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Can your system handle YouTube’s first 8K video?

Ghost Towns in 8K
Video resolutions seem to be continually improving over time. There was a time when 1080p was the gold standard for consumer displays, but that’s beginning to be supplanted by 4K devices — and it seems that 8K isn’t too far off, as the first YouTube video to be displayed in that resolution is available to view right now.

The clip in question is called ‘Ghost Towns’, and was uploaded by filmmaking tutorial specialists Neumann Films. The footage, shot on an RED Epic Dragon camera, can be viewed at resolutions up to 4320p. However, you’ll need a considerably powerful rig to enjoy it in its full 8K glory, not to mention an appropriate monitor. That latter piece will be difficult to find, since it doesn’t yet exist.

8K footage doesn’t just require high-grade equipment during the recording process; playback requires a burly system, too. The increase in detail means that there’s more information for your device to process, so not everyone will be able to enjoy ‘Ghost Towns’ at its highest resolution just yet. In fact, we encountered stuttering on every desktop we tried, including several powered by Intel Core i5 quad-core chips and Nvidia GTX 900 series graphics.

You might ask, then — what’s the point? Progress. When 8K monitors come along, people will want content for them, and manufacturers will want clips they can use as a performance and quality benchmark. Even bandwidth is a serious bottleneck for 8K streaming, so the clip can be a useful metric even if you don’t have an appropriate display or a computer fast enough for smooth playback.

YouTube has apparently offered support for 8K since 2010, according to information gathered by 9t05Google. However, it’s only been very recently that users have been given access to the setting for themselves, and Neumann Films is the first channel to fully take advantage of it. Moving forward, we’re sure to see a host of more 8K content uploaded to the site — even if not everyone’s computer will be capable of streaming it at full resolution.

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Brad Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
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