When you’re looking into buying a TV, there are a lot of things to consider. Do you need OLED? 4K? And just what about curved TVs? Curved TVs were hot for a minute but remain available and there’s a small yet vibrant niche demand where flat just doesn’t offer what curved can. So, curved is alive and kicking, but what do you need to know?
If you go to any electronics store you’re likely to find at least a few different curved TV options, so one of the first things you’ll have to do is decide whether flat or curved is better for you. We have worked through numerous displays, both flat and curved, over the years, which puts us in the unique position of being able to give you the skinny on what we like, and what we don’t like, when it comes to real life usage of a curved TV — instead of just stating the obvious ‘on-paper’ reasons.
So let’s jump right in, shall we?
It makes for a more immersive experience
When you’re sitting in front of a curved TV, the image warps to encapsulate more of your vision. Especially if you sit directly in the center, the screen captures much of your peripheral vision which would normally be clouded by other things in your house, unless you’re just a few feet from a 100-inch screen. Even then, screens in a movie theater are curved as well, so you’re more likely to get that realistic movie experience if you select one for your house. If your TV is big enough, it can fill your entire field of view, and can capture your surroundings to the point where you feel like you are truly part of the content. Pair this with a high-end sound system or even a TV with some great speakers built-in, and you’re in for a great ride.
You’ll find it offers better contrast
Where flat screens need to spread the light across the entire image, curved TVs can strengthen the light directed at a particular area. This works similarly to how satellite dishes focus a signal, and while manufacturers haven’t actually marketed this as a feature, we’ve noticed that curved TVs have traditionally had much better contrast than their flat brethren. If you don’t believe me, go check it out at your local electronics store. The manufacturers put a lot of effort into making sure that you will be able to enjoy the content from multiple viewing angles, and that is quite apparent in our own personal and professional use. Testing out a Samsung 78″ curved TV in the DGiT smart house a few years ago, we all said the contrast is spot on.
A more comfortable viewing experience
Our eyes are optimized for recognizing 3D objects, so why have we built all our modern technology around flat screens? When you watch a flat panel TV for too long, your eyes can get strained, but the curve in panels can make it more comfortable for you to watch TV longer. The distance between your eyes and different parts of the TV are less varied than on a regular TV, so this is definitely a positive for your viewing experience. Though the panel is still representing a 2D image, the curve in the television itself helps the content to feel much more stuck out, which is just more natural to watch for an extended period.
There’s more depth
When curved TVs are big and wide enough, the curve can become enough to the point where the image almost seems 3D. This is because there is a large variation between points on the TV, and one viewing point may be physically further back than another. You’re going to have to buy quite a big TV to enjoy this effect, but it is quite immersive once you actually experience it. Especially since the edges of the TV are curved out towards you, you may feel as if you are being sucked into the content. Many curved TVs also apply a contrast enhancement feature to different parts of the screen, which helps to add clarity and color to image enhancing depth. If you’ve noticed movie theater screens making you feel super immersed in the content, this is why.
It has better viewing angles, depending
Obviously not everyone is going to be able to sit directly in front of the TV. Curved TVs give you the ability to experience exceptional colors even when sitting on the side, as the curve bends towards you, letting you see almost around the edge that might’ve been hidden. Like we mentioned earlier, many TV manufacturers add in a number of contrast-boosting enhancements, which make parts of the TV that would normally look washed out look nice and colorful. Add this to the fact that there is light being directed all over the screen and you end up with an image that can be easily viewed from almost anywhere in the room. That might surprise you, but it’s the shallow curve that can really help here.
Samsung only, and more expensive
Curved panels are basically only really being mass-manufactured by Samsung in 2020. And despite all the years of work, they still aren’t as cheap to produce as flat panels, given curved LCD screens are both a relatively new, relatively lower-production technology. Since companies generally produce quite a few more regular TVs than curved options, you’re going to get a lot more options at a much more reasonable price if you go with a flat panel over a curved option. Once a curved TV was thousands and thousands more, but the difference is closer to just a few $100 these days. A nice new curved 65″ Samsung TV at Best Buy costs $699.99 while the almost-same flat version is only $499.99. Consider what is important to you before you make a buying decision because you might be on a tight budget, or ready to throw caution to the wind.
Remember that you’re going to mostly be looking a Samsung TVs in most showrooms. You may find some other brands but the magic of curve didn’t take off for everyone.
They need more space and can look strange on walls
Now that many TVs are becoming extremely thin and flat, going curved can waste quite a lot of space in your house. Especially if you’re mounting your TV on the wall, a curved option will jut out and use a lot of space on your wall that could otherwise be used for walking and other space-involving activities. We ourselves noticed that our large curved Samsung TV juts out from the wall much more than we would have wanted. The wall mount we used allows us to pull the TV close up against the wall, but the huge curve makes it look quite awkward and uses quite a lot of space.
They’re prone to glare
If you line up a flat TV at the perfect angle, you should be able to avoid any annoying glare in your house. With a curved TV however, it’s almost impossible to get that perfect angle, since the curve changes the angle throughout the TV. Especially when there are multiple light sources in your room, you might start seeing a significant amount of glare or reflections if you have everything but all the lights off. You might want to avoid one of these if your TV is near a window where you already see some light reflections, and we would advise turning off all your lamps as well.
You do need a huge TV
Many of the viewing angle benefits present in curved TVs need quite large panels to fully take in. If your TV is too small, the curve will probably not be all that noticeable, and the field of view may actually seem smaller than it would on a flat panel. This is because your peripherals are not consumed by the curve, and it does not stretch as far in your vision as the flat panel. In TVs and monitors, every inch you add to the panel can significantly increase the price, so you’re going to be spending multiple thousand dollars in order to get something that adds to the immersion factor. Go test out some TVs in your local electronics store before you throw down that much cash. It’ll be well worth it.
Do you prefer curved or flat TVs more? There are definitely a lot of pros and cons you’ll have to consider, but everyone has different opinions, so hopefully we’ve helped you to make a more informed decision. Let us know your preference in the comments below. Almost every electronics store is going to carry both types, so go out and see what standard you enjoy the most.