Review: Should you buy an 8K TV in 2020?

Although it only seems like a few years since we began being encouraged to upgrade to a 4K television, 8K TVs are becoming increasingly popular.

But is it worth buying an 8K TV in 2020?

Recently I've been using a TCL 75" X915 8K QLED 2020 television and here are my thoughts.

The good

Experiencing an 8K video for the first time is really quite special.

The leap in fidelity is maybe not as pronounced as 1080p to 4K and certainly not as perceptible as SD to HD, but it's definitely noticeable and super impressive.

Full 8K ultra-high definition uses around 33 million pixels to display its images, versus around 8.3 million with 4K, 2 million with Full HD and 400,000 with SD.

Diagram showing how much bigger 8K resolution is to 4K, HD and SD.
Photo credit: Getty

There's some 8K drone footage on YouTube around cities and landscapes that has a kind of 3D effect, it looks so grand.

Close-up video of animals filmed in 8K is also look amazing. Being able to see every strand of hair on a cat better than if it was sitting in front of you is kind of freaky.

It's definitely worth a few minutes of your time while out shopping to take a look at an 8K TV playing some 8K stuff.

It looks incredible.

If only there was more 8K content around...

The bad

Almost no content

The biggest problem with buying an 8K TV at the moment is the lack of 8K content.

There's a handful of 8K videos on YouTube, which will do the trick if you have a nice fast fibre internet connection. But those videos pretty much consist only of demo footage.

There is no physical media player you can buy in Aotearoa that play 8K Blu-ray discs - and no 8K Blu-ray discs for sale even if there was.

Some modern PCs will have graphics cards powerful enough to output 8K content, but then you have to find the 8K content to play through them and that is not easily done.

There's no way to watch 8K movies or TV shows, yet.

So in addition to a few demo videos on YouTube, all you get is artificially 'upscaled' lower-resolution footage, which isn't anywhere near as good as looking at the real thing.

TCL 75" X915 8K QLED 2020 television.
Photo credit: Newshub.

The price

The 75" TCL model I've been using is listed at just shy of $10,000 on Noel Leeming's website*, while an 8K 75" Samsung is listed as a "hot deal" on Harvey Norman's website for a whopping $17,265.

For comparison, current advertised prices show you could get a great 4K TV that's the same size by LG, Samsung, Sony or TCL for between $3000 and $4000.

So you're likely paying at least $6000 more for 8K than you would for 4K in New Zealand. Depending on what brand you favour, you could be throwing away an additional $14,000 for that extra definition. That's a lot of money.


It's too early to invest in an 8K TV.

While there is talk of 'future-proofing' by people selling them, there's no point in doing that unless you're moving to a location where buying a new TV will be impossible in a few years time.

By the time there's enough 8K content around to justify buying an 8K set, the prices will likely have dropped so much you could buy a 4K TV today and an 8K TV then and still have spent less than buying an 8K set now.

Upscaling lower resolution videos for 8K display is nice, but it's not genuine 8K and not worth paying at least an extra $6000.

The novelty of watching what 8K demo footage there is on YouTube is very nice, but a trip to an electronic retailer could give you the same effect and only cost you a few bucks in petrol money.

Of course, some people with a lot of disposable income who simply must have the very best technology available at any point in time won't care that it's not worth buying one of these yet.

More power to them, go for gold.

For the rest of us, the right move is waiting at least a few years for the price to drop and for some, y'know, actual 8K content to exist.


* Website prices were recorded on August 3, 2020

Newshub was loaned a TCL X915 8K television set for this feature.