Vid Ultra-high definition 8K videos are appearing on YouTube, despite the fact that few home broadband connections on the planet can stream them, and even fewer screens are capable of showing them in their full glory.
The video arm of the Mountain View ad giant turned heads this week when a mini-flick called "Ghost Towns in 8K" emerged on the website. The video showcases a series of empty houses and scenery around an abandoned town.
While the serene content of the two-minute clip is hardly thrilling, the format in which it was shot is raising eyebrows. The clip touts itself as an 8K video: its 7680×4320 resolution is twice that of the 3840 x 2160 4K Ultra-HD format.
According to its filmmakers Luke and Marika Neumann, the ghost town was captured using a "RED Epic Dragon 6K in portrait orientation, and then stitched together in Adobe After Effects. Some shots were simply scaled up by 125 per cent from 6.1K to meet the 7.6K standard."
The video does show an impressive clarity of image, even on your humble hack's small notebook: downscaling the 8K or 4K flick to a smaller screen gets it a sharper feel, like popping in your contact lens after a terrific hangover.
Viewing the clip in all of its high-resolution glory, however, is going to be next to impossible for most of the planet.
8K television sets are still almost entirely just prototype devices, and as recently as this year's CES, vendors could not give a potential date for when they will hit the shops.
The IMAX format boasts a reported 18K resolution, so perhaps if you had a theater on hand you'd be in luck – though you would need a rather formidable broadband connection just to be able to suck down an 8k film. Netflix requires a 5Mbps connection to stream HD and a 25Mbps connection for its limited range of 4K titles. A rate for 8K picture was not given, though doubling the horizontal and vertical resolutions multiplies those requirements.
Actual broadcasts of 8K programming aren't likely to start until 2020 at the earliest. That is the goal NHK has set for getting its first 8K broadcast on the air, and even that will be a one-off showcase for the Tokyo Summer Olympics. ®