Will Consumers See Any Real Need for a Curved TV Display?

Curved TVs were a hot topic at this year’s CES, and many of them were promoted as giving a “3D-like” effect — more theatrical and cinematic. But some analysts are questioning whether there is a need for a curved display. “3D-like” may not serve as an accurate description of the experience for average viewers. Some say it even alters the experience in a way a director might not intend, as the effect could easily be achieved by a special camera lens instead.

Ars Technica is one such publication that questions the need for or purpose of a curved TV screen. “The mishmash of arguments for a curved TV isn’t necessarily an indictment of the value of curved TV,” the article notes. “This would not be the first time that manufacturers obscured the technical or scientific reasons for a decision because they think it’s too hard to explain to consumers.”

The article points out that many manufacturers have different reasons for the new curved style. Electronics company and TV manufacturer TCL, for example, says that a standard flat screen “makes objects at the center seem larger,” but a curved TV “brings the edges closer to you.”

But as Ars Technica points out, “the statement that a flat screen would make centered objects seem larger seems to be at odds with the way video is filmed, the way we see things, and the way we are meant to see things in a film.”

“Immersive feeling or feeling of being surrounded may be paramount for, say, a show on the deep ocean in an IMAX theater, but it’s far from suited to every scene or situation,” the article states. The effect of a curved screen may make objects that are not intended to seem close to the viewer actually seem closer.

Though the article acknowledges that there are indeed desirable features with a curved screen, some of the benefits touted by manufacturers are not so desirable, and even ring false. “Samsung also asserted in its PR presentations that the curved screens give video content a ‘3D-like effect,’ but having the edges of a picture slightly closer doesn’t mimic any 3D experience we know of.”