Sep 06, 2017
Remember when curved TVs were the next big thing? So does Samsung. Even though most television manufacturers are focusing on other features, Samsung is still embracing its curves — releasing 22 new curved TV models this spring. So, why does Samsung still treat curved TVs like a mini-IMAX while the other manufacturers act like they’re a thing of the past? It’s an interesting conversation that ultimately comes down to Samsung courting the niche viewers who value the immersive viewing experience the curved screen provides in some very specific situations.
Why Didn’t Curved TVs Catch On?
There are solid reasons curved screens haven’t gone mainstream. While glare and reflections can be a problem with any TV, a curved screen magnifies and distorts reflections so they are even more intrusive. Also, you have to view the screen pretty much straight on to avoid distortion. That makes positioning the TV tougher. With the growing popularity of open-concept spaces, people are wanting more and more versatility out of their TVs to allow them to watch from different areas of the room, which is the exact opposite of a curved TV viewing angle that hinders versatility.
And, let’s face it – they are anything but diminutive. Isn’t "it's slim and svelte so you can put it anywhere" one of the key reasons you replaced your old clunker with a flat screen? SANUS makes a special curved TV wall mount (and other SANUS mounts come with hardware for compatibility with curved TVs), but even we admit these TVs can invoke strong feelings about how they look on a flat wall. They do tuck nicely into a corner, though, and can blend into the space nicely with a few simple design tricks. They also look great in a recessed area or a cabinet. It may just come down to your own personal preference.
On the Other Hand . . .
There are solid reasons why you might want to switch to a curved screen. Samsung is surely hoping you’ll be swayed by the immersive viewing experience. It’s sort of the visual version of wraparound sound. The screen’s curve mimics the shape of your eye, making the picture look as sharp at the edges as it does in the middle. Your viewing field is wider, contrast appears sharper, and the picture looks almost like 3D.
And talk about style! You have to admit that curved screen has “futuristic” written all over it with their use modern materials and finishes. Anyone who owns one must be a trendsetter. Or at least going for an eye-catching design in their home!
What Does It All Mean?
Britain’s TrustedReviews spent about two years testing curved TVs, so they know a few things about the pros and cons of this particular style. Size is everything, they say – specifically, big size. While they found 55” curved TVs offer “pretty minimal” benefits, they said if you go up to 65”, “it’s easier to appreciate the picture benefits while feeling less aggrieved by the negatives (except for the reflections one).” Still, that’s not exactly high praise.
Their prediction? “Our feeling is that the curve will only potentially feel of significant benefit at truly colossal sizes of 70 inches or more.” So perhaps that would be a thumbs-up for your media room (and maybe your man cave), but not for your bathroom or kitchen or some other smaller room in your house.
Samsung says sales of curved TVs have increased about 20% each year. The question is, will you be one of the 20% this year?