Curved TV’s – The Ultimate Immersive Experience?

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International Consumer Electronics Show is held in the first week of January, every year. 2014, CES, held in Las Vegas was filled with many breakthrough technological devices, but the device, which occupied the show was ‘the Curved TV.’ In 2013, January, at CES Samsung and LG electronics released a prototype form of a TV that bends at a subtle angle – similar to the large cinema screens. In fact, the Curved TV is mimics the curvature of a cinema’s screen, which is said to give a better off-angle viewing clarity than a flat screen.

The origination idea of these TV’s comes from IMAX screen (which, if you have closely seen is slightly curved at the centre). This feature was later integrated into the big-size home theaters with a compatible projector, curved cinema-scope screen and anamorphic lens. A Curved TV has wider field of view than a regular flat screen. Normally, flat screens create a distortion on the edges. And also the elements at the edge will seem larger than those in the middle part. The picture we see seems to wrap things inward – called as a ‘pin cushion effect.’ However, the pictures in Curved TV are adverted to increase the extent to which the picture appears to be within your peripheral as well as main vision – i.e. the images resemble very closely the way you perceive images in the real world.

The screen’s curvature might match the natural curvature of our eyes and vision. The screen would likely appear to wrap around the viewer’s eyes, which may or may not be preferred according to the viewing experience. On the flip side, Curved TV’s biggest problem is the ‘size.’ The visual improvement of these TV’s is completely dependent on its size. So, 80” – 90” or further large screen is required to fully reap the use of a curved screen. The average market scenario is totally different. Mostly, 40 inch TV’s or below that is sold in high numbers. Only 12% percent of TV’s sold all over the world is said to have exceeded the 42 inch mark. So, at this rate, the benefits we get from a Curved TV are smaller when compared to its size and money. Mounting TV’s on a wall, due to their thin weights, has been the standard now but you can’t do the same with ‘Curved TV’s.’

Samsung and LG haven’t just stopped at introducing the curved screens. They have also announced a ‘flexible screen’ option, which might make the screens morph between being completely flat and curved at the touch of a button, with the edges of the screen bending in towards the viewer.

The curved TV’s have their tangible benefits like ‘wider field of view’ and aesthetic appeal, but the practical operational and functional problems of this technology may defeat its existence in the future. It can’t be totally written off as a marketing gimmick; however, this technology has to pass many phases to eradicate its current hurdles.

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