Can the general viewing public tell the difference between these three formats?
I would think if they have the proper monitor being displayed in the correct environment and are sitting close enough to it, yes.
The 'general viewing public' ... is a wide sample size 🙂 It's unlikely 'most people' would notice much difference between these three formats. Particularly between 4k & 6 K and then between 6k & 8K.
The more important question is where are the 'public' likely to be able to view 4,6,8K and on what device and how large the display is. 4K has some market penetration and will accelerate. 6 & 8K not so much. Both 6 (5.7K) & 8K are great aquisition formats if you need them but not of great value as a delivery format. Stuff being acquired today in formats greater than 4K are usually downsampled to 4K anyway. Hardware manfacturers will be pushing 8K and above in the coming years but I don't see 'delivery' moving beyond 4K for the near-mid future.
Good question, Michael. My opinion:
It is said that from a realistic viewing distance (your couch > TV distance), humans have a difficult time discerning the difference between HD and 2K. I assume that the perception will be marginal between these new formats. The proliferation of 8K televisions for the general public unless I am missing something.
I doubt any of us will have clients that request an 8K output. Probably until after I retire in 2028.