Ultra-fast SD cards for 4K Ultra HD video are coming later in 2016

by on February 26, 2016

Stephan Jukic – February 26, 2016

The SD Association has unveiled their new lightning fast “Video Speed” SD cards which are optimized for effective, manageable storage of not just 4K video but also even the much larger native 8K format as well.

The new class of SD cards are capable of recording and accessing 4K and 8K video files much faster than current versions and are expected to become available for a range of devices, including smartphones, cameras, VR headsets and other gadgets by later in 2016.

These new cards use a new SD5.0 standards technology which was announced this Wednesday and as a result, they’ll let users record and manipulate several 4K video files at the same time and possibly one or more 8K video files at the same time as well. With current consumer-market SD technology, even of the best kind, manipulation of only one 4K video file at a time is possible and you can forget about easily handling 8K at all.

The new Video Speed SD cards come with a special controller for faster extraction and recording of 4K and 8K footage but will nonetheless, obviously enough, also be compatible with most existing SD card slots.

4K video applications for the new cards will definitely be numerous, with the constant and accelerating growth of the medium in all classes of stand-alone cameras, TV displays, PC monitors, and now also tablets and even smartphones. In 2016, we already have the world’s first ever 4K smartphone display on the market, in the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium but even more importantly, a large and ever expanding number of flagship and even mid-range smartphone models are offering 4K video recording of the type that these new SD cards will be perfect for handling.

As for stand-alone camera technology, the need for these new ultra-fast 4K-ready SD cards will be a crucial consumer development now that 4K video recording is becoming pretty much a must-have feature for a majority of new flagship and pro camera releases.

As for 8K recording, it’s still much less developed but we’re already seeing some of the first high-end pro 8K video cameras coming to market and this too will expand in scope by 2017.


These new faster SD cards are expected to hit the shelves by spring of 2016 or early summer at the latest, according to Brian Kumagai, president of the SD Association.

Kumagai has not clarified if retailers will price the new cards as premium technology but this is very likely to be the case since even existing high-speed, high-capacity SD cards generally cost more.

In the current market, the priciest SD card on sale, and often used by 4K video recording buffs, is the SanDisk 512GB Extreme Pro, which retails for about $400. This gives us some idea of what we can expect the new 4K/8K-capable video cards to sell for.

To further distinguish these new cards from regular SD products, the SD Association will mark them with “Video Speed” labels, with the 4K card to also be marked with a “V60” label, with transfer rates of 60MB per second and the 8K video card with a “V90” label, with transfer rates of about 90MB per second.

The new cards will be based on the latest NAND flash architecture technology.

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