pretty scarce for a few more years yet, but Sharp is trying to remedy that by rounding out the ecosystem with 8K cameras and 8K broadcast receivers. That should be just in time to pick up the 8K signals beamed out by Japan's national broadcaster, NHK, which it plans to begin next year.
Sharp says the Aquos 8K Series will start rolling out in China in October, followed by a Japan release in December. Taiwan will receive the Ultra HD TVs in February 2018, and they'll see a European release in March. The 8K Broadcast Receiver will also be released in Japan sometime next year, to coincide with NHK's first 8K broadcasts.