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Seiki U-VISION 4K Upscaling HDMI Cable Preview

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Seiki U-VISION 4K Upscaling HDMI Cable

Seiki U-VISION 4K Upscaling HDMI Cable

Summary

  • Product Name: U-VISION
  • Manufacturer: Seiki
  • Review Date: February 27, 2014 08:00
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Up-conversion of 1080p content up to 4K
  • Up-conversion of 720p content up to 1080p
  • Adaptive edge enhancement of lines and curves for improved video and user interfaces
  • Adaptive sharpening and noise reduction to refine video content
  • Low-latency processing for HD video gaming
  • Brightness, contrast, saturation improvement

Executive Overview

Some of you may remember Seiki as the company that came out with 4k Ultra HD displays so inexpensive that no one thought they could possibility be any good. When other manufacturers had $10,000 4k displays, Seiki's 55" model retailed for $1500. After a few reviews, it was clear that the corners they cut to give you such an inexpensive 4k panel was in the scaling chips. Frankly, the panel performed fine if you fed it a clean 4k signal (something that isn't seen that often in the wild these days) but if you fed it anything else (even 1080p), it tended to look significantly less good.

Well, they've figured out how to fix that - and their solution is an HDMI cable.

If you read the title of this preview a number of times trying to figure out if it was a misprint, it isn't. Seiki has announced an HDMI cable with built in scaling. It will take a 1080p signal and scale it up to 4k or a 720p signal and scale it to 1080p (no word on whether that 720p scaled to 1080p will then be scaled again to 4k). Since Seiki has already shown that it doesn't really know how to do scaling, they've partnered with Technicolor on the scaling technology. The Seiki U-VISION 4k upconversion HDMI cable is the first to receive Technicolor's 4K Image Certification.

What is that? We had to look it up too. Technicolor is attempting to set the standard for 4k reproduction. While you can check out their site for the full details, it seems like Technicolor is taking on HQV in testing 4k upconversion. They are using specific tests to look for errors in upscaling such as jaggies, motion blur, noise, color and brightness, and the like. While it is unclear if they will provide test discs for consumers and professionals to use, they are already certifying equipment with Seiki's U-VISION being the first.

The chipset, specifically, comes from Marseille Networks and is the VTV0-1222 video processing chip. Marseille is a partner with Technicolor so it is no surprise that their chips perform well in the Technicolor tests. In addition to straight scaling, the Marseille chip will provide adaptive edge enhancement, adaptive sharpening and noise reduction, low-latency processing, and brightness, contrast, and saturation improvement. It is unclear if any of these variables will be user adjustable or if they will be set by Marseille, Technicolor, and Seiki.

Early adopters of Seiki 4k displays will all receive the new U-VISION HDMI cable for free. Those that want  to experiment with the cable, will be able to purchase one for the surprisingly reasonable price of $39.99. Honestly, with "high-speed" HDMI cables on the market for many hundreds of dollars, the price of this upconverting cable has us confused. While we couldn't confirm the length of the cable, we assume it must be pretty short. There is a power requirement for the U-VISION so you'll want to make sure you have a USB port near your HDMI input on the back of your display. The cable is not locked to the Seiki brand, however, so you should be able to use this with any display. We're very curious to see how this cable, or the adapter, work.

Conclusion

When you put out a display before a technology has matured, you are necessarily going to be behind the curve. Seiki's $1500, 55" 4K display impressed everyone with its price but the built-in scaling and upconversion was pretty disappointing. Rather than release a new display this year with better scaling and leaving all those customers with substandard sets, Seiki's U-VISION 4k upconverting HDMI cable fixes the problem and is being provided for free to owners. Non-owners that want to try it out can buy one for the bargain price of $40. At that price, we're betting there are a number of 4k early adopters that are already pre-ordering theirs.

For more information, please visit www.seiki.com.

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About the author:

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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Recent Forum Posts:

j_garcia posts on March 17, 2014 17:21
Jes182, post: 1023786
Won't most 4K tvs (the ones made by reputable manufacturers) already scale incoming content to 4K? For years, we've all had 1080p tvs that scale the majority of content up. Most cable boxes, previous-gen game consoles, etc., don't even output 1080p. So this cable is just for Seiki owners, not every 4K early adopter.

You didn't even read the first paragraph did you?
Jes182 posts on March 17, 2014 16:36
Built in?

Won't most 4K tvs (the ones made by reputable manufacturers) already scale incoming content to 4K? For years, we've all had 1080p tvs that scale the majority of content up. Most cable boxes, previous-gen game consoles, etc., don't even output 1080p. So this cable is just for Seiki owners, not every 4K early adopter.
j_garcia posts on February 27, 2014 15:27
Article answered my first question right off the bat quite succinctly:

Since Seiki has already shown that it doesn't really know how to do scaling, they've partnered with Technicolor on the scaling technology. The Seiki U-VISION 4k upconversion HDMI cable is the first to receive Technicolor's 4K Image Certification.
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