Why F1, Tata and 8K TV is a big challenge

F1 is moving toward an 8K broadcast platform and that has many consumers excited about seeing racing in even more clarity and definition. According to a report over at Autosport, Data Communication, F1’s broadcast technology partner, is working toward an 8K solution.

Dhaval Ponda, vice president and global head media & entertainment business at Tata Communications, says 8K is the future.

“What happened gradually over the last couple of years is audiences globally, in almost every single part of the world, have got used to having content in 4K. And for the young generation this is where the bar is now set,” Ponda is quoted by Autosport.

“I think that the transition to 8K is going on actually quite well in the industry. And it will definitely happen because, for the current generation that has got used to 4K, for them 8K will really offer a finer detail and a higher level of quality.”

“It is a step up. Again, if you go back to the days of HD and when things moved into full HD, I think that change was fairly significant.

“And when we went from full HD to 4K, I think it was visibly better quality, as you have more depth and more detail. Similarly for 8K, it will capture so much more raw detail that it will be stunning. If you look at a shot of an ocean racing competition in 8K, it is sublime.”

“Step one is having the underlying digital infrastructure in place, which is basically around investing significantly into next generation technologies,” Ponda said.

“A lot of this investment is also a genuine investment into the future, because you don’t see any revenue on that in the near term.”

The evolution and race for resolution has been an adventure and it also has created quite an industry for display manufacturers. Moving from SD, or standard definition, at 720 x 540 pixels in a 4:3 aspect ration to HD and Full High-Definition displays at 1920 x 1080 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ration was quite a game changing experience to be sure.

The industry spent many years happy with the chip technology and improved viewing experience and is still the current standard for most commercial use cases—application specific of course.

However, the consumer wants more and the move to 4K was inevitable and delivering 3840 x 2160 in a 16:9 aspect ratio was the mission to deliver Ultra High Definition which was four times the number of pixels and details compared to HD.

You may notice that 3840 is not 4000 but the industry rounds up and 4000 or 4K is the name. One important point is to note that 4K when used in consumer terms may not actually be speaking about Native 4K resolution because that is actually 4096 pixels, not 3840.

Now there is a push toward 8K which is 7680 x 4320 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The article goes on to explain some challenges but doesn’t exactly target what really is the biggest challenge.

Chip technology to deliver 8K resolution is one thing but content creators creating content in 8K is another. Both have to be harmonized and in demand. It comes down to the creation, distribution and application of 8K content that will drive the adoption rate of 8K in general.

In the end, it is all about pixel density but the industry is still in the throws of migrating from (F)HD.WQXGA to 4K. If this is where the adoption curve currently is, how long might 8K take?

I work in the display industry for a manufacturer of displays from projection to LCD and direct view LED. Specifically I worked, until recently int eh direct view LED part of the company and my life was consumed by pixel and pixel pitch. I can’t say who or what but suffice it to say that our LED does have an application in Formula 1.

When e talk abbots pixel density, we are certainly excited about the idea of an 8K F1 broadcast. What we also must consider is the frame rate, bandwidth, color performance, smearing and other video artifacts that can occur. This isn’t an easy task.

Let’s take LED for example. Fast moving content can create image tearing, smearing and serious artifacts if it ins’t done correctly. An 8K direct view LED display using 1.2mm pixel pitch tiles is an 16 x 16 tile array…it’s very large if you confer an average tile size to be 24” wide by 13.5” high. Moving to LCD, you begin to see why technologies such as OLED are important because they are cramming 100 to 200 pixel per inch or PPI. A mobile phone may have 400 to 500 PPI. There’s even a new tech that crams 10,000 PPI on the horizon. Pixel density is the key and it isn’t easy to do. Also, it’s very expensive.

Things get complicate but they are attainable when we talk about 8K. We’ve ran several 8K displays and projection systems. In fact, we have some killer tech for light-steering and other features that set us apart. That said, content creation distribution and display tech all has to rise with the same tide.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Worthless Opinion

I’m not entirely sure there’s a need for higher definition. The car is 3 times the size it used to be so you can see it pretty clearly.


Here in America, ESPN does not offer 4k in any shape or form. How long before they even think about 8k?


I’m with Grace. Maybe at 8k I can recognize what blue dot I’m looking at.