What is 8K?

8K is a term used somewhat generically to describe a large video resolution of 7680x4320. It represents 33,177,600 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The more accurate term is UltraHD2 for broadcast and live event needs.

8K DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) used for digital cinema distribution is slightly larger, measuring 8192x4320 and represents 35,389,440 pixels.

The Path to 8K Resolution

8K/UltraHD2 supersedes 4K/UltraHD resolutions and was first developed by the Japanese broadcaster NHK® in 1995 but was formally included in the REC 2020 standard in 2012. This standard defined the 8K and 4K resolutions and frame rates for Ultra High Definition as follows:

3840x2160p - 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94, 60

4096x2160p - 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94, 60

7680x4320p - 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94, 60

8192x4320p - 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 47.95, 48, 50, 59.94, 60

8K Transport

8K can use several types of cable/connectivity for transfer:

  • HDMI 2.1
  • DisplayPort v1.4
  • 12G-SDI over coaxial or fiber

12G-SDI offers the highest quality transport for passing 8K/UltraHD2 video and utilizes 4x 12G-SDI for 8K transport. HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort v1.4 both carry 8K/UltraHD2 via single cables, but generally at shorter distances, typically connecting displays to graphics cards or video devices that support HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort v1.4.

8K Displays

Display manufacturers include Sharp®, Sony®, Samsung®, and LG®, with more displays being made available as the format receives wider availability. Domestic displays tend to favor 4x HDMI 2.0 inputs or 1x HDMI 2.1 for 8K inputs whereas professionally targeted 8K displays favoring 4x 12G-SDI.

Advantages of 8K

8K as a digital master offers downsampling advantages for sub 8K mastering. 8K capturing also allows for reframing at sub 8K resolution size for practical or aesthetic reasons without compromising quality. Multiple cropped and zoomed regions of interest outputs are possible for sports and other large live events. Both security and military applications may also leverage 8K for the same technical desire to recrop within the image and output to a separate source without loss of fidelity. Additionally where feasible, UltraHD2 with HDR can be delivered as a format to applicable displays and screens for ultra realistic detail and deep color shading for live events, conferences, event venues and more.

Applications for 8K

8K/UltraHD2 has a host of applications that leverage the advantages of the higher resolutions. Live events will also be able to take advantage of the 8K format and its high quality master to either offer higher detail large displays within a venue or offer downsampled 4K and HD versions from reframing the 8K master to provide extra shots and flexibility in postproduction.

Movies that utilize VFX (visual effects) also utilize the expanded resolution to provide higher quality background plates (a high quality image used as the master background for a VFX shot) that offer a more seamless experience for the viewer.

Television and broadcast usage of 8K means that Virtual Sets (computer generated sets that the presenter is superimposed onto for broadcast) can be made larger without compromising detail, providing more flexibility as broadcasters continue to develop more complex data presentations within news and sports programming.

Signage displays in public places can offer a greater amount of detail afforded to even more content, improving how information can be shared and the quality of its representation.

8K as a master resolution for DCI means that even though the majority of today's cinematic distribution may only be 4K, an 8K master offers future proofing. Studios can deliver high quality, downsampled 4K movies today, with 8K releases happening later, without having to redo any editorial which also carries additional costs and considerations.

AJA 8K Solutions

AJA 8K Ecosystem

AJA offers a range of solutions for 8K workflows, all working together from camera, through routers, to I/O, HDR transforms and Analysis to final display.

Explore your options below.

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Ki Pro Ultra 12G

Ki Pro Ultra 12G has been updated to offer a powerful 8K playback functionality. By utilizing 4x Ki Pro Ultra 12G units as well as RS-422 control to all 4, playback of 8K video is achieved as individual 4K quadrants. The correct 8K SDI VPID is implemented to ensure compatibility with downstream devices.For 4x HDMI playback is also an option for this workflow with the addition of a suitable HDMI 2.0 to HDMI 2.1 converter.

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HDR Image Analyzer 12G

The HDR Image Analyzer 12G offers native 8K/UltraHD2 support for both on set as well as postproduction; offering a sophisticated toolset for detailed analysis of 8K/UltraHD2 video in real time. Fully compatible with HDR workflows, the HDR Image Analyzer 12G offers 12G-SDI connectivity, supporting 8K content via 4x 12G-SDI ports on the rear of the device.

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KONA 5 represents the most powerful I/O digital video card yet from AJA and offers 4x bidirectional 12G-SDI ports to accommodate 8K playout for 8K compatible NLEs like Adobe® Premiere® and also 8K acquisition from an external 8K camera source or deck. KONA 5 also provides a real time down convert of 8K to 4K for monitoring purposes.

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FS-HDR 8K Mode

AJA’s FS-HDR is a frame synchronizing device which performs real time HDR and wide color gamut conversions of a wide variety of sources, including camera systems from ARRI®, Sony, Canon®, Panasonic®, and others. By using the SFP expansion ports with the appropriate 12G-SDI SFP connector, four FS-HDR devices, and a Tangent control panel may be used in tandem to provide HDR and wide color gamut conversions to 8K.

A free standalone app is available from AJA called FS-HDR Control Link, which can be run on a local PC or Mac to provide communications between the Tangent panel’s USB interface and an Ethernet LAN, and ultimately connect to the FS-HDR. With v2.6 firmware and above and FS-HDR Control Link software, you can control Colorfront® Engine parameters across 4x FS-HDRs simultaneously for 8K color management needs.

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Hi5-12G 8K Mode

Using 4x AJA Hi5-12G mini converters together in conjunction with an appropriate HDMI converter from Socionext or Astro Design provides conversion of 8K signals to HDMI 2.1.

The 8K video signal is passed via 4x 12G-SDI to 4x HDMI 2.0 to a 4x HDMI 2.0 to 1x HDMI 2.1 converter, which is used by some currently available domestic use 8K displays, including Samsung® This simple set up can be used in conjunction with the KONA 5, HDR Image Analyzer 12G and also the 4x FS-HDR 8K mode.

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KUMO Routers and Control Panels 8K Mode

KUMO 12G-SDI routers can be configured for ganged dual link or quad link routing allowing users to group together multiple inputs and outputs for 8K workflows. Utilizing KUMO-1616-12G, or KUMO-3232-12G with AJA’s CP or CP2 Control Panels allows easy control for routing 8K signals throughout a production, live event, OB truck or post facility.

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