Samsung Electronics announced Monday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest cellphone provider, to jointly develop and commercialize the world’s first 5G-8K TV for South Korea.

The companies said the new 5G-8K technologies they intend to establish will enable the direct reception of 8K video over the SK Telecom ultra-wideband 5G network. The partners said they expect this to revolutionize the TV watching experience.

Samsung, which currently markets a line of 8K QLED-based LED-LCD TVs in many markets around the world, said it intends to provide its 8K TVs with 5G dongles that will enable direct reception of 8K resolution video content.

The consumer electronics giant’s 8K TVs will also incorporate the company’s advanced 8K AI Upscaling and next-generation codec technologies to upscale and enhance Full HD and 4K Ultra HD images to fill the 8K resolution of the television screen.

SK Telecom will leverage mobile edge computing and network-based media processing for its 5G network to enable 8K video transmissions.

Together, the technologies are intended to let viewers in Korea watch video content of the POOQ joint venture terrestrial over-the-top TV and video subscription service and SK Broadband’s oksusu OTT platform at 8K resolution. POOQ is an over-the-top (OTT) video subscription service offering programs on terrestrial TV, and is a joint platform of Korea’s terrestrial broadcasters.

According to the statement, the two companies will also jointly evolve 5G-8K TV further to deliver a new user experience for eSpace, which is SK Telecom’s hyper-space platform for replicating the real world in cyberspace, and 5G Sero TV, a 5G-based television that can be rotated both horizontally and vertically to provide a smartphone-like UX for TV users.

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The two companies said they will also work together on B2B business models to provide services for the smart office and digital signage by adding 5G connectivity to televisions and displays.

“The 5G-8K TV is the culmination of ultra-low latency 5G networks combined with ultra-high definition TV technology,” stated Park Jin-hyo, chief technology officer and head of ICT R&D Center at SK Telecom. “5G technology will help make the world of hyper media a reality.”

Improving South Korea’s communications environment is a national objective, and SK Telecom has previously launched some of the world’s fastest communication services ahead of foreign rivals, leveraging the technology and manfaturing expertise of Samsung and LG Electronics.

The cellphone provider has been working on initiatives to develop new revenue sources to drive growth in the face of South Korea’s high cellphone penetration rate, and slowing population and economic growth. Building out a 5G-8K ecosystem is seen as a promising step in advancing that objective.

SK Telecom has also recently introduced technologies related to “5G connected screen” at a Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) meeting in July. SK Telecom was designated as the Network Based Media Processing (NBMP) chair company to lead international standardization of 5G connected screen related technologies. As part of that initiative, SK Telecom said has opened a Hyper Media Lab under its ICT R&D Center.

By Greg Tarr

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