Seiki Pushes to Change Brand Perception

China’s Seiki brand is keen to promote itself, rushing to become known as a maker of high-end products. It’s a turnaround for the company that many people know for launching the first sub-$1,000 UltraHD TV (Display Monitor Vol 20 No 16), which was an extremely basic unit without smart functionality.

We began by looking at the Seiki Pro monitors, which were launched in USA last year. These 28″, 32″ and 40″ monitors were specifically designed to avoid the “Me too” trend. Seiki wanted to introduce something different with each model, said VP of sales and marketing, Sung Choi. Thus the 40″ and 32″ units use VA panels, and the 28″ is IPS – but still fast enough for gaming, at 3.5ms. It also features AMD’s Freesync technology.

At IFA (Seiki Wants to Stir Up Existing Markets), Seiki showed prototype notebooks. These were on show again in the suite, and cover sizes from 10″ to 15.6″. Resolution varies from 1280 x 800 to 1920 x 1080, and most use integrated graphics: only the largest (NTSN1521) features a discrete GPU. Seiki is using its experience as a PC OEM to build these models, and intends to release them in China, the USA and UK in Q2.

A new launch for the company is the Seiki Pro innovation brand of UltraHD TVs. These are enthusiast models, distinct from Seiki’s standard brand, with thin bezels and improved UltraHD video processing and upscaling capabilities. They will be launched in Q2 in 55″ (SE55UY06, $1,300), 58″ (SE58UY06, $1,600), 65″ (SE65UY06, $2,200) and 85″ (SE85UY06, $8,000) sizes. Each will feature RJ45 inputs for commercial users.

In a separate room, Seiki was showing two OLED products using panels from Samsung Display. One of these was a 55″ transparent unit, for commercial use. It has 1920 x 1080 resolution, 45% transmittance and covers 100% of Adobe RGB. The other was a 55″ ‘smart mirror’ display in a portrait orientation. Both products are being tested and feedback is being gathered now.

We asked about plans for the HDR and quantum dots, which have become more widespread over the past year. Seiki is trialling Dolby Vision HDR and QD Vision dots now, but is waiting to see what demand is like before implementing the technologies in mass production. A 32″ QD monitor is being considered, but this requires open-cell panels; Seiki currently buys LCD modules.

Finally, new partnerships were being highlighted. One of these is a promotional partnership with Brad Keselowski Racing. BKR used Seiki displays during the 2015 season, and is also using them at the team’s racing facility to help the team prepare. Additional partnerships and co-marketing details will be announced closer to the start of the 2016 season.

Other partnerships deal with content. Seiki’s Muse Streaming Media smart TV system now has Netflix – one of the few tier 2 brands to do so, said Choi – and will feature Amazon Instant Video by February.