Chinese display maker BOE has unveiled a truly massive 110-inch 16K TV, putting the hordes of 4K TVs and projectors on the market to shame.
This seismically large prototype packs in a 16K resolution, with four times as many pixels as an 8K screen, and 16 times the pixel count of 4K. It was shown off at SID Display Week 2023 in Los Angeles, to celebrate BOE’s 30-year anniversary with a showcase of cutting-edge resolution far beyond the average television (via Heise.de).
The display’s size is clearly on par with most home theater projectors, with the added flex of the 16K resolution, which you won’t find from any of the best projectors.
As a prototype, though, you can’t buy this display yet – and probably wouldn’t want to. While the pixel count is truly jaw-dropping, this BOE screen cuts corners elsewhere to make its creation more feasible, with a mere 400 nit maximum brightness – the same the cheapest TVs on the market, and far below the 1,400 nits you get from the likes of the high-end Samsung S95C.
You’re also making do with a 60Hz frame rate, rather than the 120Hz standard expected from the best TVs today, and an LCD panel rather than the OLED, QLED or Mini-LED technologies that true cinephiles will actually be after. Not to mention the rather messy array of 16 DisplayPort cables currently needed to funnel all that visual information to the screen (and you thought your current cable setup was untidy…).
And, of course, the question remains as to whether 16K TV resolution is adding much benefit anyway.
The case for 16K
Will a 16K TV ever be worth it? BOE isn’t the first to show off a 16K screen; Sony unveiled a similarly specified display back in 2019, with a more impressive 1,000 nit brightness, but it’s made from modular panels rather than being all one screen, as the BOE unit is.
The thing is, even the best 8K TVs are still niche propositions, despite some heavy marketing from Samsung over the years, and you generally get diminishing returns after hitting a 4K benchmark; the human eye can only discern so much detail at a regular viewing distance, after all.
8K content is incredibly rare already, so you can imagine that 16K content is basically nonexistent – and likely to stay that way. The big studios barely produce anything at 8K yet, there’s not about to be a jump to four times that resolution.
At the very least, BOE’s screen is a reminder that TV specifications are always being pushed to the next level – and that what we see as peak performance (4K, or 8K) can easily be dethroned by the next big technological advancement. Just don’t throw away your 110-inch projector just yet.