As the industry begins to move toward 8K displays, with the launch of both consumer and commercial-grade models, Sony is thinking about what’s after 8K. Well, naturally, we just double the resolution again, and that’s exactly what Sony is thinking, with the firm revealing that it is currently installing the largest 16K screen in the world at a new research centre in Yokohama, Japan.
The new research centre has been built for the Japanese cosmetics group Shiseido, and features a 63ft by 17ft display that stretches between the first and second floors. The display itself is made up of several Crystal LED modules, although the individual modules appear as if they’re part of one wide unit. Sony has said before that thanks to the modular nature of its Crystal LED technology, any resolution and size is possible – and now it’s putting its technology where its mouth is.
This isn’t the first time Sony has installed a 16K display, although the previous installation was nowhere near as sophisticated. That’s because that install at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport did not have the invisible gaps that are a major feature of this new screen; it’s why the new display is such an achievement – it’s completely seamless.
Crystal LED technology is similar to OLED, in that it doesn’t need a backlight. It also benefits from being brighter than OLEDs, while delivering similar deep black levels. Unlike OLED, however, Crystal LED is predominantly a commercial AV technology, and has yet to be developed into a consumer-grade unit.
Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Sony Electronics Imaging Products & Solutions Americas, noted, “At last year’s NAB press conference, we explained how Fox Sports was using our Crystal LED display system in Russia to cover an international soccer tournament. I am pleased to tell you that that very same display is now featured at Fox Sports studios in Los Angeles, California. It is being used as a backdrop on a number of their popular programs including Lock It In.
“Another recent installation represents its scalability. The world’s largest system – 16K by 4K – that’s twice the size of what you see here today – has just been delivered to Shiseido, the leading beauty company in Japan to inspire their visitors.”
Unfortunately, there’s little benefit to a 16K display right now as most footage is still produced in either 1080p or 4K. While 8K displays use advanced upscaling to create a more immersive image, Sony has produced its own film for Shiseido to take advantage of the 16K resolution. It’s believed the footage isn’t shot in 16K, and is instead upscaled 8K footage.