8K TV Upgrade: Environmental Impact

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In our previous post we touched on 8k television’s dramatic increase in resolution, but is it worth the money? More importantly, is it worth the environmental cost? We can acknowledge that this extremely high resolution could be utilized in surveillance and scientific applications, however the companies that put out these televisions advertise them to appeal to home buyers. Having seen these displays firsthand, I for one cannot see the difference between 4K and 8K.

  1. Television Waste

The rapid evolution of television technology has consumers discarding HD for UHD. Another wave of higher definition will have some buyers keep up make wast. Any technology that is not disposed of properly, ends up in landfills as e-waste. If those landfills happen to be in places with extreme heat, they begin to melt and release dangerous chemicals into the groundwater, polluting vegetation and wildlife. Additionally, some e-waste gets burned. It releases smoke into the atmosphere that contributes to global warming, as well as releasing carcinogenic dioxides that directly affect humans.

2. Infrastructure Waste

The equipment and infrastructure needed to deliver 4K is high enough, let alone 8K resolution support. The networks, data center equipment, and routers would all need upgrades to support 8K, creating even more waste. There are recycling solutions, but the risk remains for e-waste to be mishandled and pollute the environment.

3. Computing Power

8K television won’t only require special fiber cabling for streaming, but the storage and processing required for 8k media is ridiculous. An uncompressed (raw), 100-minute movie in 8K video can be up to 20,000GB. That creates an immense burden on film production considering most hours aren’t used after final edits. The story isn’t much better for the consumer after compression. A 100-minute video can range from 40GB to 70GB. The server capacity, storage capacity, direct power requirements for the equipment, increased cooling power in data centers, and power for the in-home equipment is immense. This is perhaps the most compelling argument to ditch consumer 8K.

4. Misdirected Opportunity

Consumer electronics manufacturers continuing down the path of higher resolution technology is a terrible waste of engineering resources. There are so many other opportunities to enhance the technology with color, dimension, sound, and even the form factor of the equipment. We as consumers need to be aware that data has environmental impact and that there is a limit to what the human eye can detect.

It is our opinion that 8K for in-home entertainment is wasteful, unnecessary, and environmentally unsustainable. This doesn’t mean we think the technology is completely useless. The resolution could be crucial for surveillance and scientific research, and our next article will explore the how and why.

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