on 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. :)
Tint: Can't adjust with HDMI
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! :)
on May 23, 2013
Ok. I got this in the mail today and wasn't sure if it would work with my hp dv7 laptop with an intel hd3000 graphics card (HDMI only out). When I first opened and connected to this monitor the resolution defaulted to a maximum of 1920x1080 @ 24 Hz. It was pretty sharp but the last TV I had was just as sharp at that resolution.
So I spent all day working with different modelines to try to manually get the resolutin right. The monitor was impressive and would display all kinds of modes between 1920x1080 and 3840x2160. BUT. They were all kind of blurry and would not have worked to program all day on.
Well after about 4 hours of working with random timings and resolutions I thought I would try xrandr with the 3840x2160 modes untill I found one that very closely matched an hsync of 30. I found the closest line that I could get to 30hz was:
root@dv7# cvt 3840 2160 13.8
# 3840x2160 13.79 Hz (CVT) hsync: 30.05 kHz; pclk: 144.25 MHz
Modeline "3840x2160_13.80" 144.25 3840 3944 4320 4800 2160 2163 2168 2180 -hsync +vsync
I guess you could find something closer but that was close enough. So I ran:
xrandr --newmode "3840x2160_13.80" 144.25 3840 3944 4320 4800 2160 2163 2168 2180 -hsync +vsync
xrandr --addmode HDMI1 "3840x2160_13.80"
Those make it so you can select it in the Displays or monitors section depending on your distribution (make sure you have the right HDMI port by running xrandr without any arguments).
If you don't know where the monitors section is you can run (leave off the quotes):
xrandr --output HDMI1 --mode 3840x2160_13.80
Anyway after I ran that and the monitor came back from being black... BAM! Super high definition and huge display! I was so happy I cried a little. Not a pixel is bad and text is so sharp it is like sitting in front of 4 monitors!
I cannot think of anything I have ever bought that deserved all 5 stars any more than this product.
My monitor prayers have been answered.
You can feel safe with the purchase. (I purchased it from Amazon fulfillment)
This has made my year.
Being first is difficult, especially when it comes to technology. The Seiki Digital SE50UY04 is the first reasonably priced 4K TV. "4k" is the new buzzword for LCD TV technology and the easiest way to understand what 4K means is that there 4 times as many pixels than HDTV/1080i. 4K means the LCD supports a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and it is also sometimes called QFHD or UltraHD.
Below I'll outline the status of 4K technology but the summary description is that this TV is excellent but the price point may make it more suitable for console gamers, graphics designers, and "early adopters" who like to play with new technology. Two years from now 4K will come on most new TVs and media components but this is the first inexpensive 4K HDTV.
[Review] 10=Good, 1=Bad
Fit and Finish: 8
Picture Quality: 9
Sound quality: 7
Ease of Use: 7
What you are getting here is an excellent basic Ultra DH TV and monitor. The basic fit and finish is elegant and minimal. The base seems to be real glass. The bezel is so thin it fits in the same space in my entertainment my 42" plasma was occupying. The TV has basic controls and adjustment but this isn't a smart TV.
This TV isn't perfect. That's why this TV is meant for early adopters. Unless Seiki comes up with some special double-headed HDMI cable, specialized video card controller or firmware magic trick to feed in true 4K, we are probably stuck using it with unconverted content. The HDMI 1.4 plugs on this TV can't handle true >30Hz 4K bandwidth. It would be nice if HDMI 2.0 was approved and incorporated into this tv. It would also be nice if Seiki had put a Displayport connection on this TV. But they didn't. The remote isn't that greatest either. Under the warranty you are responsible for packaging the shipping the TV back to them.
Unfortunately there isn't much 4K content available. So why would you buy this? Right now if you have a new, high-power AMD/NVidia PC video card, with a little tweaking you can view beautiful 1080p games unconverted to 4K. But the real reason for most to buy a 4K LCD is because later this year the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 come out and they both support 4K upscaling. Don't expect streaming 4K from Netflix or Amazon until 2014 or 2015. Youtube has 4K videos (youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5BF9E09ECEC8F88F) but they can be hard to identify. Over the next year you will start to see most major sporting events broadcast in 4K.
There are two technologies that need to be widely adopted for 4K to become common:
1) High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265) that will compress 4K video so that it only doubles the amount of data transmitted rather than quadrupling it as content goes from 1080p to 4K
2) HDMI 2.0 to support higher data bandwidth and frequency for full 60Hz 4K video.
Even if new Blu-Ray players and media streaming devices don't broadcast true 4K they will still probably utilize more sophisticated 4K upconverting techniques that send better 4K signals to the TV. So what happens if your Blu-Ray Player, DVD Player, DVR, Direct TV Receiver or Cable Receiver doesn't support 4K yet (probably)? The video stream is "upscaled" in the TV itself. In other words, a chip in the TV creates extra pixels to fill in the extra information. The result looks great but not as good as true 4K. The more the TV has to upscale, the poorer the results.
Here are two things you should remember:
1) If you buy a new Blu-ray player or home theater device make sure it supports at least a 4K upscaling.
2) CHECK/UPGRADE THE TV FIRMWARE RIGHT AWAY, DIRECTIONS BELOW. The upscaling software it comes with had a bug and they fixed it so upscaling works better.
When I set this up I located my Sony Blu-Ray player under the TV in the gap between the stand and monitor. I ran HDMI cables from my XBox 360, Blu-Ray and HTPC directly into the TV and then ran Coaxial Audio from the TV to my Home Theater Audio Receiver.
Set the sharpness filter to 0 if used as PC monitor
Not a 3D set, 3D content does supposedly display on the set as 1920 x 2205 at 24p (untested)
[+] 4K = Awesome 3840x2160 resolution
[+] Thin Screen and Thin Bezel: 44.80"x26.66"x2.09" (2 inches taller with stand)
[+] Light (43lbs w/o stand, 49lbs with stand)
[+] 1 Year Full Replacement Warranty (call 855-MY-SEIKI )
[+] 120Hz Refresh
[+] 3 HDMI Ports
[+] Inexpensive 4K
[+] 176 Degree Viewing angle
[+] Comes with one UHD HDMI Cable
[-] Only supports 30Hz 4K due to HDMI 1.4 Limitations. HDMI 2.0, Displayport or Thunderbolt are needed
[-] Not a "Smart" TV - wish it supported DLNA
[-] You pay shipping to pack and return a defective TV under the 1 year replacement warrantee
[-] No Toslink Optical Audio
[-] Cheap Remote
[Remote Control Codes]
** on my Sony Blu-Ray Remote the code is "04" for this TV
[..] DIRECTV - 10178
[..] Time Warner Cable - 0178
[..] Philips - 0002
[..] Comcast - 11864 or 10178
[..] Cox Communications - 0178
[..] Atlas DVR Device URC - 0178
[..] Bell Remotes & Dish Network - 505, 506, 516, 523, 526, 566, 573, 612, 627, 647, 652, 653, 654, 655, 656, 658, 659, 664, 665, 667, 669, 670, 679, 680, 704, 717, 730, 738
[FIRMWARE UPDATE INSTRUCTIONS]
1. Download firmware from Seiki site (seikidigital.com/support/downloads.php)
2. Unzip firmware to FAT32 formatted USB stick
3. Put the thumb drive in USB port 1 (bottom of TV)
4. Turn the TV on
5. On your remote press the "menu" button
6. Then on your remote press "0" 4 times, that will take you into the service menu.
7. In the service menu choose the software upgrade option
7. Screen will display upgrade animation
8. Patiently wait for the upgrade to finish
9. Turn off TV when finished
10. Disconnect thumb drive
- Installed Ubuntu 13.04 with ATI Proprietary Drivers for the HD 6670 card. Rebooted and card is outputting 4K @ 30HZ. Unfortunately there is video tearing. Will try tweaking settings. Desktop looks awesome.
- Hooked this up to my HTPC and installed the latest ATI Catalyst driver and it shows a check-box for stereoscopic 3D. Loaded a 3D demo video on Youtube and put on my cheesy 3D glasses...beautiful 3D. I honestly don't know why an ordinary monitor couldn't do the same thing but I can tell you it works here. Poking around on the web it seems this may be a "passive" 3D monitor capable of displaying some 3D content but maybe not others.
-[3/6/14] Apple is supposedly updating their graphics driver to support 4K: betanews.com/2014/03/07/os-x-10-9-mavericks-to-fully-support-4k-displays-in-upcoming-update/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed+-+bn+-+Betanews+Full+Content+Feed+-+BN
on 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.
on July 21, 2013
I'm a software engineer and screen real estate makes a big difference to my productivity. Some calculations say this 50" 4K monitor becomes a retina display when 39" inches or more away (88 PPI). This monitor is basically like four 24/25" 1080P monitors, with no bezel in the middle. I have been running a very nice 3.7 megapixel monitor (ASUS PB278Q 27-Inch WQHD LED-lit PLS Professional Graphics Monitor) about 30" away, and had to increase the scaling size in Window's to about 117%, this monitor at 39" inches away and 100% scaling is an excellent combination.
Mine arrived yesterday, in perfect condition, and I must have said "Wow" about thirty times in the first hour. Even the delivery driver said wow when I flipped to 4K desktop resolution in Windows 7. He also said he delivered 4 of these that day. I used Photoshop full screen mode to put pure black/write/red/green/blue images across the whole monitor, and have yet to find a single dead or stuck pixel. I'm currently driving it with an under $100 AMD HD 7750 based video card (Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB DDR5 HDMI / DVI-I / DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 11202-00-20G) and it seems to display 4K just fine, although sometimes get the sense a higher performance video card would be better. 4K video playback via Flash on Youtube seems a little less smooth that is ideal, 1080P seems fine. I have a single slot width Nvidia GeForce GT 640 (EVGA GeForce GT 640 2048MB GDDR3 Dual DVI, mHDMI Graphics Cards 02G-P4-2645-KR) which is supposed to drive 4K HDMI but have yet to try it. I also have a new Intel Core i7-4770S (Intel Core i7-4770S Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.1 GHZ 8 MB Cache- BX80646I74770S) on an Intel DH87RL motherboard (Intel Boxed Desktop Board DH87MC Micro ATX DDR3 1600 LGA 1150 Motherboard BOXDH87RL) which is supposed to support 4K HDMI with just the CPUs GPU, which I also have not yet tried.
I was initially a little concerned about the smooth screen surface. It seemed more reflective than the Asus PB278Q monitor I was using, but so far, reflections have not been a problem. The room I have it in doesn't have a lot of bright objects to reflect. I personally prefer a very non-reflective screen, although many argue they are not as sharp.
I am seeing some slightly strange behaviors from a few apps, like Photoshop CS6 seems to slow down for the first minute after being opened, and only refreshing tiles of an image unless you move the cursor around. After a little bit, if finishes "warming up" and seems happy. I don't remember it doing this on a smaller display. This is not a issue with the monitor, but might be a display driver or application issue. I see IE10 html5 video playback of 4K youtube video does not work either, you have to use Flash for 4K. Youtube 4K video also has a lot of compression artifacts, and think 4K streaming video may just not be viable (I have 55 mbps cable modem service).
Initially I was seeing the monitor image drop out every few hours, requiring power off/on with the remote to fix. Updating the firmware seems to have solved this. I also turned down the backlight to about 70 while in the service menu, as the default 100 was too bright when sitting 3 feet away. Turning down the backlight also reduced the monitor power consumption to about 75 watts, from about 100 watts. When off, my UPS says power consumption is close to zero.
The display settings I'm currently using are: Contrast 61, Brightness 46, Color 48, Sharpness 0 (important for computer monitor text sharpness) and Noise reduction to off.
So far (only 24 hours of ownership) I have only found three things I wish were different.
The display acts like a TV as far as power management goes. This means if your computer goes into sleep/screen saver, the monitor displays a message saying "no signal" for a few minutes and then turns totally off. Unlike a good computer monitor, it doesn't turn back on when the computer wakes back up, you have to manually press the power button on the remote. It looks like this TV does not support DPMS, the standard use to put computer monitors into standby mode and wake them back up. This might be fixable with a firmware update, and plan to contact Seiki technical support.
The second thing is it could have a better base. The base is really simple (although reasonable attractive), does not tilt or swivel, and is about 2"-3" above a desktop. The monitor does have mounting holes in the back, so a TV stand/wall mount is a possible solution to get optimal ergonomics. Considering this monitor was $4000-$5000 less than alternatives (the 39" is even less), having to spend money on a mount is not so terrible.
The third thing is I wish it had a DisplayPort interface. I believe this would allow 4K x 60 Hz today. The HDMI 1.4b interface only allows a maximum of 4K x 30 Hz, which for typical desktop computer use is not a major problem (the panel refreshes at 120 Hz). For gamers, and people editing 60 Hz video, and smoothest text scrolling, 60 Hz would be a better. When programming, I can see a little jitter when scrolling a text window which I'd guess is a 30 Hz artifact, although due to the resolution I can also just make edit windows twice as high and scroll half as much. This will definitely not be a firmware upgrade. One argument I have seen is current DisplayPort could not do 4K x 120 Hz for shutter glasses 3D, so Seiki working on a next generation interface would at this point be better use of their hardware engineers. Adjusting the EDID data to show 1920x1080p@120Hz as supported would be a nice firmware update too, and reports are this monitor can do this today, over the current HDMI interface, but you have to manually configure a set of display parameters. I was considering buying a 3D computer monitor, but guess I just need to buy some appropriate shutter glasses now.
I would love to see either a computer/monitor OEM or Seiki themselves sell a slightly tweaked version optimized for computer use.
So how does the image look? Wow best describe it. On the AMD 7750, text is super sharp, colors seem decent although perhaps not good enough for professional graphics/photography work (maybe with calibration, I'm slightly colorblind so I will have to pass on having a useful opinion). If you display a pure white screen, you can see some unevenness to the lighting on the edges, although this is not uncommon for LCD TVs. It might bother a professional graphics designer, but personally I can only see it if I make the whole screen white. A pure black screen looks quite even with no apparent light bleed, and for a LCD screen pretty black.
I have not tried feeding 1080p video from anything except a computer, so can't comment on things like the upscaler quality. Some people report it as not having such a great upscaler. For use as a TV, at typical TV viewing distances, I'm not very convinced 4K is all that useful on anything less than 70"-80" screen. The retina display calculator (Google is this retina) says a 50" screen at 1080p is a retina display at 78", which is just over 6 feet way. For a computer monitor at 39" away, yes 4K is a lot better than 1080p.
I should also say the sound is not very impressive, but sound on HDMI does work. I have some $25 Logitech S220 powered speakers that sound better, although they did sounds incredible for the price, but see are not longer available (Logitech S220 2.1 Speaker System with Subwoofer). With the $4000 you saved, buy some better speakers if you want good sound.
I want to take off a tiny bit on the rating, as it could be a little better in a few areas, but at this price point, software companies should buy one for every engineer. I probably would not recommend it as a 1080P TV replacement. Something like the latest Panasonic plasma TV has more TV features and a better 1080P image (Panasonic VIERA TC-P55ST60 55-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV (Includes 2 Pairs of 3D Active Glasses)).
on July 29, 2014
WARNING! DO NOT UPDATE FIRMWARE if TV is @ Version 1.1 or later. Seiki website has an outdated Ver.1.0 firmware for download. You could potentially downgrade your TV if not careful.
So far, this 4K TV has turned out to be a GREAT 4K Monitor. Here are my settings after calibration:
Seiki SE50UY04 50-Inch 4K UHD 120Hz Edge-Lit LED S-MVA Panel
Color Calibrated using X-Rite EODIS3 i1Display Pro
Picture Mode: User
Contrast: 40-(48) White Level (Highlights) 50 Max.
Brightness: (55)-60 Black Level (Shadow Detail) 60 Max.
Color Temp: (Warm)-Normal
Blue Screen: Off
Noise Reduction: Off
Factory Menu (Press 0000)
POWER ON Mode: Off
Video Qty/DCC: Off
OverScan H/V: 100
4Hours AutoSd: Off
Color Mode: Warm
Gain Red: 135
Gain Green: 126
Gain Blue: 105
Offset Red: 495
Offset Green: 510
Offset Blue: 502
Color Mode: Normal
Gain Red: 129
Gain Green: 126
Gain Blue: 131
Offset Red: 490
Offset Green: 510
Offset Blue: 502
Color Mode: Cool
Gain Red: 125
Gain Green: 125
Gain Blue: 136
Offset Red: 495
Offset Green: 511
Offset Blue: 502
Be careful with this:
Engineering Menu (Press 2947)
After applying these special settings this 4K UHD TV would be able to be used successfully for color correction in photography and video editing as a professional reference monitor. Hope this helps! ;)
on September 5, 2013
I have many high resolution monitor TVs, Dell, ASUS and HP. The overall performance of this one beats them all hands down. The resolution and color is both excellent. I have brilliant color and perfect contrast. The dark is extreme dark. It plays all my photo collection to 4K resolution. My beautiful models all in vibrant color and 4k resolution as if in 3D and come to live on this TV screen. Makes all my photo worth watching again. I will now buy another one for my wife.
It is easy to set up and use. For such a good TV it could have used a higher quality remote. I would definitely give 5 stars or even higher for its excellent performance except the technical support is some what lacking. They are always busy and slow at getting back.
To make sure this monitor plays 4K right, you will have to update the firmware to the latest version. Unfortunately when you download the firmware from Seiki.com website the instruction on the website does not do it. The proper wave to do it is,
1) Download the firmware to a clean USB thumb drive, meaning the thumb drive has no other file.
2) Before download convert the file to microsoft format by extrating the file to a new file. Without the conversion theTV will not see the file.
3) After inserting the thumb drive into TV USB port, press manu buttom followed by four zeros. This will bring up a window on the screen to prompt you to click upgrade firmware.
4) Be patient and wait for couple minute for the TV to complete upload. When it is done it will show complete. Exit manu. Turn off TV and unplug the thumb drive. You are home. It is simple.
5) My TV now plays all 4K program from my OPPO 103 and tells me it is in 3640X2160 resolution by showing the info on top right corner whenever you press the info button on the remote. It also brings all my photos to 4K resolution and brilliant color. It is great!
I am now watching all my low grade dvd and photos on the Seiki 4K monitor by upscaling to 4K through my Oppo 103. The improvements are amazing. I now get great satisfaction watching my favorite photos and dvds again and found more vibrant colors and resolution. I am upgrading my evaluation to five stars now because of the better use of this TV despite the slow tech support response. Since I have no more problems with this TV. Great buy, highly recommend.
on July 11, 2013
On quality and function alone, this TV is a gem in the world of digital displays.
Almost always, when a TV says it's 120hz, it means it takes the 30hz or 60hz signal, and interpolates frames in between. The frames generated in between the true input frames cause additional display lag, and tend to look worse with more motion. True Native 120hz [Which this TV is capable of] is usually something only found on high end computer monitors, and requires the computer to output at 120hz. The option for monitors display at double the standard 60hz, typically leads to a price tag that's double the norm.
When I first plugged in, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how they could advertise "120hz". There was no option to turn on frame blending, or motion interpolation. But to my utter astonishment, the variety of 120hz offered by this TV is native 120hz, not the gimmick 120hz you'll find on every other TV. Although not listed as standard resolutions under most operating systems, it is indeed possible to output 120hz via HDMI. If you're using windows and a graphics card half a decade new, look for the ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility. Tweaking settings, and a few restarts later, this monitor is tested to be capable of the following refresh rates:
3840x2160 (8 megapixel)@ 30hz
2560x1440 (4 megapixel)@ 60hz
1920x1080 (2 megapixel)@ 120hz
1280x720 (1 megapixel)@ 200hz
Input lag is significant at 4k, but nonexistent at any other resolution. So if you're going to do some gaming, sit back with the biggest 120hz monitor on the market, with naturally built in subsampling. If you need to visually parse data, and organize information, pull that epic 4k option out of your pocket to see 8 megapixels at once. Or if you're looking for a middle ground, 2560x1440 is smooth, scales well, and is sharper any other TV on the market, yet larger than any other 2560x1440 monitor on the market.
This TV is not really a TV. It's a 50 inch LED monitor that will accept every resolution, to the maximum bandwidth of HDMI 1.4, that happens to have a tuner, speakers, and multiple inputs. You need to connect this to a computer. If you're not, go buy one with the three thousand dollars you're saving off the next cheapest 4k TV.
on May 10, 2013
In addition to purchasing the 50" SE50UY04, I went ahead and purchased the SE39UY04 as well. I put the 50" in the Living Room replacing the Samsung 40" and I'm now using the 39" Seiki as the monitor on my computer
Observations of the 39":
1 - It too suffered from the intermittent blank-out that was present on my 50" Seiki. Like the 50" Seiki, a firmware update corrected the issue and I can game/surf the net for hours with no problems*
2 - Here's the reason for the asterisk, above. After about 4 or 5 hours of gaming/surfing/watching DVDs, the TV pops up a notification that it will auto-power-off in 60 seconds unless I press a button on the Remote (or on the TV itself) This option is not something I can disable and, when the notification box appears in the middle of an epic battle in Path of Exile, it can be annoying. I have contacted Seiki about the possibility of making this a selectable option in the menu via a firmware update but I have not heard back from them regarding this issue.
3 - The 30" Seiki required a bit more tweaking to dial in the color to where I like it. Not that it was a "big deal", mind you, it's just something I thought I'd mention in case someone bought it and decided that, "out of the box" the colors were "off". There are plenty of online calibration sites available, and Windows itself has a monitor color calibration wizard that I used, then I tweaked it a little bit more.
4 - Using the 39" as a computer monitor, versus the 50", is a better fit for me as I am not craning my neck to see the top of the screen anymore. My neck is far less fatigued after several hours of use than it was when I used the 50" Seiki.
5 - Even though the remote control for the 50" is "serviceable". the remote control unit for the 39" Seiki is far better. It's got a better layout, different sized buttons so you can tell, by feel alone, which buttons you're trying to manipulate
I cannot create a product review on the 39" Seiki. Amazon seems to think that this review of the 50" serves the same as a review for the 39" Seiki, so they won't let me post a review of the 39" Seiki since this review of the 50 Seiki exists...odd.
UPDATE #1 When I purchased this unit and came here to post my review, there were 2 reviews here that gave the unit 3 stars and 1 star. For whatever reason, they are now gone. While I have nothing but praise for the item, those dissenting voices should be heard as well. so keep in mind there were 2 people who did not think it was a great TV.
Personal note on those two reviews: The reviewers were idiots who failed to do their homework before their purchase and never even color calibrated the unit and then tried to compare it to their $5k+ top of the line, comes with a happy ending included plasma, but at least they spoke up and provided some entertainment value to the debate
I purchased this unit several weeks ago and it came in last week. I bought it to replace the Dell U3011 30" LCD Monitor on my computer in order to gain some sorely needed real estate.
I cannot say enough good things about it. It has so little light bleed that I had to hunt for it to find any at all. (rare for any TV in this price range)
The colors are crisp clear and vibrant. Blacks were decent, not great. (You should access the Service Menu and turn down the backlight a little. It really helps)
Picture Quality on my BluRays and BluRay Rips is great. Even 10-bit 720p content looks great on this panel. It's awesome to have a full web page open while watching a movie playing in a 39" diagonal window (yeah, I actually measured it with a tape measure)
As a tool for improving productivity, it's great. I can have 3 large spreadsheets open along with MS Access and I'm not spending half my time minimizing and maximizing windows.
On a lark, I installed Total Annihilation to see how it would handle a 16 year old computer game and the picture was amazing (TA will run at the panel's native resolution). I have also played 7-8 hours each in Skyrim, FONV, Max Payne 3, Bioshock1,2, and Inifinite and the picture quality is awesome.
One note: Running the Unengine Valley benchmark at 3840x2160 resolution at Ultra Settings with 8xAA causes much distress to my Crossfire 7970s. They aren't happy at all at having to work that hard, so I had to drop 8xAA down to 2xAA.
I wasn't sure if I could live with a 30Hz refresh at 3840x2160 but after a week of using it I placed my U3011 up for sale, and I haven't looked back.
The initial version of the Firmware mine came with had an issue where the resolution reset itself at random intervals. The screen would go black and, in about 2-3 seconds would reappear as if nothing had happened. Turns out a Firmware upgrade resolved the issue, and from the time I reported the issue it only took 1 day for them to correct it. Seiki seems to be very responsive to the needs of their customers and I applaud them for working out a solution as quickly as they did. I'm still waiting on Samsung to respond to the email I sent them 9 months ago about a minor issue I have with the menu on my Smart TV...go figure
There are no bells and whistles on this unit. You get a panel, some speakers, and a fair amount of connectivity options. That's it. turns out, that's really all you need. Seiki isn't trying to cram 200 options down your throat that you'll never use and charge an additional $3k for them.
I hope more people take advantage of what has been a surprisingly great TV deal so that it sends a clear message to other mfgrs that they need to concentrate on getting 4k2k rolled out for less than $25k per TV (Sony, WTF are you thinking?!?!?!)
on August 28, 2014
** UPDATED **
I originally purchased the Seiki SE50UY04 50-Inch UHD-TV Used in "Very Good" condition from Amazon Warehouse Deals, but after the screen shutoff after an hour of use I had it returned (for free). You can find the problems/review on the first TV at the bottom of this review.
Below is the review on the NEW Seiki SE50UY04 50-Inch UHD-TV, purchased from Amazon.
Just a little background on me: I am a photojournalist and editor for an NBC station. I am also very tech savvy. I know how to make the best out of cheap electronics. I almost always go with the cheaper, no-name brand electronics since I work with the expensive toys all day long at work. There really is no difference as long as there isn't a manufacturer's defect out of the box.
############ Long story short ############
Don't waste time saving $30 by getting the used TV, just wait for Amazon to get them in stock and get a new one. Also, GET an extended warranty. The 1 year manufacturer's warranty requires you to ship it to them at YOUR cost, so it's worth the extra few bucks. Should be a no-brainer: $200 shipping vs a $50, 4 year warranty that includes in-home repair.
Plan on the crappy internal speakers and hook this bad boy up to a good sound system.
This TV really is a steal. It performs to my broadcast standards.
+++ Picture and video quality +++
+ The picture was much better than expected. So many other reviewers complained of poor picture quality, but this is the same as watching a VHS tape on a 50" 1080 HDTV. If the display is higher resolution than the media, it will look a little blurry (if you're sitting less than a foot away), but from 10 feet across the room and it is perfectly comparable to my previous HDTV.
+ I have a Chromecast, DVD player and VCR connected to this TV.
++ The Chromecast looks great with HD video from Netflix even from only a few feet away. I changed the "Noise Reduction" setting to off for this input as it looks better without it. I am using one of the USB ports to power my Chromecast. This allows the Chromecast to power on and off with the TV.
++ DVD's look good (better from across the room). I also changed the "Noise Reduction" setting to off for this input as it looks better without it.
++ VHS tapes look decent from across the room. I changed the "Noise Reduction" setting to medium for only the SD inputs as the picture quality was actually improved.
+ I DID calibrate this TV with a color bar generator, but didn't have to adjust much. Just the contrast.
+ I found that there is not a setting for the screen backlight or color temperature in the normal menu, but I did find a separate "hidden" menu (also used for updating the firmware) and found those settings under the "Other" category. To get to this "hidden" menu, open the menu and press "0000" on the remote and the "hidden" menu will appear. Then go to the last option labeled "other" and select it and you will find all of the video and audio adjustments you could ever want.
+++ Sound +++
I didn't really bother with the speakers (although I did test them) as with pretty much any off-brand TV the speakers WILL suck. The internal speakers sounded a rather tiny or hollow without playing with the audio settings. I did play with the adjustments and I was able to improve the sound slightly, but not to my satisfaction, so I just hooked up my sound system to the "audio out" on the TV and it worked great.
+++ Connections/inputs/outputs +++
+ (3) HDMI inputs: one accessible from the left side, 2 down facing on the back. These can be difficult to get to and connect to. There isn't too much room for the connecter. My Chromecast was barely able to connect to the side input because it was touching the back of the TV. It can't be plugged into the other HDMI ports because there isn't enough room.
+ (1) Composite/Component combined RCA input: Accessible from the side. Composite = RGB colored video inputs + RL audio, Component = Yellow for video + RL audio. The green input is shared on this TV with the yellow RCA input, so you really only have the use of one or the other. Both work flawlessly. Composite supports up to 1080p and Component supports up to 480i.
+ (2) USB inputs with 5v power output: One accessible from the side, one down facing on the back. They can be used to plug in a USB flash drive with pictures to view them in a slideshow. I am using one of them to power my Chromecast. This allows the Chromecast to power on and off with the TV. Neither support video or audio playback.
+ (1) Coaxial input: Down facing on the back. This is for an over-the-air antenna to receive free HD TV from local TV stations.
+ (1) Digital audio out: Down facing on the back. This is the RCA type single coaxial digital audio output. I am not able to test because I don't have any equipment to connect to it.
+ (1) Stereo audio out: Down facing on the back. Just the usual right and left RCA output. This works great for my sound system.
***************** Original review of first used TV purchased *****************
The problem with the first, used TV that I had was that after about an hour of use the screen went blank (could not get the menu up or source controls or anything). I was able to get the picture back for a short time after I turned off the TV for about 5 minutes, but then it would go out again.
I contacted customer service and they allowed me to return it for free. They also offered me the brand new TV at a discount. They split the difference between the price of this TV and the new TV so I saved $17. They bumped the shipping up to one-day, too.