4k ‘Ultra HD’ TVs are still hitting the market and range in price from $699 for Seiki’s 39″ class to $39,999 for Samsung’s 85″ flagship model. 4k TVs (branded ‘Ultra HD’ by the CEA but also referred to UHD and Quad HD), are specified as having 3840×2160 lines of resolution; or, twice the amount of vertical and horizontal lines of a 1920×1080 display. The resolution amounts to 8.3 megapixels, which equals about four-times the amount of a 1080p display with 2.1 megapixels. LG, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Seiki and Toshiba have all introduced consumer-level 4k HDTVs. We like the Samsung UN70KU6300 for Best Entry-Level 4K 70-Inch TV.

There are only about a dozen Ultra HD TVs currently available in the US. And, 4k content is just as limited. For consumers, the only true 4k titles can be watched from Sony’s FMP-X1 4k Media Player which comes with 10 titles pre-loaded. Sony plans to soon launch a network video service from which you’ll be able to rent or purchase titles and store them on the player’s 2TB hard drive. Sony has also released a series of Blu-ray Discs labeled “Mastered in 4k,” but the content is still only 1080p and not true 4k resolution. A 4k movie would take up about 100GB of space, which is still a large of amount of memory even by today’s standards. As far as broadcasting 4k, we’re still light years away, as most TV broadcasts are still in 720p or 1080i. If you want a TV that displays 4k, check out the Sony 55x810c 4K TV Review.

Prices on 4k HD TVs, with the exception of Seiki models, are still “ultra” high. A 55″ will run you about $5k or $6k for a top brand like Sony, LG, or Toshiba. A 65″ costs between $7k and $8k. Same price range as the Bang &  Olufsen Avant. LG, Sony, and Toshiba all have 84″ models that range from $17k to $25k. And, Samsung’s flagship 85″ UN85S9 will set you back a mere $40k. Those are big pricetags for TVs that don’t have much content to show off the capabilities. It’ll be years before a standard disc format is developed to hold 4k movies. (Although, digital downloads may just beat discs to the punch this time.) But, HDTVs were just as limited and expensive when first arriving in stores about 7 or 8 years ago. And, the first 3D models were just as pricey a few years back.

The question of whether or not it’s a good time to buy an Ultra HD really depends on whether you want to be an early adopter or not. It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict prices will eventually go down. Next year’s models may end up being half the price. But there’s something to be said for those who can’t wait for the next generation. Have a look at your local Best Buy or home theater store and determine for yourself if the quality of 4k is something you can’t wait any longer for.

Let’s take a look and compare current 4k Ultra HD TVs available, or shipping soon, to retail stores in the US. For the sake of space we’ve listed only the basic specs and MSRPs.

LG 55″ 55LA9700 Smart TV 3840 x 2160P LED YES July, 2013 $5,999.99
65″ 65LA9700 Smart TV 3840 x 2160P LED YES July, 2013 $7,999.99
84″ 84LM9600 Smart TV 3840 x 2160P LED YES Fall 2012 $19,999.99
Sony 55″ XBR-55X900A Wi-Fi Direct 3840 x 2160 LED YES May, 2013 $4,999.99
65″ XBR-65X900A Wi-Fi Direct 3840 x 2160 LED YES May, 2013 $6,999
84″ XBR-84X900 Wi-Fi Direct 3840 x 2160 LED YES TBD $24,999.99
Toshiba 58″ L9300U Smart TV 3840 x 2160 LED YES Aug. 2013 $4,999
65″ L9300U Smart TV 3840 x 2160 LED YES Aug. 2013 $6,999
84″ L9300U Smart TV 3840 x 2160 LED YES Aug. 2013 $16,999
Samsung 85″ UN85S9AF Smart TV 3840 x 2160 LED YES Jan. 2013 $39,999.99
Sharp 70″ Aquos Ultra Smart TV 3840 x 2160 LED YES Aug. 2013 $7,999
Seiki 39″ SE39UY04 None 3840 x 2160 LED NO July, 2013 $699
50″ SE50UY04 None 3840 x 2160 LED NO April, 2013 $1,499

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Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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  1. This chart misses a few things that are very important in how TVs perform and look, including Dynamic Contrast ratio (the higher the ratio, the more radiant and colorful the TV) and Refresh rate (240Hz > 120Hz > 60Hz). People might just look at this and get the cheap Seiki, even though the quality is inferior.

    1. I agree Tim. But we had to draw the line somewhere. The chart is really just to compare prices and major specs. Given most models support 3D, except for the Seiki, the refresh rates are 120Hz are higher. That would have been the next spec I would put in. Then probably contrast ratio. Maybe there is a call for another chart!

  2. I have no problem being an early adopter by there is absolutely ZERO 4k content to speak of. Why would I shell those prices just to upscale 1080p content. I would rather watch 1080p content natively on my current tv / projector. Only upside I can think of is that if they can display full 1080p passive 3d but I am not sure if they do or not.

    1. Quite a few of us out there also uses the screens for computers and game consoles – and can therefore use the full 4k. I wonder if any of these can split the screen into 2 or 4 pictures? like half and half TV and PC

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