Samsung and SK Telecom have now announced a partnership in pursuit of 8K TV streaming over 5G mobile networks. The pair will not only work to develop the technology, according to a Memorandum of Understanding MOU signed by the two companies.
It will also work to commercialize at least one final product.
That would mean that shoppers could take full advantage of 8K resolution content at a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels over-the-air.
SK Telecom and Samsung aren't stopping with TVs though. The partnership agreement extends to include the development of 5G in business-to-business (B2B) business models and other products.
First, B2B models will be developed with a specific focus on smart office and digital signage.
Additionally, "5G-8K TV" will be developed with the goal of creating a new user experience for SK Telecom's eSpace platform and 5G Sero TV. The former of those is a platform for replicating the real world in 'cyberspace'. The latter centers around rotatable displays that can provide a smartphone-like experience.
How will 8K 5G TV from Samsung work?
5G networking is at the heart of all of the efforts proposed by SK Telecom and Samsung's MOU but that may not work as expected. That's because, for 8K 5G TV streaming, the television or televisions will work in a couple of different ways. The first is arguably the more obvious approach.
According to SK Telecom, Samsung's upscaling algorithms and technology will be front and center.
Televisions built around Samsung's technology are available in many markets, including the U.S. Samsung isn't the only company working in that space either. TCL is another company that has been pursuing similar goals using QLED sets joined with Roku's streaming platform.
The technology works via AI with 'next-generation codec technologies', adding the ability to take not just UHD 4K but also full HD all the way up to 8K.
In the case of the TV's that Samsung and SK Telecom hope to develop, that will be joined with 5G. In effect, the companies will pair the devices with 5G dongles for direct 8K transmission.
It isn't clear whether that will be an internal add-on or something that plugs in on the outside. That could be either a permanent plug or just something that hangs off on the exterior.
Nevermind the price, what's the timeframe here?
5G in the US is still in short supply, although it is expected to grow rapidly over the next year. But that doesn't mean the 8K 5G sets SK Telecom and Samsung intend to create will ever land there.
Two localized subscription services from the companies' home region, POOQ and oksusu, are expressly referenced. Since SK Telecom's 5G network is also expressly mentioned as part of the deal, sales could feasibly be limited to regions where those are available.
It's also undoubtedly going to be expensive as a first-generation product and with the added functionality. No hints at pricing have been provided.
SK Telecom hasn't provided an exact timeline or even a general timeframe for its collaboration with Samsung. The MOU seems like more of a general agreement than would ordinarily be announced as part of a partnership.
That means there's no real way to pin down how long it will take for the companies' to develop any of the products in question.