The best 8K TVs will deliver you the very best viewing experience you can get today, offering a higher resolution than the now standard 4K and using the very best panel technology you could ask for.
The likes of Samsung, Sony and LG are bringing us some of the very best 8K models, but they don’t come without a premium price tag. If you’re looking for anything less than £1000, then you’ll need to head to our guide for the best TVs under £1000 – while they don’t have any 8K TVs, what they do have is some very high-end 4Ks that are not far off the quality on offer here.
8K TVs tend to make it into our top few in our guide to the best TVs overall, rivalling even the best OLED TVs. And if you’re still not sure what all the fuss is about, read on to find out more about 8K TVs and view some of the best options on the market right now.
What is 8K TV resolution?
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A normal 8K TV will have a resolution of 7680 x 4320. Just as 4K Ultra-HD TVs pack in four times the amount of pixels as Full HD 1080p TVs, 8K quadruples the resolution of 4K.
That means 8K delivers a massive 33 million pixels total, meaning that most people's stills cameras aren't even able to fill it natively with a single image – it's that big and detailed.
What exactly does 8K mean in this context? It refers to screens that are approximately 8,000 pixels across, just like 4K refers to screens of around 4,000 pixels. It's not a very precise categorisation, but 99 percent of the time, when we're talking about 8K, we're talking about the resolutions mentioned above.
All 8K TVs will have advanced upscaling abilities to make sure that 4K or HD content looks good when the resolution is increased to fill the screen. 4K content is relatively easy to upscale for it, but given that only a limited amount of stuff on streaming services and even less on broadcast is available in 4K, upscaling HD will be what really sorts the 8K TVs worth buying from the also-rans. To make things look as good as possible, 8K TVs tend to use 'AI upscaling', and if that sounds like total jargon, then check out our 'What is 8K AI upscaling?' guide.
What does 8K mean in terms of visual quality? Traditional 35mm film is often said to be roughly equivalent to about 6K, so we're beyond the level of detail that the most common film for movies is capable of. IMAX 70mm film is estimated to be more like 12K, but actually the digital effects for IMAX scenes tend to be created in 8K, and if that's good enough for Christopher Nolan, it's good enough for us. If you want a headline description of 8K, it's like having the IMAX experience at home.
The best 8K TVs 2023
Mini-LED is making waves. The Samsung QN900B, with its Neo QLED panel, is hanging ten on those waves and looking damn cool while doing it: this is an absolutely stunning 8K TV, a flagship in every sense of the word, with an incredible picture, great connectivity, and black levels that basically rival anything in the OLED space. There's a replacement coming, the QN900C, if you want the 2023 model.
Sure, it's missing a few features here and there. It doesn't support Dolby Vision, which is related to Samsung's involvement with HDR10+ rather than something wrong with the QN900B.
What you do get is big, bright and colourful. We reviewed the 75-inch variety, and noted that its HDR performance is class-leading, its 4K upscaling utterly convincing, its peak brightness far in excess of OLED (hitting 4,000 nits at one point) and its contrast absolutely remarkable.
The QN900B is the complete package, as our full Samsung QN900B review explains. It's ready for next-gen gaming, with full HDMI 2.1 support and all the VRR, ALL and FreeSync you can eat; big-screen Playstation 5 games have never looked so good. Sound isn't blow-away great, but in the context of a TV this thin and bezel-free (and especially when used in tandem with one of Samsung's Q Symphony soundbars) it sounds pretty darned impressive.
The Samsung QN800A is the model down in Samsung's earlier 2021 range. It delivers effectively all of the same features, including AI-based processing and upscaling, an advanced sound system, and excellent gaming features including HDMI 2.1 support (with 4K 120Hz and Variable Refresh Rate). There's been the QN800B since, and the QN800C is coming too, but if you want older and more affordable 8K then this is an option.
You've still got an ultra-thin design, with the connections and processing all happening in the separate One Connect box, connected to the screen by a single thin cable.
In practice, being the model down means that it doesn't hit the same peaks of HDR brightness, but it remains brighter than almost any other TV on the market today, so still delivers the incredibly vibrancy and realism in bright scenes that we enjoy.
It also features a Mini-LED backlight, and has a huge number of dimming zones to achieve great contrast alongside its brightness, though the precision of the backlight appears weaker than the QN900, so you get more bleeding of the light from bright areas to dark ones. But, to be clear, that's more bleeding of the light than the LCD TV with the least bleeding we've ever seen.
And, of course, you've got the 33 million pixels of the 8K screen, and the best upscaling we've ever seen for making videos take advantage of it. It's a truly impressive TV.
An incredible TV, making use of every inch of Sony's screen know-how… and boy does Sony have a lot of screen know-how. It comes in 75-inch or 85-inch sizes, which will really make the most of the giant resolution.
Sony is using its new-gen of 'Bravia XR' processing, which means that it's designed to adjust the picture not only based on the overall frame, but also by judging where the focus is in a particular image. Given that Sony was already right up there with the best for image processing, this takes it to a new level.
A full array backlight ensures that there's a huge amount of HDR dazzle, with impressively precise contrast. It's not quite at the level that the Samsung Q900B offers, but remains a step above what you get from 4K TVs – and the processing really lets the 8K panel show what it can do.
It's a fairly chunky TV, though not unattractive, and fits in a great sound system. The Samsung might be a slicker package overall, but Sony has really flexed its image quality muscles here, and the result is impressive. It's available in 75-inch or 85-inch versions.
LG makes the world's only 8K OLED TVs, and as you'd expect, they offer truly incredible image quality at a truly incredible price. Available in 77-inch or 88-inch models, it's a bit of a design wonder: the screen itself is ultra thin despite being massive, which means the 88-inch model actually has a stand (with built-in speakers) that you can't detach it from – the structure is crucial to keeping the thing in one piece. The 77-inch model can be wall mounted, though.
It's equally a wonder to watch anything on. All the advantages of OLED are here – perfect per-pixel colour accuracy and incredible contrast – but in a huge beautiful screen that washes over you. LG's image processing for upscaling and dealing with motion blur is excellent too – this deserves to be the centrepiece of any room. As you'd hope, given the cost.
LG's QNED99 8K TV is fairly affordable by 8K standards, and it delivers excellent image quality thanks to its quantum dot Mini-LED display. It's an IPS panel rather than the more common VA panels, and that means it has impressively wide viewing angles. The downside is that IPS panels struggle to deliver the same deep blacks as VA, but LG has done an impressive job here: the black levels come very close to those of VA panels and the brights are very bright indeed.
LG claims that this TV is best in class, and it's packed with features: a fourth-generation AI processor; nanocrystal technology for more vivid colour reproduction; game optimisation; Google Assistant, Alexa and AirPlay; and hands-free voice control. It runs version 6 of webOS and the all-important upscaling – because 8K content is still fairly hard to find – works very well. There's HDMI 2.1 but unlike some rival displays there's no variable refresh rate: it's fixed here at 120Hz. If you're thinking about an 8K TV for serious next-gen console gaming, this may not be the TV for you.
8K TV: what you need to know
What can I watch in 8K?
In native, pure, 8K? Effectively nothing. Even recently, Hollywood has tended to use 6K cameras even when working digitally (and, as we suggested earlier, old films can only really be re-scanned to 6K, though they can then be upscaled, which can be highly effective), so content isn't exactly about to explode, either.
Japan was due to trial the first 8K public broadcasts this year for the Olympic Games, but that's obviously not going to happen any more. Similarly, BT Sport has shown off a live 8K broadcast of a football match in the UK, and announced that it expected to be able to show the 2020/2021 football season in 8K on dedicated channels, but everything's up in the air there due to the pandemic disruption, too.
There are no plans for an 8K disc format currently. Vimeo does now have 8K support for videos, though, and YouTube likes to be at the forefront of these things, so 8K streaming looks to be the future, assuming your internet can handle it.
Samsung is developing a technology called ScaleNet that's designed to make 8K easier to transmit over limited connection speeds, and is especially interesting. It works by using an 'AI' at the transmission end to downscale the image to 4K, then a matching 'AI' that knows exactly how the first one works to upscale it back to 8K – this should preserve more detail than a regular compression algorithm.
We should say that it increasingly looks like the industry may move away from worrying about native resolution, now that upscaling from lower resolutions is becoming so advanced thanks to machine learning. As long as an 8K screen is good enough, it will still offer an advantage no matter whether you throw it HD, 4K 6K or full 8K.
All of the above only solves getting the image to you, not recording it in the first place! We're seeing the first consumer cameras with 8K recording in arriving now: the Samsung S20 Ultra (opens in new tab) includes it, as does the LG V60 ThinQ phone, and the Canon EOS R5 mirrorless camera.
Is 8K gaming a thing?
Gaming in 8K is sort of possible, if you have a ridiculously powerful PC – you'll need two (at least) of the highest-end graphics cards running in tandem, and the games you play will have to have solid support for it.
Both of the next-gen consoles – Sony's PlayStation 5 (opens in new tab) and Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) – have promised to support 8K, but don't expect that to mean that every game will have a true 8K output. That level of power just isn't possible in small boxes right now.
But they will definitely have 8K HDMI support, and may use smart upscaling techniques (similar to what's used now by the PS4 Pro for some demanding 4K games) to create something that looks impressively close to 8K. Time will tell.
So, really, you'll mostly be upscaling existing content. But with a really good upscaler from a 4K video, you actually can still make the most of those extra pixels, especially on a really big screen. It won't look as good as native 8K, but it will look better than 4K, and on a big screen size, that's an improvement worth having.
What HDMI cable to I need for 8K?
Now this is an important – and sexy – question. You can't use the one that came free with your DVD player in 2011, but there is a new HDMI standard that's capable of pushing the number of pixels required for 8K over a single cable. It's called HDMI 2.1, and it has three times the bandwidth of previous HDMI connections.
HDMI 2.1 is backwards compatible with previous HDMI connections, so it's all good for 4K or Full HD using your existing cables, but if you want to connect an 8K source to it, you may need a new higher-speed cable. Cables that are certified to use the full bandwidth of the new connection type are labelled Ultra High Speed HDMI. Whoah.
Is 8K worth the upgrade?
It really could be, but not for the reason you'd assume. Normally, a big resolution jump comes, and we recommend upgrading so you can see beautiful videos in the new resolution… but we've already said that's not the case here.
No, the reason you should buy the one of the best 8K TVs (ie the ones listed above) is because they represent the pinnacle of TV tech – buy them because you want the finest motion processing, HDR performance and colour reproduction known to man. Buy them if you want the best TV available, regardless of resolution.
That's not to totally discount that the higher resolution could be a benefit for you, though. There's a good reason 8K TVs often come in bigger-than-65-inch sizes – that's where you'll see the biggest improvement over buying a 4K TV.
If you live in an average-sized home, with a 50- to 65-inch TV maximum, it's not going to be worth it just for the number of pixels, unless you want to sit really close to the screen and pick on every drop of detail.
But if you've got a bigger space, and are looking at 70-inch+ TVs (or even projectors, since there are 98-inch 8K TVs available), or simply if you want the best TV tech going, then an 8K TV is seriously worth considering.