If you are shopping for an 8K TV, you’ll likely come across something called “8K Association Certified” or “8K Certified.” Here’s what this certification means and how a regular 8K TV is different from an “8K Certified” TV.
What Is 8K?
8K is a display resolution that has started showing up in TVs over the last few years. Measuring at 7680 x 4320 pixels, it packs four times as many pixels as 4K resolution. Thanks to millions of additional pixels, 8K offers sharper images than 4K and is best suited for large-screen displays. This is why you’ll only find 8K TVs in 65-inch or bigger sizes.
Since 8K TVs are still a relatively new product, the consumers can be apprehensive about investing in them. So to give them confidence about getting in the 8K ecosystem, the 8K Association (8KA) has introduced the 8K TV certification. The 8KA is a non-profit industry group of hardware and content companies dedicated to promoting the growth of 8K. The “8K Certified” TV program is similar to that “UHD-Certified” TV program by UHD Alliance, which was active in the initial years of Ultra HD or 4K TVs.
Guaranteeing Premium 8K Experience
The 8K Association originally introduced the 8K certification program in December 2019, and it guarantees that the “8K Certified” TVs meet a minimum set of specifications to provide a premium 8K experience. These minimum specifications include standards for visual performance, like the ability to display 8K resolution, peak brightness of over 600 nits, and support for HDMI 2.1 and high-efficiency video codec (HEVC).
The 8K Association Certified program got its first revision in January 2021 to include even more specifications, including support for a broader set of video decoding standards for 8K streaming content and the ability to access multi-dimensional surround sound formats. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are two of the most common multi-dimensional surround sound formats in the market.
The 8KA Certified TV specifications were revised again before CES 2022 to make 8K TVs ready for next-generation gaming. Features like auto low latency mode (ALLM) and variable refresh rate (VRR), which we already see on the best gaming TVs, are part of the updated specifications. Additionally, there is an optional specification in the form of Ambient Contrast Ratio (ACR). It tests the TV’s ability to adjust its brightness and contrast in different ambient lighting conditions. Unlike cinema halls, which have controlled lighting, homes can have varied ambient lighting conditions, and the TV’s ability to adapt to them helps in an overall better experience. According to 8KA, the ACR specification could be made mandatory in the future.
All in all, these 8K Association Certified TV specifications ensure that 8K TVs are ready to offer an excellent 8K experience out of the box.
Which TVs Are “8K Certified”?
8KA says that they have certified over 80 8K TV models in the first two years of the certification. These TVs are available from Samsung, Hisense, and TCL. The 8K TVs released in 2020 were certified as per the original specifications, whereas the 2021 models meet the first revision specifications. That said, it’s pretty likely that many of the 2020 and 2021 8K TVs also meet the latest revised specifications, but it’s unclear if these will be retested.
According to the 8K Association, the first televisions to meet the revised specifications will reach the market starting 2022. You can find the complete list of “8K Certified” TVs on the 8KA website. You can also recognize “8K Certified” TVs by the certification logo present on the TV packaging and in marketing material.
“8K Certified” TVs vs. Regular 8K TVs
Although there are dozens of the 8K TV models on the market that have been certified by the 8K Association and bear its logo, you’ll also find plenty of 8K TVs that have no such certification. These TVs come from the brands like LG and Sony, which are not 8K Association members, so they have not gotten their TVs certified by the association. These manufacturers could potentially join 8KA in the future and get the certification of their TVs. But LG and Sony have not said anything about this.
However, the lack of certification doesn’t necessarily mean that these TVs are inferior in any way, and they can be as capable or more than the 8KA Certified TVs. But, if you want to ensure that the non-8K Certified TV you are buying has all the features you need and gives a good experience, it’s always a good idea to check its reviews from reputable publications.
It’s important to note that while the “8K Certified” TVs are guaranteed to give a good 8K experience, the certification doesn’t reflect things like HDR performance, smart TV features, local dimming, design, or contrast details.
A Step in the Right Direction
The “8K Certified” TV program is a step in the right direction. It’ll help alleviate some of the consumers’ concerns about buying 8K TVs.
But the success of this certification will depend a lot on how many TV manufacturers end up getting the 8K TVs certified. As of late-2021, only three of the major TV brands—Hisense, Samsung, and TCL—are a part of the 8KA and get their 8K TVs certified. Hopefully, we’ll soon see the likes of LG and Sony getting their 8K TV certified as well.
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