Mae West famously urged women to “cultivate your curves”. And, it seems Samsung has stretched her advice further, applying it to technology.
The South Korean multinational has just unveiled its first super-thin curved television screen. The idea behind the 55-inch high-resolution OLED model’s curves is that it is designed to improve viewing experience, keeping the screen an equal distance from the user at all times.
The concave display gives viewers a more immersive experience. And there are clever features designed to improve picture quality. Samsung says its Timeless Arena feature means the chance of any images appearing pixelated is vastly reduced.
Curved screens have, of course, been used for years in movie theatres – to give cinema-goers an impressive viewing experience, no matter where they are sitting.
So, while it may not be a new idea, the potential benefits of curved screens can hold true in the home too. With very large screens, adding a curve can focus more light toward the audience, also reducing optical distortions that can occur when the display size is increased. Choose the right seat and you could feel as if the image is wrapped around you.
Taking its cue from the silver screen, Samsung’s new model also supports other established Samsung TV features, including multi-view that allows users to watch different things at the same time. Because the screen has such a rapid response time, it can easily update itself with two different images at once.
Samsung’s new set ships with a set of 3D glasses which come with built-in earphones, meaning two people can watch and listen to separate TV programmes simultaneously. It will also come with Samsung’s Evolution kit, which is designed to keep the set updated with Samsung’s software developments as they are released.
But, this innovative technology certainly doesn’t come cheap. It will set purchasers back £8,500, five times more than flat-screen equivalents.
At the moment, the new curved TV is only on sale in South Korea, but Samsung is due to roll out the set to other countries during July.
Samsung is certainly not without competition though. Rival LG is already retailing its own OLED television for around £8,800. Although, so far, LG’s version is only available in South Korea, with no announcement just yet about availability in other parts of the world.
Both companies are expecting their new curved televisions to prove popular with those hunting for an improved viewing experience. LG said: “With a gentle inward flex, the entire screen surface is equidistant from the viewer’s eyes, removing the problem of screen-edge visual distortion and detail loss.”
But the idea of a curved screen in the home has already been met with criticism. Cnet said: “The problem is not with the idea of curved screens, but a curved screen TV. To get the benefit of a wraparound image, or even the benefit of a more natural image that has every part equidistant from your eye, you need to be sitting in a pretty specific place.
“In the theatre screen, that place is an area big enough in which a lot of people can sit…With a smaller curved screen, that sweet spot is smaller.”
Still, as televisions have evolved from the chunky models of yesterday, into sleek flat screen devices so thin you can mount them on the wall, fresh innovation is sure to attract design enthusiasts who want a device that truly has the wow factor.