What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages With Curved Screen TVs?
Samsung, LG and now Sony have launched a range of curved TVs, claiming that curved screen TVs are the future in home entertainment. Are curved screens delivering a better user experience, or are they a gimmick; a fad that will pass? This article looks at the pros and cons of upgrading to a curved TV; after watching curved screen TVs from of all 3 brands.
A Greater Sense Of ‘Depth’ & ‘Immersion’ On Curved Screens?
One of the biggest advantages manufacturers promote in favour of curved screen TVs; (quoted from Samsung) is:
Auto Depth Enhancer may create a feeling of depth and immersion when viewing some content on Samsung’s incredible curved televisions. You can almost feel yourself falling into the action!
By having the edges of the screen closer to the viewer, the argument is that there is a visual perception of depth. This may be true if you are sitting directly in front of a 65 inch curved screen TV, but we found not, if you’re sitting more than about 35° off centre.
Higher Colour Contrast On Curved Screen TVs?
Again to increase the feeling of depth, Samsung says by applying depth enhancement processing to its curved TVs, that adjusts the contrast of different parts of the image, the sense of field depth is boosted, and for a more true-to-life viewing experience there is higher contrast from different viewing positions.
As we discussed in our article on the best TVs for watching sport, picture quality is dependent on numerous factors, including source quality, your antenna, natural room lighting; during the day, and the TVs own picture settings, that can affect the best potential of the picture you see. It’s also impossible to compare curved screen TVs with flat screen TVs objectively because the picture specifications are different.
Curved TVs Give Uniform Viewing Distance & Improved Viewing Angles?
Samsung state on their website:
The curved screen gives videos a presence not felt on flat screens whilst a wider field of view creates a panoramic effect that makes the display seem even bigger than it is. The curved design creates a balanced and uniformed viewing distance for a more true-to-life viewing experience with improved viewing angles… so everyone watching has the best seat in the house.
Our experience viewing on 55 inch and 65 inch curved TVs does not support this; especially when viewed at an angle of greater than 35° off centre, when in fact the picture image becomes geometrically distorted.
Curved Screen TVs Reduce Reflections
This is simply not true. The curved screen stretches and distorts the reflection over a wider area.
Summary: So Is It Worth Rushing Out To Buy A Curved Screen TV?
While a ‘scientific case’ supporting the benefits of having a curved TV screen can be made, in practice we just can’t recommend those benefits enough to say you should buy your next TV with a curved screen; primarily because only one person is possibly going to see any benefit and only if they sit in the ‘right spot’, everyone else sitting outside of that most certainly will not.
The money you save by buying a flat screen TV could be put to better use; such as upgrading your surround sound speaker system instead.
Note: Curved TVs don’t look great wall mounted either because you’re seeing more of the rear of the TV, and where it’s attached to the wall.