With holiday shopping gearing up, many people are considering the significant purchase of a new television. And while 4K is making the rounds at trade shows, it hasn’t made a big break into the consumer markets. Few of us know anyone with a 4K TV, let alone have one ourselves. But this may be the deal to change that. Amazon is currently offering 39-inch and 50-inch LED TVs from Seiki Digital that deliver 4K resolution at a price closer to what you’d expect to pay for 1080p.
Obviously, the first questions are about quality. The TV seems to be performing well for people, averaging 4.1 out of 5 stars. Amazon Top-1000 review Wayne wrote up an exhaustive review for the Amazon page on the 50-inch model. He had this to say about black levels and picture quality:
“For example, the first space fight scene in Star Wars III is a good test as it’s 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 definitely had to turn down the brightness at night time.”
“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.”
The TVs provide 60 Hz and 120 Hz refresh rates at 1080p, going down to 30 Hz when running at 4K resolution.
For most buyers, this will be more of a purchase toward the future, since 4K content is still scarce. One place you can find 4K is on YouTube, and many people may choose to use the screen as a large high-resolution computer display. In his review, Wayne addressed the 30hz refresh limitation at 4K resolution when using it as a monitor:
“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 its 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 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”
It’s obviously still early days for 4K television, but if you’re thinking about getting a new TV, these two options at a very good price will give you some room to grow as more sources become available. In the meantime, these TVs should do an excellent job handling current HD sources.