This article is sponsored by Hisense.
You’ve probably heard the conversation around 8K a lot lately, and it’s not likely to die down anytime soon. While many will point to a lack of content at that resolution, sophisticated upscaling technology will have future-proofers and early adopters firmly on the 8K train.
So if you’re looking to pick up an 8K TV in 2021, these are two of the most important things to consider.
While there isn’t a whole lot of native 8K content available at the moment, a good 8K TV will be capable of significantly enhancing lower resolutions. That might sound pretty straightforward, but there’s actually a lot more to it in modern TVs.
Upscaling has been around in various forms for a little while now and essentially involves taking a small image and stretching it into a larger one while maintaining as much detail as possible.
In practical terms, that means taking, say, an image at 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) and stretching it to fit a 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels), with the tech left to fill in the excess pixels. In this example, that’s fitting one pixel into four, but if we’re talking about 8K upscaling, that’s one into 16, which is a lot of empty space to fill.
One way this problem used to be solved is by telling the TV to analyse the pixels around the one in question and use that information to best guess how the empty space should be filled. As you can imagine, this doesn’t look all that great. Later methods increased the number of pixels it analysed to increase upscaling accuracy, but you’re still left with a fairly subpar result.
Luckily, the technology has come a long way, with many companies now utilising artificial intelligence to achieve a far more accurate upscaled image.
The Hisense ULED 8K TV‘s AI-powered upscaling is supported by the company’s own proprietary AI-powered tech called Hi-View Engine Pro, making the TV capable of taking low-resolution content and upscaling it to near 8K. Whether it’s live TV, video games or other media, it automatically recognises low resolutions and performs the necessary tasks to enhance them.
It identifies the gaps to be filled in every frame of the original source and applies a number of techniques to enhance them, such as increasing sharpness, reducing graininess, improving colours and more.
“We have an 8K AI upscaler, which is basically going to take the content that you’re watching, be it Netflix or whatever it is, live TV, and run it through a process and make it look as good as it can possibly do, right up to near-8K quality, which is super, super exciting,” Hisense product specialist Chris Mayer said.
“We want to make sure everyone gets access to that quality even if the content isn’t there this second.”
In other words, if you’re going to get an 8K TV this year, you’ll want one capable of displaying a great upscaled image until native 8K content becomes more readily available.
Features that suit your use case
Most modern TVs come with a suite of features to suit different purposes, so it’s important that your choice is tailored to how you plan to use yours. This is especially important if you plan on picking up a next-gen gaming console.
Because new consoles are capable of outputting higher framerates compared to their predecessors, you’ll want a TV with HDMI 2.1, which is capable of displaying that output for the best experience.
That’s not to say new consoles won’t work on old TVs, you just won’t be utilising the console’s full potential.
One feature to keep your eyes peeled for is Hisense’s Game Mode Pro, which caters to next-gen gamers with new HDMI 2.1 features like Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode, letting silky smooth frame rates and lower input lag shine. This feature kicks in automatically, so you know you’ll always be getting the best out of your console.
If you like watching sports, you’ll probably want to look at dedicated sports mode features that can enhance the action of a fast-paced game, reduce motion blur, and so on. For the Hisense ULED 8K TV, sports mode works in tandem with upscaling, enhancing the action of a fast-paced game and reducing motion blur. Something to think about given the return of the NRL season is just around the corner.
Whatever it is you plan on doing, make sure the 8K TV you choose can do it well.