4.0 out of 5 starsFar from perfect, but still a great value for a 4K UHD TV
ByWayneon June 27, 2013
The Seiki 4K TV's are relatively new and have recently made some headlines with being one of the first manufacturers to build a 4K TV for a fraction of the price of the competition. There are many questions that I have such as what, if any, sacrifices were made to get such a low price, how does it work as a PC monitor, gaming possibilities, blu-ray, low-def content, etc. So let's jump in and see how it does!
DESIGN & INPUTS:
First thing to note is how the TV is being used. It's in a medium sized Media/Game room that measures about 14' x 13', give or take a few inches. There are 2 windows with blackout curtains. And I'm normally sitting anywhere from 4 ft (at my desk) to 11 ft (couch) away. This room has a couple of computers, so it's used as an office / game & media room (aka "man cave").
The TV is only about 2" deep and has thin ¾" border around the screen. However, there is a larger "base" at the bottom where the included stand mounts. This protrudes towards the back another 1". It also only weighs about 50lbs.
The TV is currently sitting on a mobile TV cart with it's included stand so I can roll it around as I compare it to my Toshiba 50L2200U 50-Inch 60Hz LED-LCD HDTV that is mounted on the wall. I wanted time to review before making a commitment to replace the already pretty darn awesome Toshiba. :) It's only about a foot lower and is using the same sources. The stand is a bit wobbly if you bump it, but I shouldn't need it for long.
There is also a 2" wide LED "bar" on the front of the TV that changes from blue (on) to red (off). Even though it's larger than necessary and can't be turned off, it's dim enough so I never even notice it when I'm watching TV, even at night. The buttons are on the right side towards the outer edge, facing back. If you mount on a wall, you'll need to feel around for the buttons if you can't find the remote.
You can check out the specs to see what inputs it has. The main inputs I'm focusing on are the 2 downward facing HDMI inputs and 1 side HDMI input. It lacks Optical Out, but does have Coaxial Out (RCA type of cable for S/PDIF). Just a note as some may want to have a way to route high quality audio to an external source. In particular, if you don't have a 4K compatible receiver (more on that later). Otherwise it has all of the other inputs and outputs most folks are looking for.
So how does it look? After its calibrated, most content looks excellent. As with most TV's the default profiles leave much to be desired. My sources are OTA (Over-The-Air) HDTV, Blu-Ray, DVD, a Media Center PC, and a gaming PC. I don't currently have cable or satellite. There have been some mixed results though.
As with all high resolution displays, lower res content will suffer a bit without up-conversion. This is exaggerated even more when you are up-scaling from "normal HD" (720/1080p) up to Ultra HD (4K2K or 3840x2160). As with virtually all high def TV's this is already done for you, on some level. Although the quality of that will most certainly vary depending on the TV (or external scaler) involved and source material. There are considerably more pixels that have to be filled in on a 4K TV so the quality can vary.
I'm going to have separate sections for the various sources as there was quite a bit to cover. So I'm focusing on overall picture quality of the TV itself. And well, overall, it looks very nice; once calibrated of course (see section below). This is very important. Out of the box this TV had one of the worse picture quality I've seen in quite a while, almost entirely due to Noise Reduction being turned on by default for every input.
The TV does have local dimming where it tries to improve overall contrast ratio by limiting the back-light to only what needs light. You're really only going to notice this on a specific scenes where there isn't much content on the screen. Such as a small opening logo on the screen. It does a good job of limited this so it's not annoying. For example, the first fight scene in Star Wars III is a good test, as it's entirely filmed in space. Black levels looks great, no obvious signs of local dimming, colors were vibrant, no blurring, etc. It's also more than bright enough for daytime viewing with minimal glare. I even had to turn down the brightness at night time.
Side viewing angles are pretty darn good. If you want to get picky, the magenta test pattern does indicate a slight red tint when viewing off angle. In my case, that's standing about 8 ft back, and moving to the sides at least 4-5 ft off center. However, when watching "normal" content at this distance, there was no obvious change in picture quality or tint. When sitting off center at my desk, 4 ft away, you will notice the image start to dim a bit. That's expected and perfectly acceptable for me.
Overall image uniformity is equally impressive and one of the best I've seen, if not quite "perfect." Displaying bright solid color test patterns on the TV, in a dark room, does reveal some spots that are ever so slightly darker (or brighter depending on the pattern) than the rest. We're talking about getting overly critical here folks. This isn't even something I can notice with normal viewing, but I'm throwing it out there regardless.
OTA TV (720p / 1080i @ 60hz):
We'll start with OTA (Over-The-Air) HDTV first. This basically involved a Coax cable connected directly to the TV via an HD Antenna and allowing the internal TV tuner do the work. Keep in mind that OTA will vary depending on the channel, but they are normally either 720p or 1080i. And this is also where I ran into my first issues.
At this time I'm not able to turn off Noise Reduction in the menu. This is available with most TV's and is meant to help clean up lower quality signals (i.e. non-HD content). I can toggle it off and to other levels, but when I go back into the menu, it turns itself back to Medium. This doesn't happen with HDMI inputs.
Unfortunately this has a noticeably negative effect on picture quality. At it's worst it has a very pixelated and almost ghosting effect to the image, especially skin-tones. In addition, I'm seeing A/V sync issues, where the audio isn't quite in sync with the video. I suspect the two are related.
I've already updated the Firmware, but didn't have any effect. I'm waiting to hear back from Seiki technical support and will update as needed (see update at bottom).
MEDIA CENTER & BLU-RAY (PC/1080p @ 60Hz):
I have a dedicated Media Center PC that I normally use for OTA TV, Blu-Ray, and playing hundreds of TV Shows and Movies from various local and internet sources. I've "digitized" most of my DVD/Blu-ray library in high quality 1080p. Unfortunately the older Nvidia GT430 video card in this system isn't capable of outputting to 4K, so we're limited to 1080p.
Which is just fine as I've found everything here to look excellent. And I wanted to test a good "Normal HD" source since that's what most are going to be using right now anyways. It's only when you sit close to the TV (around 4-5 ft) that you start to notice some minor pixelation from the TV up-scaling lower res content. Also, since the TV Tuner in the PC has the liberty of going through HDMI, I don't have Noise Reduction to contend with! Blu-Ray movies are playing with PowerDVD 12 and they also look excellent. I've been watching stuff on here non-stop as I evaluate the TV and adjust settings.
So far, so good. Everything look comparably crisp and clear compared to my Toshiba at normal viewing distances. Even though the colors on the Seiki are definitively a bit more vibrant.
PC MONITOR (4K @ 30hz):
At this resolution, who wouldn't want to at least consider the idea of using the TV as a PC monitor? For this task I have to move to my main gaming rig (more on that below) as the Nvidia GTX 680 graphics card has HDMI 1.4 and can actually output a resolution of 3840x2160, albeit at 30 Hz. I've also had to bypass my Onkyo receiver as it doesn't have 4K pass-through. This is something to keep in mind because if your source is connected to the receiver before the TV, it's not going to be aware that you have a 4K TV connected at the other end.
As you've probably already read, one of the biggest complaints folks have is the limitation of the current (and latest) HDMI 1.4 spec being used with video cards, in that this is as good as it gets. No 60 or 120 Hz at any 4K resolution until you jump back down to 1080p or lower.
However, if you just want to use this as a normal PC Monitor, surf the web, or just multi-task like crazy, there are no issues with the lower refresh rate. The scaling is perfect at it's default settings and everything is very crisp & clear. Just don't expect to read anything from the couch unless you increase the DPI scaling and/or font/text size within your OS. The text is quite small!
There is a very slight amount input/refresh lag with the mouse. It's minor, and probably won't bother you with basic apps on the desktop, but still noticeable to my sensitive gaming self.
Since the PC is the only true 4K source I have in the house, I fired up several 4K videos from YouTube as well some nice looking 4K images I have. Put simply, they looked excellent. However, depending on the videos, some did have choppiness due to only being 30 Hz, while others seemingly ran perfectly smooth. I suspect this will be one of the biggest complaints when relying on your PC for 4K goodness.
GAMING (4K @ 30 Hz):
I'm using a 20' HDMI 1.4 cable to connect my nearby gaming PC directly to the TV. There is no "game mode" on the TV, so what you see is what you get. And that is basically 4K resolution at 30 FPS (Frames Per Second). Most PC gamers are used to being much closer 60 FPS as it does result in smoother game-play.
Console gamers or perhaps less hard-core PC gamers who are probably either used to the 30 Hz they've been playing with on the TV for years may simply not notice and/or care. For my test I fired up Battlefield 3 and Starcraft II, set them to the max resolution, turned on vertical sync, and lowered the details enough to ensure a consistent frame rate. That was usually around low to medium settings, by the way.
Vertical sync will keep the frames capped at the max the display can handle, which in this case is of course 30 FPS. In addition to preventing screen tearing, this limits widely varying frame rates which can also result in a more negatively perceived gaming experience. Being an RTS (Real-Time Strategy) game, SC2 is actually playable, although input lag was more noticeable here than at the desktop. In BF3, being the FPS (First Person Shooter) that it is, was a bit worse; basically unplayable for me.
While the graphics looked awesome on this TV, I won't be playing any serious games at this resolution. 60 Hz would definitely improve the overall experience, but that won't help input/refresh lag on it's own, and may not even be available for PC's until future revisions of DisplayPort (which the TV doesn't have).
GAMING (1080p @ 120 Hz):
At first I didn't bother with this as the input lag noted above was an issue. However, it would appear after the recent Firmware update I applied, it has drastically improved input lag and delay at 1080p. Unfortunately there was no change at 4K resolution. After selecting "Customize..." within the NVIDIA Control Panel (under Resolution) I was able to select 1920x1080 @ 120 Hz, Progressive.
This simple change from 60 to 120 Hz is even noticeable at the desktop where text is suddenly much sharper and clearer. I could actually use this as a gaming monitor sitting perhaps 3 ft away. Of course this isn't anywhere near the crispness of 4K due to scaling, as some smaller text is still blurry this close; but not bad. So I tried out SC2 and BF3 again and they are indeed very playable, running right up there at 120 FPS. The Nvidia GTX 680 has no problem keeping up. Although to maintain 100+ FPS, I have had to bump down the resolution on games just a bit from their maxed out settings.
TV MENU & 120 Hz:
Before I get into calibration, I should first mention that there are very few settings to adjust on this TV. What I list below is all you get for HDMI picture quality adjustment. Also note that you can't adjust any of the preset modes (Movie, Normal, & Dynamic). Once you make a change, you're into the 4th "User" Picture Mode. Each input also has it's own memory for settings.
In fact, the menu in general is very basic. You've got Picture, Audio, Time, Setup, Lock, and Channel settings. In each menu, there are only a couple of settings. And none of these let you control 120 Hz or enable some form of "motion smoothing," as it's often called (and often assumed to be present with 120 Hz TV's). It's just something the TV does automatically in certain display modes, such as when it's requested by the source.
When watching movies, I'm rather sensitive to 120 Hz (or higher) motion smoothing as I often find this feature quite bothersome and always turn it off. I find it kills the cinematic feel of the film. Just person preference of course. The good news is that in my testing I really haven't seen it's effects anywhere.
The menu also annoyingly goes away if you don't push a button after about 10 seconds. I don't expect a lot for a non-smart TV, but a bit more adjustments would be nice. Although it's still a relatively minor issue as I was able to get a nice picture with it's limited menu.
This is a combination of adjusting on the fly and a bit of help from the Disney World of Wonder calibration disc. Which I should add, is a must-have for HD TV's. Since some of this is indeed personal preference, you may just want to use this as a starting point and go from there. Also see "Menu" section above regarding lack of options.
*** Note: If there's one setting you do adjust, make sure you turn off Noise Reduction. I noted this previously, but feel it deserves mention again. It has such a negative effect on HD picture quality I can easily see why somebody would want to return the TV if they didn't check that menu setting. ***
Disclaimer: I'm not an "A/V expert" by any means and I'm still playing with these few settings. Although these are so basic, it's hard to mess it up. :)
Contrast: 61 Brightness: 46 Color: 48 Tint: Can't adjust with HDMI Sharpness: 0 Color Temperature: Normal Noise Reduction:Off (In Setup Menu) DLC (Dynamic Luminance Control): Off
Advanced: Can't use, only for VGA input
SOUND & REMOTE:
There really isn't a nice way to put this, but the built-in "speakers" are pretty bad - even for a flat panel TV. They are down-firing speakers and are located on the bottom of the TV. They have a very "tiny" and weak sound to them. Changing the mode from Stereo to Surround helps as it at least gives the impression the sound is coming from the front, versus somewhere on the sides. Quite unusual. Although in my case, I'll be running to a surround sound system, so I won't bash them too much.
The remote is very basic and almost as bad the speakers. Which may be partially due to the IR receiver on the TV, which is located right next to the LED bar on the front. It has all of the right buttons, but it's not universal, and is very picky as to how you're pointing it at the TV. Just the wrong angle or not directly at the IR sensor, and it'll ignore your input. Or it will register additional button pushes 1-2 seconds after you've stopped pressing them.
One nice feature is a Picture Mode toggle button. So it's got that going for it. I'll have to keep that in mind as I program my Harmony Remote to take over. :)
+ Thin design + Great value for a 4K TV + Contrast ratio + Vibrant colors and accuracy + Viewing angles + Picture quality + LED Backlit + 1080p Gaming @ 120 Hz + Good scaling of "Normal HD" content to 4k + Ultra HD 4K Resolution! + 3 HDMI Inputs
- OTA TV Issues (Noise Reduction & A/V Sync) - Limited Menu Options (i.e. Picture Adjustments) - Can't adjust 120 Hz setting - HDMI 1.4 limited to 30 Hz @ 4k. - Input/Refresh Lag @ 4K/30Hz - Cheap Remote - Low quality speakers - No DisplayPort Input - No Optical Out (It does have Coaxial for S/PDIF) - Wobbly Stand
Well, this review ended up being way longer than expected. But hopefully I was able to give you enough organized information so you can find what you're looking for out of this TV. At least from my personal experiences and opinions. The big question is probably whether or not you should even buy a 4K TV right now with such limited content available.
I think if you're in the market for a new TV and you can find one in your budget, there's no harm in going a little future proof. And with 4K I think it's safe to say you're good for the next couple years. :) And just remember, new 4K hardware and content is already rolling out.
At this time, I'm going to give this 4.5 stars with a reserved recommendation depending on what you're expectations are for this TV. And of course, pending feedback from Seiki with regards to the OTA TV issues. That's mostly based on the pure "4K TV value factor" going on here. The TV Tuner is not something I'm personally going to use, and most of the negatives aren't relevant to my needs; but do want to follow up for those interested. I'll be updating the review as I get more info.
Feel free to comment with any questions and I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks!
*** UPDATE 7/02/13: ***
I spoke with a Seiki Technician regarding not being able to disable the Noise Reduction feature with OTA TV. Apparently, that's "working as designed." I explained the negative effect it has on the picture, but it doesn't look like there is anything they can do about it as they believe it should be on. Perhaps if enough folks complain they'll "fix" that menu option and even keep it Off by default for all inputs.
I've also decided to use this TV as my main PC monitor (via HDMI 1.4a). It's been a few days since I made room for this huge "monitor" on my desk and it's been pretty darn awesome. I just run at 4K/30 Hz for desktop tasks and then switch over to 1080p/120Hz for Gaming. So far the only issue I've had is when Windows turned off the display (i.e. power management), it would intermittently cause the TV to go into it's power-off state (red LED) and not respond until I pulled the power cable.
Disabling this feature in the OS has so far resolved that issue. Going in and out of stand-by or hibernate hasn't caused any issues. The technician did suggest removing power for 3 hours to allow everything to fully reset, should issues persist. Otherwise everything is working well.
*** UPDATE 2/21/14: ***
I just wanted to hopefully have a final update to address a few FAQ's in the comments. First, the TV is still working great as a PC monitor/TV. The input/refresh lag is something you just either get used to, or not. I personally wont use it for games @ 4K. But as a large 4K desktop monitor or gaming @ 1080p/120hz, it's still impressive even months later. It's actually hard going back to a "normal" size monitor.
The other most common question is whether or not this TV will get an upgrade to HDMI 2.0, which supports 4K @ 60Hz. Unfortunately, at this time I haven't heard anything from Seiki regarding the possibility of a Firmware update, or if it's something the TV is even capable of handling. They still haven't released a firmware to address the previous issues I noted in the review, and that was back in May 2013. So it's likely this will be something made available with future models. Some more expensive brands, such as Sony, can be upgraded. But we're at a much lower price point here.
Also keep in mind that even if you have a TV that supports HDMI 2.0, the source, and cable must also support the same HDMI spec (or newer). Otherwise you may run into issues. My suggestion is to simply buy it for what it is right now. Which is, as the title says, a great value for a 4K TV. Enjoy! :)
1.0 out of 5 starsBroke after 4 months and wont honor 1 year warranty
Bynahon July 8, 2013
Update November 20, 2013. After finally getting through to Seiki, they approved the return shipping of the broken tv, at my cost ($220). Seiki sent me another one that has an inch line of dead pixels on the left lower screen, it is very noticeable, so that is unacceptable. Of course I sit on hold forever, again. I can tell you I'm not going to spend another $220 to ship it back to them on top of the $1620 I have already spent.
Update Oct 18, 2013. Seiki will not send me the shipping info to send it back. After sending the amazon receipt I haven't been able to get them to respond. For the last 3 weeks I've been sitting here with a dead tv calling them getting sent to voicemail after holding for 15 minutes. What a scam.
Update Oct 1 2013, after 4 months it died today. Called customer support and I had two options. 1) they place a hold of $850 on my card and they send a replacement, and then I send the deffective back. Or 2) I pay for mailing the tv to Michigan and they send me a replacement. Either way I have to pay to ship it back. So much for Seiki trying to build brand reliability for me. At least customer support was easy, lets see if they accept my return and send me a class A replacement in a smooth and timely manner.
All of my pc games received an instant boost to the next generation, I'm really amazed at how good the increase in resolution makes pc games. The 30fps is not ideal but is fine for most every game. There are some that you can turn vsync off and there is little screen tearing and get over 100fps for driving games. There are some bugs on some games that don't allow AA but you really don't need it anyway. I was at the point where all games were the same old thing but now I play everything as if its the first time seeing HD. As for non 4k tv and movies its basically a budget lcd and the dot doubler is not an upscaller so not much improvement in 1080 stuff. Youtube 4k content is automatically downscalled by yt to 2k resolution but it still looks much crisper and better than 1080p. There is also an overscan issue on 1080 that could bother some people. I would recommend this to pc gamers only. Once 4k movies become available from maybe ps4 then others could jump on.
I use it as a computer display. It's really too big. I think that if you are considering buying this, you either know if you want a 50" 4K display on your computer or not. I really can't comment on its use as a tv. So if you are looking for information about that, look elsewhere.
It is everything they say it is. So I also don't see the point in praising it. I gave it 5 stars. That's my praise.
I will however, point out some things maybe you hadn't thought of. I run it off an HD7770. Plugged it in and went. 50" is big. It's like 4 25" 1080p monitors. That is awesome, but the top two are so far away I haven't done anything up there yet. I"m constantly moving and resizing windows. Also, if you have multiple monitors you usually angle them towards you. That's not an option with one big screen.
I really wish they'd get this wake on signal from computer sorted out. I have another Seiki TV that worked just fine as a computer monitor. This powers off after disuse, and you have to manually turn it back on. Waking the computer won't do it automatically. Also, when it goes to sleep, and then when you turn it back on, it resizes everything up to your top window. I wish it'd just rememeber where everything is. Some guy on here claims to have it working by plugging it into a ups, but I don't have such a magical device.
I am picky about imagery---I notice artifacts in video compression, dislike excessive unsharp mask, detect mismatched color temperatures, and nitpick over brightness details and aspect ratios. I am a digital artist and create very high-resolution imagery, and bought this monitor for daily use as my primary computer monitor. I have little intention of using it to watch broadcast UHD TV, don't care about 3D or Smart TV, and don't even watch Blu-ray movies much. The Seiki seemed like a winner, for a price that I can afford.
In summary: this is a screen for television, not art or computer monitors. And it has some annoying habits that are hard to work around. (Edit: I will try the xrandr modelines posted by the previous reviewer; this may affect my rating and comments.)
Pros: this monitor truly does have 3840x2160 pixels, and that part is great. I put some full-resolution JPGs on a USB stick and viewed them using the built-in file browser. (It doesn't read PNGs!) The images looked like a large printed transparency over a lightbox. It was awesome. I wish I could turn down the sharpness (televisions should always have a "game" mode which turns off all the always-poorly-done image processing and let the signal go through unhindered, but this screen does not offer that), but I can't, even though the manual states that in "User" picture mode I should be able to. If anybody knows how to turn the sharpness down, I would love to hear about it! (see edit)
Cons: a lot. The screen brightness is not very even: the edges noticeably dimmer than the middle (when viewing from ~3'). There is a large blue bar light at the bottom middle of the frame that I'll need to tape over to eliminate. Worse, I cannot get a 1920x1080 pixel signal to fill the screen! There outermost 20-30 pixels are black, which cuts off most of the desktop toolbars. With the NVIDIA setup tool, I can eliminate that overscan, but then I only get ~1840x1014 pixels (that is NOT 1080p) AND those pixels are poorly scaled up by the NVIDIA driver so that small text is difficult to read (some strokes are sharp, others fuzzy). In addition, without being able to turn the sharpness down, everything (in all resolution modes) looks posterized and overly unsharp-masked like a Russian magazine from the 1980s. Images that look great on a real 1920x1200 computer monitor (like my older LaCie 324) look very bad---detail is wiped out in the posterization, and edges are hyper-accentuated. (Again, once I try the previous reviewer's modelines, this may improve.)
Once I am able to get a newer video card that supports the full resolution and figure out how to turn off all sharpening, this might become a useful computer monitor. Until then, though, the Seiki SE50UY04 remains a possibly-watchable television, and completely unusable for critical artwork.
EDIT (2013-06-11): Originally 3 stars, upgraded to 4 stars now
I installed a new GTX660Ti last night and some of the problems have been rectified. Windows 7 correctly uses the full 3840x2160 pixel resolution (after a second reboot). The "Sharpness" control becomes available at the full resolution, and cranking that all the way down to "0" eliminates the horrible unsharp-mask effect that causes all dark text to have a white halo (and vice versa). Plus, there is no overscan (the image goes right to the screen edges). I have not booted into Linux to try the suggested modelines.
One new deficiency that I now notice is that in 3640x2160p30, the image or backlight appears to flicker. I don't recall seeing that at 1080p60, and I am not convinced yet that it isn't my imagination.
And while viewing images, I still think that the posterization-like effect has not been removed (there appear to be larger blocks of color instead of each pixel having its own, unique color. I sought out very high quality images (I make them sometimes), and this effect did not go away. This monitor will probably still annoy color/graphics experts.
EDIT (2013-06-14): Really liking it now
I'm running some OpenGL artwork on it now, and it is remarkably sharp, and surprisingly not jerky. I had expected the 30Hz framerate to make the resulting motion look bad, but we were all surprised at how smooth it looks. Plus, with most of the screen dark, I no longer notice backlight flickering (which may have just been my eyes). The new problem is that at full-resolution, it's hard to find your mouse pointer on the screen.
Graphics programmer alert: use FreeGLUT instead of the older GLUT if you want to run anything fullscreen. The old GLUT doesn't recognize the resolution mode.
EDIT (2013-06-24): Price paid
I paid $1386 a few weeks ago, but search for "amazon price history" for price logging info.
I use this TV for mostly gaming and a little bit of movie watching. As people have stated before me, the speakers on this TV leave room for improvement, but with the $60 sound bar that i have had everything sounds great.
The visuals are nothing short of amazing. Connected to this I have a Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii, and GameCube. All of the HD consoles(the first 4) look amazing. I was a little worried going in that the up-scaling would make the images look pixelated and blurry, but i couldn't have been more wrong. Before this I had played on both a 1080p 55" TV, and a 1080p 32" TV. Amazingly this TV delivers the sharpness of the 32" while keeping the detail of the 55". It really does look amazing.
The only cons of this are the speakers, the base is kind of wobbly (but once you put it somewhere you aren't going to move it so its not really a big deal), and the limited options you have in the menu. The menu is very basic and doesn't give you the options that many other, name brand, TVs give. Honestly those are my only complaints, and none of them have anything to do with how the TV looks.
Worth the money. Will be buying the HDMI 2.0 version when it comes out.
For those who are looking for color corrected values for PC/Computer use, try these:
Final Settings: Contrast: 49, Brightness: 46, Colour: 37, Sharpness: 0, Backlight: 55, Standard Advanced Menu Settings: Red Gain: 110, Green Gain: 110, Blue Gain: 110 (higher settings means brighter screen) Red Offset: 530, Green Offset: 530, Blue Offset: 530 (higher settings means darker areas are lighter)
Do not change the advanced menu settings if you can help it as you can mess up default color settings. But to access the advanced menu it is Menu + 0000. Again this is as a LAST RESORT. The red gain, offset, green, blue, etc (above values is close to the "Warm" preset. So technically going to "Warm" you won't have to mess with red, green, blue, etc settings. Altho the backlight value is something that you can easily change and you absolutely have to if you're using this as a monitor, as it is TOO BRIGHT.
********************** EDIT: 07/15/2014 If you ever mess up your settings you can upgrade the firmware and you will get everything back. By the way you can upgrade the firmware from the service menu but also you can unplug the power and plug the USB stick then plug the power in while holding down the MENU button on the TV itself for atleast 5-10 seconds. It does not do it unless you hold the MENU button (which Seiki DOES NOT mention on their website upgrade instructions....).
The picture itself is fine. In fact, what 4K I have seen is stunning. Here's the thing though - the sound STINKS and at minimum volume is still really loud. It's like listening to Mozart on a transistor radio. Here's the strange thing - If you have Verizon Fios, don't expect to use your remote on this TV. No matter what key you press on the Fios remote, it will either raise of lower the volume. It's really the oddest thing. For instance, if you hit the FF key, it will FF the content that you're watching but it will raise the volume at the same time. I called tech support about this and while they know about the issue, they offer no work around to it.
As I mentioned the sound is shockingly bad on the TV, so I got a Zvox sound bar and it's a really good product but guess what? Those crummy speakers? You can't turn them off. So when I use the FIOS remote the TV is getting jealous and still messing with the TV volume even with the Zvox soundbar working perfectly. Seiki's solution? Plug something in to the headphone jack on the back to shut off the speakers. Unreal.
Edit: I just wanted to share the email I got from Seiki customer service:
"1) Unfortunately, the FiOS remote is incompatible with Seiki TVs and changes settings inadvertently on the TV. There is no fix for this.
2) You can disable the built in TV speakers by plugging in headphones into the jack on TV."
For the record, the headphone fix doesn't work. I plugged in 3.5mm headphones (my iPhone headphones) into the jack and the speakers didn't shut off nor did the headphones work.
Just got off the phone with Customer Support - The first guy was setting up an RMA for the item and put me on hold. I waited on hold for a half hour and he never came back.
Second guy said that the last firmware update broke the headphone fix and that they were working on another firmware update for it. There was no window on when it would be ready. He also said that rolling back the firmware wasn't suggested. When I said that they broke my TV, he suggested that I contact Amazon to bring it back.
Based on all this, I can't seriously recommend this TV to anyone. The company is a mess and can't support its own products.
This is a fantastic bare-bones S-MVA LCD panel which does exactly what it sets out to do - get 2160p capable displays into consumers' living rooms and home workstations for under $1000. There are no fancy bells or whistles here, but rather a mid-to-high quality LCD panel with a ridiculous number of pixels, a native 120Hz refresh rate and a ~6ms response time. For something which is advertised as a television, it sure does a fantastic impression of a high-end computer monitor as well.
This is exactly how I use this set: connected to my HTPC/gaming rig in the living. The versatility of this monitor makes it well suited for this purpose, as it can be switched seamlessly between 1080p, 1440p and 2160p (or basically anything else) on the fly, depending on what your needs are for the moment. The panel is not picky - if a display format fits inside HDMI 1.4, this monitor will display it like a champ, and the 50" version is the perfect size for someone wanting to play video games from the sofa while sitting 2-3m away.
In 1080p and 2160p, the panel looks fantastic once you get it calibrated. This is not a quick process, and the monitor will not look great out of the box (as others have mentioned) - it took me about a week of trial and error to get it perfect. Some have commented that the picture will either look over-saturated, or lose black detail, and I had the same experience at first, but with a little bit of patience and some calibration utilities, I think the result is fantastic. Colors are vivid, whites are crisp, and blacks are properly detailed after adjusting both the menu options and the global color settings for my video card. The amount of dynamic range you can squeeze out of this panel is actually pretty impressive, especially when driven at 1080p or 2160p. At non-integer multiples of the native resolution, color distortion becomes noticeable.
One of the best things about this monitor is that the LCD panel itself is driven at a native 120Hz. This is something that is basically only found on expensive computer monitors and rarely on television sets. For gaming where there is a lot of fast action, 120 fps cannot be beat. For those who prefer a higher resolution, the monitor will run 1440p at about 80Hz, which still provides a fantastically smooth gaming experience. If RTS games are your thing (or you don't care about playing games at 30Hz), then glorious 2160p gives you all the screen area you can handle at once. On my HTPC, I also have SVP set up to provide motion interpolation for television broadcasts - Football and Hockey at 120Hz looks great, and there is minimal motion blur.
There are only a few cons about this monitor: - Slight backlight bleeding around the edges. Not unusual for a 50" display, and it is not noticeable at all unless the screen is completely black. - HDMI limitations. The panel itself could be driven 2160p 120Hz if the interface supported it. - Limited menu options.
This TV has exceeded my expectations! First of all it arrived very well-packaged. You can find my exhaustive review, Seiki firmware update, Seiki remote setup and more here http://goo.gl/4sq5MP . I loved how this TV came with an HDMI cable and batteries for the remote too! The base was easy to attach and looks really nice! This TV is also wall-mountable. The picture quality for TV is great! My Xbox One games also look really nice. I connected my Mac computer to it with a thunderbolt to HDMI cable and the picture quality is amazing! It looks like an enormous computer monitor and the text is easily readable. The Seiki firmware update was a little trick at first but simple after i figured it out. This TV is much more energy efficient than plasma TVs and doesn't produce a noticeable amount of heat. Those were my two biggest complaints with my old plasma TV. I'd definitely buy this TV again, if I had the need for another. The performance is incredible for such a great price!
I have the 50" version of this TV hooked up as a PC monitor, a new build using the HDMI port built into the motherboard, Intel HD 4600 graphics (Haswell).
Since the beginning, the 4k (3840x2160@30hz) signal was inconsistent; the display would regularly blank out and then redetect the 4k signal, this takes 5 seconds, after which it works again. This would happen a few dozen times in the first few minutes and then periodically (perhaps once every few minutes) since then.
I tried updating the firmware; in the release notes it mentioned something about modified timings for better 4k performance. This had no effect.
I updated my graphics drivers and that did seem to help somewhat. After that I had only "acceptable" (meaning that I can get work done) blanking, and while it's frustrating to be interrupted a few times an hour, the amount of screen area and the great image quality make up for that somewhat.
I contacted customer service via email, and they created a ticket for my issue. After one month there was no response, update, anything. There's no link where I can check on the status of the ticket, and the responses are sent from a noreply@ email address.
Today when I came back from lunch, the display wouldn't come on at all -- blank screen, although the power light was on (blue), as was the backlight. Pressing the info button on the remote, I see that it was set as 3840x2160@30Hz, as it should be, but it doesn't attempt to draw the screen. The computer seems to think everything is normal, as I can move the mouse across to other displays.
I was unable to get any display output @30Hz, 1080p@60Hz was the best I could do. Whenever I selected a resolution@30Hz, it would show 3840x2160@30Hz and fail to display anything (black screen).
I called the customer service number on the back of the user manual and waited on hold. During that time I tried all the different HDMI cables and ports, different resolutions, different refresh rates, to no avail.
At one point, the display came back up. I hadn't done anything different, the settings were the same as those I had working previously.
I waited on hold for 30 minutes. I never got through to anyone. This is during their stated business hours, mind you.
Now the display is blanking every 15 seconds. BLANK. Try getting any work done when you can only see the screen half the BLANK time.
One BLANK star. I'm not the only person to have this BLANK issue. Seiki is aware they have this BLANK problem but their BLANK customer service is BLANK nonexistent. I didn't have 30 minutes to BLANK waste and I don't have the BLANK patience to work like this. The BLANK monitor may end up in the BLANK trash. BLANK! What a waste.
Update: Called again the next day. After 35 minutes, the service line goes to voicemail. Update 2: 24 hours after my initial review, the TV will no longer turn on. The amber/blue power light at the bottom stays amber when I press power using either the remote or the buttons on the back. Update 3: I unplugged the TV, plugged it back in, and it came on, but kept blanking out and then turned itself off again after a few hours. I swapped HDMI cables and it has definitely settled down and started working again (at least it has been for the last hour). I really enjoy the high resolution so unless I hear from Seiki (not holding my breath) I'm going to tough it out.
Update 4: no blanking after almost 5 hours with the new HDMI cable. I credit J. Hay who left me a link in the comments; I had previously tried a high-quality HDMI cable that didn't help, but it was a longer cable. The new 6-footer is doing well. I upped my rating to two stars. The product itself gets 5 stars, but non-existent customer service is not acceptable, and I am offended that they made me wait on hold for 35 minutes to leave a voice message that got no response.
thought we'd try the new technology of 4K. ordered the Seiki. it was ok. the picture didn't seem any better than my TCL LED HDTV. & then, for no apparent reason, shortly after the 6 month warrenty expired, it stopped working. it turned on, showed it's logo, but never resolved to the actual channels. $1K out the window. don't risk it. pay a bit more for a more reputable maker...i will next time.