In our previous post we touched on how 8k television means a dramatic increase in resolution, but should this technology become a household item, the environmental impact could be substantial. It’s not only unsustainable, but irresponsible and avoidable. We can acknowledge that this extremely high resolution could be utilized in surveillance and science, however companies putting out these televisions advertise them to appeal to home buyers when it is extremely costly for a household to have one, aside from the environmental impact. So how could 8k impact the environment?
- Land and Atmosphere
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.
The amount of material it takes to have bandwidth strong enough to support 4k is high enough, let alone 8k resolution support. The advanced cabling to support it means getting rid of old cable and cable boxes, which will impact the environment by creating more e-waste. There are recycling solutions, but the risk remains for e-waste to be mishandled and contribute to the planet’s deterioration.
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.
Yes, 8k for consumers is unsustainable. This doesn’t mean we think the technology is completely unnecessary. The resolution could actually be crucial for security and scientific research, and our next article will explore the how and why.