The era of 8K content is still a couple of years away, but screens featuring the resolution are already here and their availability is going to expand in 2018. Sharp started to sell its Sharp Aquos LC-70X500 8K UHDTV in Japan late in 2017, and said that it would gradually expand its availability to other territories throughout this year. Indeed, this month one of the European retailers of professional hardware started to list the LC-70X500E, a European version of the product, at a rather extreme price.

The Sharp Aquos LC-70X500E is a 70-inch UHD TV featuring a 7680×4320 resolution and presumably based on Sharp’s 10-bit IPS/IGZO panel. The latter has a 400 nits typical brightness, a 1000 nits peak brightness for HDR (HDR10, HLG are supported), and a 8 ms GtG response time. The UHD TV uses a full array LED backlighting technology featuring 216 LED zones for dynamic local dimming, so its contrast ratio has to be decent too. Like other premium UHDTVs, this one naturally supports the BT.2020/Rec.2020 recommendations and an appropriate color range. The LC-70X500E has four HDMI 2.0 ports (with 4:4:4 chroma subsampling & HDCP 2.2) and four HDMI 1.4 inputs to connect everything but the kitchen sink. As a bonus feature, the TV is also equipped with a 2.1 audio subsystem.

In Japan, there are experimental 8K broadcasts, so the Aquos LC-70X500 is sold as an ultra-premium UHDTV for ¥760,000 - ¥972,000 ($7,078 - $9,052), according to Kakaku. In Europe, there are no experimental 8K broadcasts, so the Aquos LC-70X500E is aimed primarily at CAD/CAM, medical, DCC, design, engineering, and other professional as well as specialized applications. store is offering Sharp’s 8K UHD TV for €11,899 ($14,715) including VAT. Given the name of the retailer, it is obvious that it sells hardware to various graphics professionals (so don’t be surprised about the price, it is a tool for making money), whereas the letter “E” in the model number of the product indicates that this is an official European version, not a grey import from Japan. In fact, late last year Sharp announced plans to bring the LC-70X500-series to Europe in March, so the German store may be among the first retailers to sell it.

Sharp has been a supporter of NHK’s 8K Super Hi-Vision project for some time. The company built the world’s first 85-inch 8K display in the early 2010s to demonstrate capabilities of the tech and enable content creation. The company also offers the S35MM 8C-B60A 8K professional broadcast camcorder and once demonstrated an 8Kp120 reference display. As a result, it is not surprising that Sharp is the first company to commercialize an 8K UHDTV and price it accordingly.

When it comes to commercially available 8K display hardware for consumers and professionals (i.e., not counting cameras, reference displays, etc.), right now it is possible to buy Dell’s UltraSharp UP3218K monitor (now starts at $3,700) as well as Sharp’s Aquos LC-70X500-series UHD TV. Both are priced well above average, but both are going to face competition later this year. Philips plans to launch its 328P8K 8K UHD LCD in the coming months, whereas AUO intends to start sales of 8K UHD panels for large TVs shortly, enabling TV makers to build 8K UHDTVs.

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  • A5 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    This TV doesn't have DP though.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    I'm guessing is does 8k60 at 4:4;4 by taking input on 4x HDMI 2 at once, like the early 4k/5k monitors that looked like 2 half sized displays to the outside world and needed dual displayport input to run at 60hz.

    For the very limited audiences this is intended for that's not a major problem since they're either working on generation 0.1 8k systems, or are using it to replace 4x 4k TVs in a video wall.
  • djsvetljo - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    110" PJ screen @1080p user here. I am still hesitating if I need to upgrade to 4k. Sitting distance is 13-15 ft. 8k ? NO. For commercial cinema, sure. 32-42" monitor may be. Mega laugh at all those that fall for 4k at 55" at sit more than 6-7 ft away.
  • A5 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    HDR and better DCI-P3 coverage are worth the upgrade from a 1080p LCD if you watch a ton of modern-produced content.
  • MadDog312 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    Totally agree. HDR and the wider color gamut are way bigger improvements that the jump from 1080p to 4k. Unfortunately, it's going to take some crazy engineering to let a projector the ability to do HDR justice and allow the wider color profile that 4k allows. A non-laser light source can't be shut off in sections, it's all or nothing.

    I'm likely going to sacrifice my 100" screen and projector for an ~80" decent 4k TV for the next couple of years until the projector market can offer a reasonably priced unit that can compete with the current crop of OLED and higher end LCD's out there.
  • SleepyFE - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    I'm also at 1080p. Dad bought a slightly bigger 1440p. Seeing it first hand i'm starting to consider it.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    I'm excited for 8k... Sort of. But only because it's an even multiple of all the previous resolutions we've had before.

    240p * 18 = 4320p
    480p * 9 = 4320p
    720p * 6 = 4320p
    1080p * 4 = 4320p
    2160p * 2 = 4320p

    We previously had an "issue" where you couldn't cleanly scale 480p/i content (most DVD content) as an even integer and fill the screen on 4K (2160p). 4* scale is a bit too small, 5* scale is a bit too large.

    After this, I hope TV manufacturers just stop increasing resolution (we've hit a point of diminishing returns after 1080p) and focus on better internal video scalers, better contrast, better response time, better input lag, better color gamuts, better out-of-the-box color accuracy, etc.
  • bji - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    I got news for you ... 9 isn't an even integer either.

    But I suspect you meant 'whole integer' ...
  • SleepyFE - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    Nice catch. I just assumed whole integer and didn't even notice that.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, April 23, 2018 - link

    Yes, I did mean whole integer multiple, just had a brain fart at the time or something.

    Doesn't really change my point that we're soon hitting a threshold where just increasing resolution really isn't going to affect picture quality significantly, while other display characteristics should likely be focused on to provide more meaningful upgrades to display technology.

    I don't want to be that guy that says 8K is fine enough for everybody at every distance (in regards to saying X amount of RAM is enough for everybody), because unlike PC specs (which increase over time, along with increased demands from software in use), our eyes do have physical limits of interpreting images, from a given distance. It's possible displays very close to the eye, like VR, could benefit from something higher than 8K per eye, but I'm talking about just TV/monitor displays here.

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