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Samsung and SK Telecom team up for what they hope is the first 5G-powered 8K TV

Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images

The tech industry loves a good buzzword, and right now two are on the tips of (almost) everyone’s tongues: 8K and 5G. Each is exciting enough on its own but put them together and you’ve got something truly wonderful. That’s what Samsung and South Korea’s SK Telecom are hoping at any rate. The two companies announced a partnership to develop what they call the “world’s first” 8K TV with built-in 5G connectivity.

We use those quotes because it’s quite possible this will not end up being the world’s first such TV. As recently as this year’s IFA show, Sharp announced its intention to build and sell the world’s largest 8K LCD TV, and it will have 5G. In May, Huawei said it was working on an 8K TV with — you guessed it — 5G connectivity. Regardless of which tech giant actually claims the first available-for-purchase 8K and 5G TV, one thing is clear: Some of the biggest consumer electronics brands are making big bets that we’re all going to want TVs that have 8K resolution and that 5G wireless data connections are the logical way to deliver that massively hi-res experience.

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“The 5G-8K TV is the culmination of ultra-low latency 5G networks combined with ultra-high-definition TV technology,” Park Jin-hyo, Chief Technology Officer and Head of ICT R&D Center at SK Telecom, said in a press release. “5G technology will help make the world of hypermedia a reality.”

For those of us living in North America, a 5G-powered 8K world is years away. But in South Korea, both hardwired and wireless data connections are much faster — and will be faster still once 5G is fully rolled out.  When that happens, Pooq, a South Korean video streaming service has said it will give its users the option of watching 8K content over 5G, though there’s no word yet on what kind of content it will stream in this format.

Speaking of things we still don’t know, the release was silent on several key questions: what sizes this new Samsung TV will come in, how much it will cost, and exactly when it plans to start selling them. Will Samsung beat Sharp and Huawei to the 8K-5G punch? Will it even matter, here in the U.S.? We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the latest developments as they happen.

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