Yesterday, Chinese OEM Seiki officially priced its 50-inch Ultra HD TV at $US1500, making it the cheapest 4K television in the history of absurd resolution. Cheaper even than the last round of super-cheap Chinese 4Ks we saw.
The price is so cheap, 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 beast, and I'll tell you right now: I can't believe my eyes.
We got a chance to watch 4K content on Seiki's 3840 x 2160, 120Hz LED beast for about 30 minutes today, and it was totally amazing. Much of the footage was stock 4K, so, you know, it was amazing and perfectly shot and calibrated. But even with that knowledge in mind, my brain was bombed by the clarity of the picture and the detailed image.
While watching footage of a Tokyo cityscape, I could see the tiniest details, like, for example, a tiny train navigating its way through skyscraper canyons. I also watched a 10-minute clip of animated video designed to be representative of 4K video content, and it was totally enrapturing. The TV was only 50 inches, but the picture was so immersive that you could have told me I was in a movie theatre.
Now, the TV is cheap in part because it doesn't come with any bells and whistles. It's just a straight up beautiful panel with some HDMI inputs. The simplicity is a clear rebuttal to Sony, Samsung, LG and the rest, and we're willing to bet people don't care about connected TV crap and 3D or even a brand name enough to spend $25,000 on a TV. People just want a simple, beautiful television they can afford. What good is a television the price of a sports car? Sure, at $US1500, Seiki isn't gonna going to make any R&D money — but they might actually sell some TVs.