“Introducing 4K2K for Everyone.” That’s the line that Los Angeles-based value electronics manufacturer Seiki uses to market its new series of 4K resolution televisions. The company made headlines in April when it released a 50-inch 4K TV for about $1,400, less than a third of the cost of 4K products from competing manufacturers. Now Seiki hopes to attract an even larger audience with the announcement of a 39-inch 4K display for $699.
“4K” refers to the resolution of the display, which is generally set at 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall for a 16:9 aspect ratio (although some purists argue that this is not “true” 4K). The higher the pixel count, the sharper an image can potentially be.
While these new Seiki displays are primarily marketed as televisions for home theater entertainment uses, the computing and gaming industries have also shown great interest for their use with desktop PCs. Current consumer-targeted displays generally top out at 30-inches with resolutions of 2560×1600, a limit they reached more than six years ago. Dedicated 4K PC monitors are just starting to reach the market, but cost up to $5,000.
The relatively cheap price and massive pixel count of the Seiki displays therefore make them an interesting option for computer use. While the previous model’s 50-inch size was too big for most users to handle, the newly announced 39-inch model has the potential to fit into power users’ setups much more easily.
There are some disadvantages, however. The sheer number of pixels that must be passed to the Seiki display via current DVI and HDMI connections limits the input rate to 30Hz, a ceiling that can make fast-paced gaming unpleasant to view. The more expensive 4K options currently available from companies such as ASUS, and future models from Seiki, will utilize DisplayPort 1.4, which allows faster refresh rates of between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on specification and hardware.
This means that first person shooters or sports games may look poor on 4K Seiki displays, despite the significant increase in resolution. But those who primarily play slower paced strategy or simulation games may find the product appealing. Video and photo editors, Excel power users who navigate gigantic spreadsheets, or virtually anyone else who desires a large, sharp desktop will also want to check the Seiki products out.
The 39-inch 4K Seiki TV will be on display this week at the CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits in New York City and will ship to consumers by the end of the month. Sears will have exclusive preorders available via its website on Thursday, June 27.
Update: Sears now has the TV (model SE39UY04) listed for pre-order with an estimated ship date of August 5, 2013, contradicting Seiki’s statement that it would be available by the end of June.