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Is the Low-Priced Seiki 4K TV Any Good?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (May 9, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. Is that low-priced 50-inch Seiki 4K TV any good? Seems like the low price is too good to be true. Your thoughts? -- Frank, Statesville, North Carolina.

Seiki has launched a 50-inch 4k that retails for $1,499, although you can find lower prices at online sites like
Amazon. The price is considerably lower than current 4K sets on the market, which cost up to $25,000. It's even lower than the upcoming Sony 55-inch and 65-inch 4K sets, which will be priced at $4,999 and $6,999 respectively.

(By the way, if you are not familiar with 4K TV, it purports to offer a resolution four times greater than today's 1080p HDTVs. For more information on 4K, click:

When Seiki first announced that it would sell a low-priced 4K set, industry skeptics immediately pounced, saying it couldn't be of top quality. But reviewed the TV and came away impressed.

The price is so low, in fact, and the brand name is so unfamiliar, that you had to wonder if this television was a joke—or worse—a piece of garbage. I'm one of the first people in America to see this mythical creature, and I'll tell you right now: I can't believe my eyes," the Gizmodo reviewer said.

However, this week,, which arguably has considerable more experience in reviewing new TVs, offered a more sobering assessment of the Seiki 4K set. The site gave the TV an overall score of 5 out of a possible 10.

And what about the picture quality?

The Seiki's picture just can't compete in those areas compared with other (non 4K) TVs in its price range. Black levels are poor, shadow detail murky, color relatively inaccurate, and the screen less than uniform. Its color isn't terrible, however, and there's nothing spectacularly wrong with the way it converts normal high-def content, like 1080i and 1080p, to fit the 4K pixel array. Yes, given 4K content it can look more detailed as long as you sit close enough, but conversely, at those close distances its imperfect video processing makes the best 1080p content look less detailed than on a 1080p TV. And at this point in time, nearly everybody will be watching 1080p content on the Seiki," CNET wrote.

So it seems that the jury is still out on the Seiki set. One vote yes from Gizmodo and a qualified no from CNET.

Consumer Reports said yesterday that it's now testing the set in its lab so maybe the watchdog publication can shed more light into the quality of the new, low-priced Seiki 50-inch 4K TV.

See More Answers from the TV Answer Man

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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