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The First 8K Video From Space Is Cool, but Good Luck Watching It in 8K on Earth

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NASA just released the first ever 8K video shot in space. With help from the European Space Agency (ESA), astronauts collected a bunch of clips inside the space station—and a few looking out—using the Helium 8K camera by RED. You can download the original file on NASA’s website. (It’s over 3 gigabytes LOL.) However, you probably cannot find an 8K display on which to enjoy it.

If this year’s CES expressed anything about gadgets, it’s that displays with 8K resolution are the way of the future. Samsung revealed a TV, for example, that uses artificial intelligence to upscale 4K content so that it looks like 8K content. You can now buy that TV, which is not a true 8K TV, for $15,000. Sony and LG showed off prototypes of TVs with actual 8K resolution, though it’s still unclear if or when these TVs will make it to market. Meanwhile, Sharp beat everyone to market and started shipping a 70-inch 8K TV to Europe earlier this year. That bad boy costs about $14,000. Sharp actually worked with RED to produce the device.


“Well, balderdash,” you might be thinking. “You can buy 8K computer monitors on Amazon right now!” Indeed, you can buy one from Dell for $4,000 on the online marketplace, but with a screen size of just 31.5-inches, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get the full effect of the 8K resolution. Based on simple math and the way the human brain works, your eyes won’t be able to tell the difference between 8K, 4K, and even Full HD content if the screen isn’t big enough and you’re not sitting far enough away from it. That’s why we’ve always discouraged readers from buying 4K TVs that are smaller than 55-inches. You might as well save your money and get the 1080p option because you’re probably not going to be able to tell the difference.

None of this is to say that NASA’s new 8K video isn’t awesome. That’s the YouTube version in Full HD above. It’s gorgeous! You get to see cool stuff like astronauts sequencing DNA, a huge hurricane as viewed from space, the opening of an observation deck known as the Cupola, and more. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who bought one of those Sharp 8K TVs or you got your hands on a prototype, however, you’re probably not going to see every amazing little detail that the Helium 8K camera picked up. Wait a couple years, though. The 8K TVs will come, and then you can pull out this NASA file and remember when it was so futuristic, you couldn’t even watch it right.