Another look at the clever technology that turns Sharp’s 4K TVs into 8K displays
Stephan Jukic – January 28, 2015
The people at Sharp claim that their Aquos “Beyond 4K” ultra HD TVs can reach effective resolutions of far more than simple 3840 x 2160 pixel 4K and can in fact deliver resolutions of 7680 x 4320; full 8K resolution in other words.
Sharp lacks some of the technology punch that many associate with Samsung or LG but as far as TV technology goes, the company is famous for its really big screens. This is partly because, for at least the last few years, the people at Sharp have focused their TV designs on the concept of “bigger is better” by sticking to creating displays of 60 inches or more.
The same rule is being applied to their 2015 lineup of 4K TVs but with an interesting twist that does in fact lean in the direction of small. In this case, the really, really small.
Sharp is taking those giant screens that it’s building and loading them with the smallest, most flexible pixels that their development technology allows them to get away with. We’re talking of course about what are called subpixels and it’s through these that the company promises to give owners of the latest “beyond 4K” Aquos line of ultra HD TVs a resolution that’s effectively much larger than the conventional 4K found in other brands UHD TVs.
Sharp’s development of subpixel technology began all the way back in 2010 when the company’s Quattron series of TVs came out with an added yellow subpixel that augmented the normal setup of red, green and blue pixel colors in an effort to make overall color gamut much better than it would normally be.
Furthermore, last year’s Sharp Quattron Q+ TVs increased the amount of subpixels even more by dividing each existing row of Red, Green, Blue, Yellow (RGBY) subpixels in half and allowing the smaller clusters to be controlled individually. In effect, this was an effort to make these HD TVs perform as if they were full 4K sets and it created several times more “pixels” in each vertical 180 line of pixels.
Now, with their latest Aquos TVs, they’re doing the exact same thing again but instead of using the technology to cleverly boost pixel counts in HDTVs so that they have a 4K level pixel density, they’re making their fully 4K TVs boast pixel densities that are on par with 8K display.
The latest Aquos TVs for 2015 do exactly the same thing to their subpixels as the Quattron Q+ series of 2014 did with its HD resolution. The traditional RGBY subpixels are subdivided even further by being vertically cut in half with each smaller cluster of subpixels being controlled individually to deliver even smaller segmentations of RGBY colors.
This means a technical “pixel count” increase from 16 million to 66 million subpixels, 42 million more than the amount found in a normal 4K TV.
However, because subpixels aren’t genuine, full pixels in the normal functional sense, Sharp isn’t officially billing their new Aquos TVs as actual 8K sets; thus the “Beyond 4K” title.
Nonetheless, the company does claim that the technology offers actual 8K-like resolution with the right kind of source material being displayed on the screen and that native 4K content will indeed upscale to something that looks more like what real 8K content would be like if it were available.
Since no actual 8K content yet exists anywhere on the market, upscaling 4K video is pretty much all that these TVs can do for the time being.
Story by 4k.com