A Review of the Seiki SE55UY04 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz LED TV
Seiki’s 4K TVs certainly don’t get the fame and brand recognition of their much more famous counterparts from makers like Samsung, LG, Sony or Panasonic, but they also aren’t anything to laugh at either. For those of you who are interested in getting your feet wet with 4K without making the whole plunge into a much more expensive name brand UHD TV, the Seiki SE55UY04 55-Inch model might be just the right television for you.
Despite its scattered deficiencies, the SE55UY04 does offer a fairly complete package of specs and features which allow it to break new ground in UHD TV pricing while still being a moderately decent starter set.
For starters, the Seiki SE55UY04 is an inexpensive 4K TV with the standard UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. So with this feature, you’re definitely guaranteed a performance that’s superior to that of any normal HD TV. This applies to native UHD content and PC games more than to anything else but even Full HD programming will look better than it normally would thanks to the TV’s internal upscaling engine.
Furthermore, the SE55UY04 also offers some very decent color accuracy, a robust package of HDMI inputs (unfortunately only HDMI 1.4 however) a nice, elegant design style and Smart TV features that are decent if not as good as those of, say, a Samsung 4K TV. Here is a list of the most highly rated 4k TV's.
The Seiki SE55UY04’s 120 Hz refresh rate is standard for the industry and while better TVs offer 240Hz or more in some cases, you’re not getting a bad deal on this considering the price of the SE55UY04. Plenty of higher end 4K UHD TVs also offer 120Hz refresh rates.
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Unfortunately for the Seiki SE55UY04, the amount of less than ideal aspects of this TV almost outweigh the benefit of the good ones.
Right off the bat, the first problem comes in the form of competition from increasingly affordable 4K TVs from far superior premium brands like Samsung, LG, Sony and the king of affordable quality, Vizio. While the SE55UY04’s price tag of just over $900 may have been amazingly cheap just a few months ago, it’s no longer really something so extraordinary.
For example, consider that even Samsung, which is known for its highly expensive 4K ultra HD TVs, has recently started selling its UN55HU6840 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD 60Hz Smart LED TV for just $1,299. Yes, this is still a bit more than $350 pricier than the Seiki SE55UY04 and yes, the Samsung model offers only a 60Hz refresh rate but in terms of almost every single other feature, Samsung’s TV completely outclasses this Seiki model and for a price that’s now only moderately higher. If we compare this Seiki model to the Vizio 55-inhc P-Series 4K TV, the contrast becomes even more glaring since the Vizio model not only costs less than this particular TV but also offers a wider array of specs and smart TV features with a much, much better connectivity package to boot.
And speaking of these assorted deficiencies, let’s start with the HDMI and USB ports. There may be several of both but none of them are of the ideal caliber. The HDMI ports are of the older 1.4 class and thus can only handle 4K video inputs from third party media devices at a rate of just 24 to 30Hz and the USB ports, being 2.0, are only capable of transferring MP3 and JPEG files and not video.
Furthermore, the TVs overall smart TV and picture settings controls truly are bare bones. You are not getting access here to the wide variety of display adjustments and Smart TV platform features that you would find on the Samsung TV we mentioned above and in this regard, the Seiki SE55UY04 could definitely do better at its price range.
Finally we come to one of the absolute most glaring issues about the Seiki SE55UY04: It’s totally unprepared for accepting content from any decent 4K media sources. The TV doesn’t come with any HDMI 2.0 cables, meaning that it doesn’t include HDCP 2.2 content protection –which, while deeply annoying, is necessary to access a lot of UHD content from streaming sources. Furthermore, there is no HEVC decoding ability and the web connectivity features we expect from any decent 4K TV don’t come with the SE55UY04.
Honestly, just about the only thing that the Seiki SE55UY04 has going for it is its 4K resolution on a 55 inch screen at a price that’s below $1000, and even this one major benefit is fading fast as better 4K TVs from better brands grow much more affordable. In terms of overall picture quality, features and connectivity, the SE55UY04 is not your best bet for a 4K TV, even if you’re looking to save some money.
• Screen size: 55 diagonal inches
• Smart TV: Yes
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: no
• Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
• Screen Lighting: Edge-lit LED backlighting with Local dimming
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: none
• Remotes: one button remote
• Connectivity: 3 HDMI 1.4 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, VGA port, Component video, RCA input, Stereo mini Phono jack input, RCA input/output, digital coaxial output
• Sound: Stereo sound
• TV weight with/without stand: 46.3lbs/39.8 lbs
• Dimensions: 49.58"x29.22"x3.81" inches; With stand: 55.28"x35.63"x8.19" inches
While the highlights of the Seiki SE55UY04 aren’t exactly world class, there are more than a few of them that make this model into a decent piece of hardware.
First of all, its physical design is as thin as can be expected for a 4K TV and in this the SE55UY04 doesn’t disappoint. The bezel gently touches the edge of the screen and thus leaves plenty of room for visual display space while the overall screen thickness of just over an inch is more than lean enough to avoid adding extra weight and bulk.
As a 4K TV displaying native 4K content, the SE55UY04 does a fine enough job of the task and although the blacks on the TV don’t look particularly great in comparison to those of certain higher end brands, the overall quality of the 4K display is more than decent with vibrant colors, decent color accuracy and smooth motion flow of 4K content that the TV manages to load without having to take it through its 30Hz HDMI connections from a third party device.
Also, the TV’s out-of-the-box calibration for picture quality leaves a lot to be desired, so this might initially confuse some users into assuming that the SE55UY04 has a much worse picture quality than it actually does. However, with a bit of adjustment and especially after turning off the Noise reduction feature in the visual controls, the TV actually does deliver quite a fine level of quality when displaying content and more vibrancy than what you’d get with any typical name brand HDTV.
This really is one bare-bones 4K TV when it comes to visual specs and display features. Yes, you do get a 4K ultra HD resolution and a built-in upscaling engine for normal HD content but even these two features are of the most basic kind on the market.
The 4K ultra HD doesn’t come with any sort of added dynamic range features or contrast enhancers that are really worth noting. There is a local dimming technology built into the SE55UY04’s screen and it does create some decent contrast in specific scene types but the visual impact of this is also not exactly something to write home about.
The TV’s picture settings control comes with three nonadjustable picture preset settings, and a fourth called “User” which does allow some basic changes. You can adjust three color temperature settings, modify the noise reduction settings and make the basic adjustments to contrast, brightness, color, tint and sharpness that have been a part of TV display controls for decades. There are also no backlight controls.
The SE55UY04 also lets you move between four different aspect ratio settings for non-4K content but none of them let you view 1080p content with no overscan and even the best of them just lets you chop off a bit from the top, bottom and side edges of the image. Of course, however, this isn’t much of an issue anyhow since any HD content you watch on the TV will be upconverted to fit the native 4k pixels anyhow. Furthermore, aspect ratios can’t be changed on the SE55UY04, the upscaling is completely pixel-for-pixel and can sometimes look rather noisy or blurry.
In fact, some users have even reported that using the Seiki SE55UY04 to watch normal Full HD content produces a worse experience than that produced by ordinary HD TVs from some name brands.
The connections on the SE55UY04 are surprisingly numerous but despite this, they still fall short of their potential. The three HDMI ports are all 1.4 models (with no news on when Seiki plans on introducing a much needed hardware update to HDMI 2.0), which means that they can indeed handle 4K ultra HD content at 3840 x 2160 pixels but can only do so at a rate of 24 to 30Hz as opposed to the 60 Hz of which HDMI 2.0 is capable.
The USB connections also disappoint a bit, being 2.0, they have been designed to handle only photo and audio files and can’t transfer video from third party devices to the TV.
Furthermore, because the TV doesn’t even include DisplayPort (1.2 or any version) PC gamers hoping to enjoy smooth 4K gaming through this TV can’t do so unless they find a video card that’s compatible with the low-end HDMI 1.4 on the SE55UY04.
Finally, this is not a web connected TV and doesn’t have the full interactive array of smart TV features found in any name brand ultra HD model. For this connectivity downside alone, you get no direct access to web-based streaming apps for HD and ultra HD content and this is a major disappointment.
The price of the Seiki SE55UY04 is one of its few truly decent features but won’t stay that way for long. Online it retails for prices ranging from $699 and $939 depending on which retailer you go with. Best prices we found were on Amazon.
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Between a lack of internet connectivity, outdated connectivity ports and only decent picture quality, the Seiki SE55UY04 leaves a lot to be desired in various aspects of its design and features (or lack thereof).
Worst of all however is the simple fact that buying this model as your first ever 4K TV will leave you at a severe disadvantage when it comes to getting access to the latest and best 4K content from assorted sources. The SE55UY04 is woefully unequipped to manage the task.
• Very affordable price for 4K TV
• Reasonably clear ultra HD picture quality
• Useful as a 4K TV for big-screen gaming
• Outdated connectivity ports
• No web access
• Low quality HD display specs
• No smart TV
• No access to streaming media apps
• Better alternatives available