3 things need to happen to sell me on 8K TVs – and one of them involves David Attenborough

Adventure in AV 05/03/24 LG Z3 lifestyle shot in lounge
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

This week we published our review of the LG Z3, a top-of-the-line, Micro Lens Array-equipped OLED TV with an 8K resolution. 

In many ways, this is very exciting, especially as our experience with it was largely very positive.

For £14,999 / AU$15,999 you get a next-generation OLED packed with features, as well as the added sharpness that all of those extra pixels theoretically offer. 

But, after thoroughly putting it through its paces, while it impressed our testers enough to earn four stars, the review led to a lot of back and forth about whether the world is ready for an 8K TV in general. 

For me, this crystallised into three key things I want to happen (outside of me getting a pay rise that would let me afford one) before I’d personally consider an 8K TV.

Native 8K content 

Planet Earth

(Image credit: BBC)

At the moment there is woefully little content mastered in 8K. This is why when we get an 8K TV in for review, we are usually limited to test footage shot or at least supplied by the manufacturers if we want to see native 8K picture performance.

In the case of the LG Z3, this was spearheaded by test footage shot by Spears & Munsil showcasing a mix of animal close-ups and American vistas. And our review says everything you need to know about how wonderful it looked: 

“Sensational to a degree that goes beyond the best images we have seen on a 4K TV (and we actually have exactly the same footage in 4K for direct comparison).”

This reminded me of the jump I experienced watching David Attenborough’s iconic Planet Earth in Full HD for the first time. The difference between it and standard-def was night and day. Animals came to life in a way they simply didn’t at the lower resolution I was used to at that time. The same happened with 4K when I saw Planet Earth II. If you haven't already, honestly, get the Blu-ray and jump to the Monkey episode...

The simple fact is that for 8K to work I need the content to sell me on it. In my case, this usually comes in the form of a nature documentary with an episode focused on monkeys or big cats acting cute.

Better upscaling 

“Good” native 8K content is the main reason I would jump to 8K, but alongside that, I’d like to see some developments in the way TVs upscale lower-resolution content. To be clear, this is an area in which we have seen clear improvements with every fresh 8K TV we have tested.

That remained truer than ever on the Z3 which uses LG’s new Alpha 9 Gen 6 processor's AI machine learning smarts to upscale content to 8K. Running 4K Blu-ray discs the process worked a treat and the upscaled content looked “more dense, more richly textured and, ultimately, more lifelike”. 

But it’s still not perfect and the Z3 struggled with terrestrial television and streaming in certain instances. HD sources in particular came out a bit softer and lost detail in the upscaling process. This is an issue as, despite my and the team’s love of physical media, we know most people retired their DVDs and Blu-rays many moons ago.

 Better internet speeds 

Even with better upscaling, the truth is internet speeds will also need to improve if 8K is ever to become mainstream. Even if Netflix, Apple, Disney, HBO, Paramount and co. decided to offer 8K content, to get it working on most homes’ connection speeds would be tricky.

In general, it is thought you need a stable internet connection with a download speed of at minimum 50 Mbps to stream 8K content. That’s a lot more than the 15 Mpbs required for 4K. In theory, this is doable – Ofcom’s latest speed report lists the UK average download speed as 69.4 Mbps, and the US is even higher.

But there is more to it than that. For starters, are you happy to use your broadband exclusively for streaming 8K? Because you probably won't get smooth 8K streaming while your kid plays Call Of Duty online upstairs.

The current quality of wi-fi is an issue, too. Wi-Fi 6, the current top standard, can technically handle 8K, and the new Wi-Fi 7 standard being rolled out to devices “soon” definitely can, with a maximum data rate of 46Gbps. But most routers don’t support the new standard and aren’t great at multi-device wi-fi streaming at these speeds.


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Alastair Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Alastair is What Hi-Fi?’s editor in chief. He has well over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this time he’s covered everything from the launch of the first Amazon Echo to government cyber security policy. Prior to joining What Hi-Fi? he served as Trusted Reviews’ editor-in-chief. Outside of tech, he has a Masters from King’s College London in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, is an enthusiastic, but untalented, guitar player and runs a webcomic in his spare time.