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Video: How Much Bandwidth Will You Need to Deliver 8K?

Learn more about 8K streaming and emerging codecs at the next Content Delivery Summit.

Watch Peter Chave's keynote, The Future of TV Delivery, on the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript from this video:

Peter Chave: 4K, whether we wanted it or not seven years ago, happened. I believe the industry will be driven the same way for 8K, mainly because the TV manufacturers want us to buy more TVs at the same rate that we replace our other consumer electronics.

Waiting a decade to replace your TV? Ugh, no! With smart TVs particularly, you're going to be wanting the next processor. It's going to be like buying a laptop. So you're going to get an 8K panel whether you want one or not.

And so if we're going to have to deliver 8K, what does that mean for us as OTT providers? Well, first of all, let's ask the bandwidth question. 4K today, which we deliver using HEVC is around 16Mbps. So worst-case math, that would be 64.

Now we know that the way that HEVC was written is it actually was designed to handle 8K. We thought about this, so we came up with these useful coding tree units, which are scalable and elastic. We know it's going to be more efficient at 8K.

Also, we have two new codecs coming down the pipe. We have AV1 and VVC, Virtual Video Codec, which is the next MPEG iteration of HEVC, are going to be at least 20%. VVC is aiming to be at least 50%, but it's somewhere around 30 today. AV1s are about on par with HEVC, but it's got more tools coming.

We know it's going to be better. In 3-5 years I expect these things to work out. So we should be realistically somewhere between 40 to 50, probably on the lower end of that scale for 8K.

So, 40 megabits per second, can I deliver that to a house? Well, the good news is, today even in China we could do that. There's enough bandwidth in kind of the average mean fixed speed. Some markets maybe not, some for mobile, would be challenging, but 40 Mbps is totally doable. In 3-5 years, given how fast bandwidths have grown, I think we should be in good shape. So I think we can deliver 8K when we get there.

So this brings me to my fourth prediction, which is 8K content will form the top bitrate of the ladder right around the World Cup in 2020. And given that Blackmagic now does a nice video switcher, a complete ATEM for like 10 grand, I think it's within the realm of possibility that we're going to start producing in this as well. But again, we're going to get into glass and life and all that stuff.

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