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Seiki is poised to break records this December when it releases its latest 4K HDTV, the 65" SE65UY04. Priced at just $2,999 (MSRP), it's set to become the cheapest 4K HDTV in this size category. And while big-box retailers may use this "cheap" 4K HDTV to lure shoppers, we think early adopters should wait before making any purchase as this "affordable" TV isn't quite what it seems.
Based on deals we saw for Seiki's last big 4K release (the $1,500 50" SE50UY04), we expect the 65" Seiki to drop 20% in price soon after its debut. In fact, it took just 10 days for the 50" SE50UY04 to see its first deal, which shaved $200 off its list price. Two months later, and the SE50UY04 had dropped in price by 35%. Because Seiki TVs generally see such quick and steep price drops, we expect 65" SE65UY04 pricing to follow a similar pattern. So, while it might cost $2,999 at launch in December, this 4K TV could quickly drop in price to a more reasonable $1,900 come February.
And if a potential $1,000 savings isn't enough to convince you to hold off on buying this TV, CNET found little to like about its predecessor, the Seiki 50" SE50UY04, saying it suffered from "light black levels, poor screen uniformity, and subpar video processing." And with no smart features, WiFi capabilities, or support for HDMI 2.0, you're essentially buying an outdated TV, albeit an outdated 4K TV.
If you want a good, cheap 4K HDTV, unfortunately, your only real option is to wait for holiday 2013 and post-holiday sales in 2014. Currently prices are still higher than they should be for these TVs and although models like the Seiki SE65UY04 will help drive prices down on name brand sets, it's still going to be a while before they're on par with the price of 1080p sets.
In the meantime, there are plenty of 55" to 65" 1080p HDTVs you can purchase for well under $2,999, many of which come with all the bells and whistles you could dream of, in addition to better picture quality. But if you're still curious about 4K or want a cheap 4K TV you can use for PC gaming, wait until the SE65UY04 drops in price. Unlike other TVs which can take an eternity to become affordable, this is one model that'll hit the discount bin very quickly.