To people of a certain age it may seem that TV’s have now come full circle, with the old concave screens of the ‘70’s replaced with flat screens in the noughties and now we have the new convex types (Curved Screen TV’s) of 2014. And with both Samsung and LG releasing TV’s complete with these curved screens, is this the future of our television sets or just a new marketing ploy?
Samsung showcased two new innovations, which included the mega-sized 105 inch U8500 Curved 4K Ultra HD TV, and a working prototype TV that had a screen that can swap between curved and flat. They also announced the new U8500 4K Ultra HD TV, complete with curved screens that are available in sizes from 55 inches and upwards.
Andy Griffiths at Samsung said: “This year CES 2014 for me is all about TV. The next chapter, a very exciting new stage for TV, particularly driven by curved and the UHD products that go with it.”
Advantages of curved screen TV
So why the change from flat screens to curved?
Experts state that the change from flat to curved screen TV is to replicate the experience of cinematic viewing, as all cinema screens are in fact curved. Griffiths says: “With the curve screen you have this fantastically immersive experience, so it’s the natural cinematic view. It’s the natural way the human eye looks at visual pictures and it’s another aesthetically beautiful stage of TV design.”
But with these larger curved screens, are you ever going to achieve a cinematic viewing experience in your living room? Cinema screens are typically curved because the picture has to be projected onto the screen. With larger sizes and the wide cinemascope format that most cinemas utilise, you get a wider field of view with a curved screen; this is so that audience can see more of the film without moving their heads. In cinemas, the screen is designed to ‘wrap around’ the viewer, but how does this technology translate to a living room TV?
Disadvantages of curved screen TV
With TV’s measuring 55 inches or less, this is wrap-around factor is not likely to play a major role, and as the average TV screen is said to be under 40 inches, with only around 12% sold over the last two years measuring over 42 inches, are people really going to benefit from buying a curved screen?
For those people who have one of the larger mega screens and a pretty big living room, is it possible to recreate this cinematic experience. But there are disadvantages to these new curved screens, the main one is the price. TV’s with curved screens are typically retailing at around £7,000 or more, whereas you can get a decent LCD TV with a larger screen size for under £800.
Another disadvantage is that curved TV’s are difficult to mount on a wall, meaning that you can only have them on a stand or table, but will this be at the correct height for optimum viewing?
You also have to be careful of where you sit, as with a flat screen the picture is the same wherever you are viewing, but with a curved screen you have the edges of the display that reduce the viewing angles and could block the views of people sitting to the right and left-hand side of the screen.
You really need to sit bang in the centre of the screen to get the best viewing experience, which can be tricky if you have many people watching at the same time.
Samsung however feel that curved screens are the future for TV’s, with Guy Kinnell, Head of TV and AV, Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland stating: “Following last year’s introduction of Samsung UHD TV, in 2014 Samsung will drive industry growth through tremendous innovation in UHD picture quality, breakthrough design and consumer choice. The combination of our curved design and UHD picture quality creates the ultimate immersive entertainment experience for people passionate about entertainment. Samsung is well-positioned to meet UHD demand with our new beautifully designed, feature-packed and future-ready Smart TVs.”
For more information on curved screen TV visit Samsung.com