One day, 8K TVs will drive 4K TVs into extinction. Perhaps. It won't be for a while but with the likes of Sony, Samsung and LG launching flagship 8K TV sets, it looks like next-generation TVs with a whole heap more pixels will one day become a reality.
They might be expensive, but 8K TVs offer four times the pixel density of their 4K TV siblings. That makes for a stunningly-lifelike picture that represents a massive step up from 4K.
Sadly, there's almost no 8K content available at the moment. That's why 8K TVs make themselves useful by upscaling standard, HD and 4K content. That means you can expect a glorious, cinematic experience – even if 8K content is far from mainstream.
So what should you look for when buying an 8K TV? Good upscaling and motion processing are crucial – particularly given that 8K displays tend to range from 65-inches to over 100-inches.
This 85-inch Sony 8K TV offers an astonishingly-lifelike image and almost no downsides in terms of performance. Convincing blacks, superb motion control, outstanding upscaling – this TV excels in every area.
Sony's X1 Ultimate chip and 8K X-Reality Pro tech does a superb job of upscaling, adding detail that looks completely natural, ensuring an incredibly immersive performance with HD and 4K content.
Sound is equally spectacular. Four sets of three, forward-firing speakers and four woofers, help deliver dramatic sound that outshines the average soundbar.
There's plenty of support for streaming apps, including Netflix and Amazon Video (in 4K and Dolby Vision), and Google Play TV and Movies. Sony's Android-powered user interface isn't quite as good as Samsung's but the ZG9 comes with Google Assistant and is ‘Works with Alexa’-certified, so it's responsive to voice commands.
You'll need seriously deep pockets, but for the bleeding edge of 8K TV tech, look no further than the Sony KD-85ZG9 – the finest 8K TV we've reviewed.
The Q900R is the smallest and most affordable 8K TV we've tested, and it offers plenty of thrills. It offers a major upgrade over 4K in terms of detail and sharpness; everything on screen looks stunningly crisp and lifelike. Peak brightness (3000nits) makes for dramatic whites and upscaling is very good indeed.
There's a lot to like about the clever design, too. Samsung's OneConnect concept sees all the inputs – including the power cable – shifting to an external box. The result of that is a svelte, 3.5cm-deep 8K TV that's ideal for wall-hanging.
Samsung's user experience is arguably the slickest and most intuitive on the market, and it's blessed with an excellent choice of streaming services in both 4K and HDR.
The only downside is that Samsung’s 2018 flagship 4K set, the QE65Q9FN, does some things better and is far more affordable. But if you want a future-proof 8K TV, this is the best 'budget' option.
How does native 8K content look on the Q900R? Utterly mesmerising, as you'd expect. It offers an insanely lifelike picture, even up close, and record peak brightness (4000nits). Motion handing is excellent – albeit not quite as impressive as Sony's 8K flagship (above) – and upscaling is impressive.
This TV has more to offer than just pixels, though. You get Samsung's slick, class-leading user interface, the widest choice of streaming apps, and an external OneConnect box to hide all the TV's inputs and cables.
Sound quality is decent, but nothing special. Still, if you're dropping this sort of money on a TV it's a fair bet you'll be investing in a serious home cinema speaker system.
There's no question that the Samsung 85-inch Q900R offers a mesmerising home cinema experience. However, it's worth noting that you can step down to the 65-inch Q900R and get 8K resolution for less than a third of the price.