Does ‘CURVED’ Really Matter?
This is a common question. We researched this heavily a few years ago because we too, were in the market to buy a new 4K television. I was very interested in knowing how much better a curved TV would be than one that is not. At the time, I could not find much information about 4K in general.
I certainly could not find much at all about the new curved TVs. It was frustrating back in 2014, because I became so obsessed over the new 4K technology and I wanted to buy this TV! I got interested because I saw a demo at a local electronics store showing a native 4K movie on a 4K UHD TV. I was blown away.
However, I had problems finding any good information online about 4K.
I guess it was so new that there wasn’t anyone talking about it. This is exactly why I created and manage 4KADVICE.COM. I decided that I wanted to spend my time helping other consumers avoid a lack of knowledge about everything having to do with 4K.
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Who ever would have thought that a picture image quality could get much better than 1080HD? We certainly did not think so. We were amazed when 1080HD first came out. The picture was drastically better overall than SD (Standard Definition).
Now that we have all had 1080HD flat TVs for many years now, we have become use to this. It has become the norm and still is today in late 2016. However, there is a ‘storm a brew’in’…and the world is gearing up for another BIG, BIG change to television technology. Its already out and on the shelves and it is known as 4K.
It first came to be known as 4K, which was more of a marketing sales stunt by manufacturers. This is because technically it is not 4K horizontal resolution but more like 3,820. They round up exactly like they did with 1080HD or 2K.
To confuse the typical consumer, there has also been several various nicknames and verbiage associated with 4K. In general, we can call it just 4K and most will know what you are talking about (if they have ever even heard of 4K). However, the latest agreement with the UHD Alliance ( a bunch of TV manufacturers who meet & greet), is to standardize the name of 4K and call it “4K UHD” —-> ( 4K Ultra High Definition ).
So, this is what you will see on TV boxes and marketing ads from here on out. For purposes of this site at 4KADVICE.COM, we will refer to either 4K or 4K UHD as being one and the same.
Let’s get back to curved televisions. At first glance, I thought that this might be a good idea and help TV watching in general. But, the more I though about it and the more I researched…I became skeptical. I began to wonder if this was just another manufacturers marketing stunt to attract more buyers.
It certainly seems like it. The most I can tell, the purpose of a curved TV is to mimic what you see at the movie theater. One big negative about curved TVs, and why we did not purchase one was that you have to sit more directly in front of it to see it. This is because its curved. If you sit way wide of this curved TV the side closest to you is not as visible as the opposite side. Who wants that? To have to shuffle seats just to see the TV in the best way possible.
The claim is that a curved screen is a more natural shape to take advantage of our round eyes’ and peripheral vision. This should mean curved TVs allow for a more immersive experience, as the curve should make them fill more of our field of view. They are also suppose to give a wider viewing angle. But, we disagree after trying out many curved televisions. We do not think that it is a total negative to buy a curved 4K TV. We just don’t think that it is wise to pay extra for one. If it comes with the TV, fine then. But, dont pay hundreds extra just to have this curved ‘feature’.
In general, experts are saying that more and more manufacturers are pushing curved TVs as being the next GREAT THING to reach consumers. The boast is that a curved screen is a more natural and appealing way to watch TV because of how our eye balls are designed. Plus, it reminds us that we are in a movie theater. After all, consumers are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars building home theaters with curtains and all.
But, while there is an argument to be made for curved TVs on the basis of ergonomics – some people like the look of a curved TV. Sometimes, that is all it takes to make a final decision on a purchase. Unfortunately, there’s no dramatic difference in viewing experience when you compare curved and flat TVs for everyday use.
There Is No Dramatic Difference In Viewing
Experience When You Compare Curved with Flat TVs
The greatest reason to buy a curved television would be because you love the look of it. Please remember, though, that curved TVs are a bit bulkier and thicker in the back. Thickness combined with the curved, U-shape difference, can make mounting a TV to a wall or above a fire place a lot more challenging.
- Slightly (very slight) improved immersion: You won’t get anything like theater quality immersion with a curved 4K UHD TV, but that extra fraction of a degree and extra inch of screen real estate does technically add to the overall viewing experience. This is a plus.
- Depth is increased: On this topic, we definitely have to give curved 4K TVs their credit. The depth created by the curve and particularly in larger 65 inch+ models with additional picture quality technologies like OLED can definitely create something closer to a 3D viewing experience. Some brands like Samsung, which makes most of the market’s curved 4K TVs, even add depth enhancement technology to augment this 3D effect by playing with contrast levels across the screen.
- Field of View= Wider: As we already mentioned, yes, the field of view is wider. Not by much…extra dimension is very slight but, does exist.
- Contrast is Enhanced: Since most of the best 4K UHD TVs like LG’s OLED models and the top shelf Samsung SUHD TVs come with curvature, the correlation is that curved TVs come with excellent contrast, but this is NOT because of the curve, it’s because of the other technologies most curved models also have in them. Keep this in mind!
- Appearance is cool looking: This is the greatest factor to favor a curved TV, which we definitely won’t argue against. They may have their flaws and be obtrusive if hung from a wall (for those which can be hung), but these TVs undoubtedly do look awesome. They are striking and different. They are elegant and look super sleek and modern.
The Negatives of a Curved TV, Outweigh The Positives
The cons against curved TVs unfortunately outweigh their pros in our Opinion. They are more of a gimmick than anything else.
- Reflections are exaggerated: The curve on these televisions definitely creates some sort of neat house mirror effect when it comes to reflections on the screen. This means that light shining off the display covers even more of your content. Opinions vary from person-to-person on the reflections element of curved TVs.
- Viewing angle is Limted: The curve narrows the quality viewing angle of these TVs considerably, particularly for smaller models which are less than 65 inches. Be careful where you sit.
- Ideal picture quality only comes from dead center: Viewing any 4K TV at off-center angles starts to spoil picture quality but with curved TVs, this is a far sharper rule, with the “sweet spot” for viewing being narrower. Usually having to be more directly in FRONT of this curved television set.
- Horrible for hanging: Unlike an unobtrusive flat screen 4K TV, even mountable curved models look awkward when hanging from your living room wall.
- Size Does Matter: To get any of the marginal benefit that curved TVs offer, you need to really invest in maximum size. Considering that these models are already pricier than their flat counterparts, going for a 75 inch model is not going to hit your pocketbook lightly.
- Way Expensive: We have yet to see a curved 4K TV that didn’t cost a ‘heavy’ bit more than an equally sized flat screen model with the same specs. Is it worth it? We think not. The manufacturers are selling their curvature TVs dearly, and it’s annoying, because they know it’s mostly a gimmick. Now you know what to look for.
While there is a bit of a difference to the picture you get with curved TVs compared to flat TVs, it’s not significant at all. Further, its only really noticeable at extreme angles. If you like the aesthetics of a curved TV and don’t mind paying for the look, you should go ahead and get one.
If you love the look and wish to be different than your neighbor…go for it! But, but, but…. If you are looking for an improvement over flatscreen 4K UHD TVs in general,….then you will be sorely disappointed.
Have You Learned Anything?
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