CEWeek 2013: Seiki bows 39-inch 4K Ultra HD TV for – get this – $700

Seiki 50-inch 4K Ultra HDWhile most of the familiar names in TV manufacturing are shocking consumers with 4K Ultra HD prices equivalent to that of many cars, a company you’ve never heard of is sitting in a corner at CEWeek, making the big guys look downright ridiculous. CEWeek, if you haven’t heard of it, is the consumer electronics industries sort of mid-year meeting. It gives everyone a chance to see what’s brewing behind the scenes and exchange ideas on technology. It also give us a sense of what we can expect to see at CES. And if Seiki’s moves are any indication, we’ll be seeing some price wars. 

LG’s 84-inch 4K costs $20,000, Samsung’s 85-incher comes in at $40,000, Sony’s 84-incher debuted at $25,000 and Sharp’s recently-announced THX-certified 70-inch set is slated to hit the shelves at $8,000. Granted, Sony offers  4K Ultra HD TVs at smaller sizes for less, but the 55-inch model will still set you back $5,000. But at CEWeek in NYC today, Seiki is showing off a 39-inch 4K Ultra HD set for $700 and its 50-inch 4K which carries a street price of around $1300. 

How can this be?

Well, if you ask Seiki, you’ll probably get a line about it being an OEM company and how that helps reduce costs. You’ll also note that these TV’s don’t offer 3D or Smart TV applications ,which helps keep costs down. They are bare-bones, 4K panels, presumably made of the same basic parts found in any of today’s 4K sets, yes, but does that mean they are any good? 

That’s the $25,000 question. In order to find out, it’s important to be able to look at how a TV handles 1080p, 720p and even standard definition content. Without any 4K Ultra HD content available to consumers at this time, these TVs need to do a great job of upscaling, and they need to provide the kind of processing horsepower that the premium manufacturers spend years developing. Until we get our hands on one, we can only wager educated guesses, but something tells us the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” might be coming into play here. even if the pricing on the big name sets would seem to indicate otherwise. 

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: