8K SD Card Specification Announced

SanDisk SD CardBy James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

In preparation for the next step in ultra high definition video, the SD Association announced today their specification for a 5th generation SD card that would support resolutions up to 8K.

“The SD Association (SDA), a global ecosystem of companies setting industry-leading memory card standards, today launched its fastest speed class, Video Speed Class, which also delivers real-time multi-file recording for many applications and supports the highest video resolutions and qualities available today. With Video Speed Class, 4K, 8K, 3D and 360 degree video recordings are now assured and accessible to consumers and professionals alike.” – SD Association announcement

Sd50specAble to support 4K, 8K, 360° and 3D video recording, the SD 5.0 spec will be used to create a new Video Speed class of SD cards for read write speeds of up to 90MB per second for 8K video capture. The cards, with classes ranging from V6-V90, will also serve to support V6, V10 and V30 cards for use in 4K video. But even at the lower end, the V spec promises to deliver smoother video playback and faster writing speeds across the consumer to professional spectrums.

“With Video Speed Class, SD device and memory card manufacturers can offer the highest-quality video recording to consumers and professionals that keep pace with the awesome video resolutions not only offered today, but anticipated tomorrow. New products leveraging the capabilities of Video Speed Class will be based on the high storage capacities offered by SDHC and SDXC memory cards.” – Brian Kumagai, President of the SDA

While the new spec continues to rely on the UHS-II bus, it’s more than enough to handle those high transfer speeds since it was engineered to handle up to 150MB/s. More than enough for the Video Speed Class spec, which will read and write at 90MBps in larger block sizes of up to 512 MB.

This larger block file capabilty will provide for faster performance and takes advantage of the advancements in NAND flash memory technology. The higher performance spec will also enable the 5th generation SD cards to better handle the simultaneous interleaving of up 8 video files for 360° video recording and virtual reality.

Thanks to RED blazing a trail in 8K with Weapon, camera manufacturers already feel the pressure to look past 4K, even though the ultra high definition spec is barely ensconced in the consumer realm.  This is no doubt why the SDA has speeds going all the way down to V6, to better support 4K speeds in point and shoot and consumer grade DSLRs, as well as action cameras. Naturally, the faster the speed the better for shooting ultra high definition video, but the new spec’s handling of larger video blocks makes for smoother performance, even at the lower end.

There’s no word on when the new video speed class cards will be available, or for how much, other than promising it will be “soon.” But according to Anandtech, when the SDA announced the previous SCXC spec in 2009, it took about three months for the spec to filter down into the manufacturing chain.

SDXC supported cameras followed up with a year after in 2010. By 2013, SDXC cards were announced with 4K support, and shortly thereafter in 2014, the Panasonic GH4 came out. So it’s likely that it will hit stores as early as the Fall, or right after CES in January.

To learn more about the Video Speed Class spec, check out the SDA’s new white paper called “Video Speed Class: The new capture protocol of SD 5.0,” here.  Press release can be read here.

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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