Head of TV Systems Business Unit, Kitamura talks about “AQUOS 8K”

By establishing “8K Ecosystem*1” and increasing the resolution of displays and dramatically expanding the applicable range of related equipment, Sharp believes that a variety of new businesses will be created. As one of the pillars of our 8K business, we have released 70V 8K compatible television in China in October and in Japan on December 1st. We talked with Mr. Kitamura, responsible for TV business at Sharp, about the features of 8K images and 8K compatible TV “AQUOS 8K”, as well as future prospects.

  * 1 “Ecosystem” means our unique strategy aimed at creating buds of new industries one after another with 8K ultra high definition technology as its core, aiming to create social innovation.


–  First of all, please tell us the philosophy of ​​our TV and image products.

(Kitamura) We always develop our TV and image products starting by discussing “what is the image that can impress customers most?” We believe that images that impress customers are those with “realistic sensation”, “three-dimensional feel” and “realism” indistinguishable from reality. 8K high resolution images realize this concept.


Mr. Kitamura, Head of TV Systems Business Unit


(Kitamura) I will explain in a bit more detail why I can say so. Compared to 2K and 4K, 8K images have extremely higher definition, so the viewing distance at which images can be viewed without recognizing pixels becomes closer (screen height x 0.75). By approaching the screen, the viewing angle (the range of the scene, measured by angle) spreads wider and the image spreads just before your eyes. Thus, you can feel the realistic sensation.


Viewing angle of 2K image and 8K image

(Kitamura) In addition, our 8K compatible television also supports HDR (high dynamic range) standard at 8K resolution. Because it can faithfully reproduce wide range of luminance information, combined with the high definition, you will be able to feel the depth of the landscape images and the texture of the material as if you are seeing them in reality.



Thus, 8K is a technology that provides impressive images through overwhelming “realistic sensation”, “three-dimensional feel” and “realism”.


– Some argue that the release of 8K compatible TVs is too early, as there is not many 8K contents available at this point. Meanwhile, the 8K compatible TV, “AQUOS 8K” is equipped with technology to up-convert 2K and 4K images to 8K images. How effective is it?

(Kitamura) As you say, until 8K TV broadcast starts in December 2018, I think images that have been up-converted from 2K and 4K to 8K will mainly be viewed. Our “High Image Quality 8K Master Up-conversion” technology is a unique image processing technology which enhances details and outlines at high-speed while processing image information matching LCD panels to reproduce more real images.

You can recognize the difference even if it is compared with 4K images. As we wish customers can feel the impressive difference of 8K even with the current broadcasting, the 8K TV is packed with our ideas. I cannot give you details, but indeed it was quite a lot of work.

One of the reasons why 4K TVs are well accepted is that, the up-converted images are quite clear despite the fact that there are only a few 4K broadcasts, but with our 8K compatible TV, the images become even more clear.


– “AQUOS 8K” will be released in Japan on December 1, and one year later, we will be able to experience 8K broadcast. By the way, when did we start research and development of 8K?

(Kitamura) We began research around 2000, and in 2011, we developed the world’s first “85V 8K image monitor”. With it as a foothold, we have released “85V 8K image monitor” in 2015, and developed “advanced wideband satellite digital broadcast receiver,” a set top box (STB) for receiving 8K test broadcasting, in 2016.

In 2017, we released “70V 8K video monitor” for professional use, always been the leading 8K industry. At the same time, we are developing and accumulating 8K technology by collaborating with various companies such as NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation).

“85V 8K monitor” released in 2015 (Left) and “Advanced wideband satellite digital broadcasting receiver” developed in 2016 (right)

-With the success of developing 8K display in 2011, technology has been accumulated, and that is why we can release “AQUOS 8K” on a global scale this time.

(Kitamura) That’s correct. Starting with China (October 2017), we will release it in Japan (December 2017), Taiwan (February 2018), and Europe (March 2018). After that, we will expand areas to Asia and on as well. We realize high performance and high quality products by maintaining the process by ourselves from LCD panel development to TV development and production. We will focus on the development of the 8K compatible TV “AQUOS 8K” to deliver impressive images to customers.

In the future, we would like to expand the lineup of “AQUOS 8K” together with options such as recorders and audio sets as “8K family”, to offer customers the benefit of 8K to customers.


– Your commitment and determination to 8K is very clear! By the way, what are the reactions from industry and customers?

(Kitamura) There are already movements shifting to 8K in various industries. For example, in the world of video games, the latest sequel of a world famous game series will be compatible with 8K. Also in the movie industry, some have begun to shoot in 8K. In the digital camera industry, a major manufacturer recently announced the development of 8K camera and lens. High-end cameras capable of shooting 8K time lapse movies*2 are already on sale, and some video sharing sites are starting to support 8K videos.

* 2 A  method of expressing changes in a long scene by continuously taking pictures at regular intervals from a fixed position and connecting the images in short running time.

In the broadcasting industry, we are only one more year away from the start of 8K TV broadcast. Also, in the future, various sports events will be opportunities to shift to 8K. I expect that this movement in all media will accelerate faster in the future.

Furthermore, when we have asked for comments from customers who have seen 8K images at dealer events and such, our customers were surprised, impressed and excited by the beautiful images.
Those voices assured us that overwhelming “realistic sensation”, “three-dimensional feeling”, “realism” of the 8K images have been delivered, and we have gained our belief and commitment to 8K.

Home TV, are purchased on the premise of using it for the many following years. If you will buy a new TV now, I will recommend our 8K TV considering 8K broadcast is just one year away.


70V 8K compatible TV AQUOS 8K


– Finally, how do you think the world of 8K will develop in the future?

(Kitamura) I think it is possible to use 8K for skill development and cultivation of aesthetic sentiments etc., by simulating experiences which cannot be experienced in reality. Moreover, I believe that there is an industry waiting to analyze and utilize the massive amount of information, included in 8K images. To do so, various technologies such as back-end server technology and data storage technology will be required, and these industries should develop together. We would like to promote 8K with such ideas in mind.

Please look forward to the next development of 8K by Sharp.


Through this interview, I’m convinced once again that 8K will show us what we have not seen or expected, and bring discoveries and surprises in our lives. Watching landscapes with 8K TV feels like I’m watching them in reality, and such experience was only in Sci-Fi worlds. Also, I learned the potential of new businesses with 8K, and I look forward to them. Thank you.


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