Foxconn-owned Sharp has unveiled a new monster of an IPS display panel at CEATEC Japan 2016. The display, which comes in at 27-inches, boasts 8K resolution, and insane 7,680-by-4,320 pixel ratio with pixel density that rivals modern smartphones.
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Along with the insane pixel density, the new Sharp panel features a refresh rate of 120Hz, HDR support, and brightness reaching 1,000cd square m. Needless to say, the display’s picture quality hasn’t failed to impress on the showroom floor in Japan’s Chiba prefecture. It’s obvious, however, once you step to the side and view the display’s massive Xbox One S-eque back panel, that the unit is still knee-deep in its prototyping stage.
It’s also important to note that the unit requires multiple cables in order to drive the panel’s 120Hz refresh rate at 8K. DisplayPort 1.4, which was ratified by the VESA standards body earlier this year, supports 8K resolutions, but maxes out at 60Hz, and that’s when using the new Display Stream Compression.
An 85-inch 8K Sharp panel was also being displayed on the showroom floor, and eye witness accounts noted the strikingly lifelike appearance of the video on screen. Having an 85-inch 8K panel is impressive, but having an 8K panel in a 27-inch form factor would result in quite the experience for Mac users, as the 326 PPI is the same pixel density that you’ll find on an iPhone 7. It should be noted that 27-inches is a number that Apple seems to like, as both its larger iMacs and discontinued ThunderBolt displays were featured in this size.
It’s still up in the air with regards to potential Mac support for 8K displays in the future. DisplayPort 1.3 can support 8K displays running at 30Hz right now, but ThunderBolt 3 uses DP 1.2, which lacks support for 8K. However, ThunderBolt 3 supports 40Gbps, significantly more bandwidth than DisplayPort 1.2, so it’s hard to say exactly what we’ll see. Apple’s support for high resolution displays has lately been sort of a mess, and let’s be honest, 8K displays are still several years away from being widely available and affordable.
It’s a great time to go 4K
But even if 8K isn’t in the immediate cards, there are still major benefits to going with a higher resolution 4K display if your Mac supports it. There’s a decent selection of 4K monitors available right now, and these can significantly help productivity if your type of work, namely video and photo editing, can benefit from the additional real estate.
Japanese company Sharp, which was acquired by Foxconn earlier this year, is in the midst of a restructuring that it hopes will reverse its fortunes amid steep financial losses. Back in May, a decision was made to replace nearly the entire Sharp board, including then-CEO Kozo Takahashi, by Foxconn-appointed officials. The changes were expected to be finalized in June.
Along with its traditional long-standing TV business, Sharp is also looking to get into manufacturing OLED displays for smartphones within the next year. The move is being spurred on thanks to a 200-billion Yen investment by Foxconn.