Sony builds a MicroLED 16K screen for Japanese cosmetics business

16K is not as ridiculous as it sounds on a 63-foot display. Forward-looking: 8K TVs are on the horizon for consumers, but 16K and above resolutions are working their way towards mainstream adoption for large format displays. Bigger screens necessitate even higher resolutions to maintain similar visual quality because pixel densities become much lower when an equal number of pixels are spread across billboard sized areas.

Big screens have been commonplace for decades now, but have previously compromised on image detail in favor of overall size. Sony has announced a new 16K display at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas that measures in at 63 feet by 17 feet.

At 16 times the pixel count of 4K TVs and 64 times greater than 1080p, onlookers will be able to walk up to the massive display without seeing just a wall of LEDs. Although we have reached the point of diminishing returns on pixel density for small screens, larger displays still have room for improvement.

One of the ideal goals of an ultra high resolution display is to make the image look as life-like as possible. On a large semi-truck sized display, pixel density still needs to be in excess of 50ppi to match that of most consumer grade 1080p TVs. For a viewing distance of more than six feet this is what it takes for most people to be unable to spot the individual pixels.

At Haneda Airport, Sony technically already has a 16K display installed from five years ago, but it is hardly what most of us would call a real 16K display. It is made up of clearly visible smaller panels giving it the appearance of a wall of lower resolution TVs.

Sony’s 16K display is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Your 4K TV and even your 1080p models are still likely going to look better up close, but that could easily change once you take a few steps back to see the entire display from afar.

The 63-foot display is built using MicroLED technology carrying Sony’s Crystal LED marketing speak. It is being installed for Japanese cosmetics Shiseido located in Tokyo. The 16K monstrosity will span the first and second floors of the building.