Curved vs Flat TVs: Is the Curve Worth It?
- Table of Contents
- Flat TV
- Curved TV
- Viewing Angle
- Size and Immersiveness
- Aesthetics and Thickness
Updated Mar 11, 2021 at 12:08 pm
By Cedric Demers and Nicholas Di Giovanni
Curved TVs are almost extinct in the TV world as of 2021. Although they were easily available in the mid-2010s and Samsung offered a healthy selection, only a handful of models have curved screens now. They were introduced to help offer a more immersive viewing experience, as manufacturers claimed the curved edges allowed the screen to occupy a wider area in your field of vision. However, a curved TV is only beneficial if you’re sitting close to the screen and you’re the only one watching it, as those watching from the side may see a distorted image.
This article explains the differences between flat and curved screen TVs and their advantages and disadvantages.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to compare a flat screen TV, the Samsung TU8000, and its curved screen variant, the Samsung TU8300. The TU8300 was the only curved screen model Samsung released in 2020.
Flat TV (Samsung TU8000)
What it is: Traditional style TV with a flat panel.
Curved TV (Samsung TU8300)
What it is: Style of TV that features a slightly curved panel to help improve immersion.
|Cost||Flat (not by much)|
There’s an argument to be made for curved TVs on the basis of aesthetics – some people like the look of a curved TV. However, there’s no dramatic difference in the viewing experience when comparing curved and flat TVs for everyday use, and some people may simply prefer traditional flat TVs.
Both flat and curved screen TVs have their own advantages and disadvantages regarding viewing angles. However, the panel type affects the viewing angles more than the curvature, so that means two TVs with the same panel type, regardless of their shape, should have the same viewing angles.
Below you can see the viewing angle videos from the Samsung TU7000, which we included instead of the TU8000 due to embedding limitations, and the TU8300. As you can see, they each have narrow viewing angles due to their VA panels, so the image quickly looks inaccurate regardless. However, the flat screen loses its image accuracy uniformly across the screen; this means that if you’re watching from the left side, the left edge looks as inaccurate as the right edge. You don’t get the same effect on a curved screen as if you’re watching from the left side, the left edge will look different from the right edge, and the left side may even be hard to see at very wide angles.
A curved screen can be advantageous if you sit really close, especially if you use it as a PC monitor. On a flat screen TV with narrow viewing angles, the left and right edges appear darker and washed out if you sit too close. However, the curved screen helps bring the edges within your field of vision, so they may not appear as inaccurate.
Winner: Flat screens, but not by much. If you’re choosing between a flat and curved screen with the same panel type, and you’re going to watch TV with a few people, it’s probably better to get a flat screen.
Flat TV – Samsung TU7000
Curved TV – Samsung TU8300
Learn about viewing angles
Size and Immersiveness
One of the main selling points of a curved screen was that they could fill more of your field of vision, making them appear bigger. Therefore, a 55 inch curved TV would actually look bigger than a 55 inch flat screen. This is true, but only to an extremely small degree. We calculated the difference by comparing two similar TVs: the Samsung UN55MU8000, and the Samsung UN55MU8500. Apart from the curved screen, the two share a similar design, and pretty much identical picture quality. We measured the screens and calculated the field of view for both TVs, assuming a seated position of eight feet away from the TVs. The larger the field of view (FOV), the more the screen fills your vision.
The result was that the flat screen had a FOV of 28 degrees, and the curved screen had a FOV of 28.42 degrees. At that distance of eight feet, that means the MU8500’s curved 55 inch screen looks like a 55.8 inch screen – a very small difference. If you sit closer, then a curved screen may appear bigger, and this is why many curved monitors are still around, but for most people watching TV, there isn’t any perceivable difference.
Winner: Curved. The difference is very minor, though, so it’s not worth the extra cost.
Learn about our size and distance calculator
Flat screen TV
Curved screen T
Due to their shape, flat and curved TVs handle reflections differently. As you can see above, light on the curved TV is ‘stretched’ across the screen, covering more space. However, reflections are harsher on the flat screen because of how it reflects directly back and doesn’t stretch across the screen. Some people may simply prefer the reflection handling on curved screens more, but choosing one over the other really comes down to personal preference.
Learn more about reflection handling
Aesthetics and Thickness
Thickness: 2.28″ (5.8cm)
Thickness: 4.06″ (10.3cm)
The biggest reason to get a curved TV would be because you enjoy the look of it. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that curved TVs are a bit bulkier in the back. Combined with the difference in shape, this can make mounting a TV to a wall a bit trickier.
Winner: Draw. As aesthetics are mostly subjective, there’s no real winner here, but if you want the thinnest TV, go for a flat screen.
As of the start of the 2020s, curved screens are practically a thing of the past. Samsung was the only major retailer to release a curved TV in 2020, and even at that, they only released one model. Their last premium curved TV was the Samsung Q7CN/Q7C QLED 2018, and since then, all of Samsung’s QLED models are flat. Curved TVs used to cost a premium over their flat equivalent, but the Samsung TU8300 only costs a bit more than the Samsung TU8000, so there’s no real difference between them. If you’re buying a TV in 2021, it’s more than likely that you’re going to get a flat screen.
TV manufacturers once jumped on the hype train of curved screen TVs, but they’ve since booked a one-way ticket back to the flat screen world. Having a curved screen over a flat screen doesn’t offer any real advantage in terms of picture quality, and curved screens are actually a worse choice if you have a wide seating arrangement because you can’t see the edges properly from the side. There are a few advantages of a curved screen over a flat, like the screen appearing bigger if you sit close, and reflections not being as strong, but they’re minor differences. There are only a handful of curved TVs being released as of 2021, so it’s likely your next TV is going to be flat anyways.
Flat Screen Vs. Curved TV
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Table of Contents_
- Are Curved TVs Better than Flat Screens
- Viewing Experience
- Cost and Value for Money
- Image Fidelity
Curved TVs first appeared on the consumer market in 2013, promising a more immersive viewing experience with superior fidelity, starting a long-standing debate over whether a flat-screen vs. curved TV is better.
- Flat screen TVs are widely available at a wide range of price points, and high-end models boast next-gen fidelity competitive with curved TVs.
- Curved TVs offer the most benefits to gamers due to the fact that the increase in image fidelity is only significant at very close viewing distances.
- The high starting price point of curved TVs won’t necessarily be justified for many users based on what is often a very minor upgrade to the viewing experience.
Both have their advantages, especially when it comes to cost and performance, so if you’re looking for the best TV on the market for your needs, you’ll want to understand what each offers. Here you can learn about other technologies in modern TVs, like full LED vs edge LED.
Curved TVs were a popular high-end option throughout the 2010s for the immersive viewing experience they promised, but they have since become far less common on the market. If you would like, you can also compare curved 4K Tv vs a flat 4K to see which is best for your setup. Alternatively, if you know you do not want a flat TV, check out the top-rated curved TVs offered.
Lastly, if you aren’t sure what to choose, you can check out the differences between a projector screen and a TV to see if it will give you any benefits the others won’t.
Moreover, if you want to mount your TV correctly, you’ll want to learn the optimal TV height.
Gamers will enjoy the benefits of curved TVs more than most because of closer viewing angles.
The biggest difference between flat screen and curved TVs is obviously the curvature of the display itself, but significant differences in price and often less significant differences in performance are possibly why they’re a less common option commercially now.
The claim that curved TV manufacturers make is that their models provide a superior viewing experience compared to standard flat-screen models. In theory, a curved display means far less glare, greater immersion, and the elimination of certain kinds of image distortion. While glare is indeed reduced significantly, the difference in immersion will generally only feel significant at very close viewing distances, which is why gamers will experience the benefits the most. Also, remember you need to keep your TV clean to have a good viewing experience as well. You should periodically wipe your TV down with a microfiber cloth.
Cost and Value for Money
Here the differences between curved and flat-screen models become self-evident. A curved model will cost $100 to 300 more than the closest flat screen equivalent. There also aren’t any entry-level curved models on the market, partially because their market share has shrunk so significantly in the past few years. That difference in price point may be more justifiable for non-budget-minded gamers, who will benefit the most from a curved screen.
The differences here are nominal. Curved TVs don’t have higher resolutions or other technologies that aren’t available in flat-screen models, so differences in image fidelity are more perceptive than actual.
Reduced screen glare and reduced or eliminated image distortions of certain kinds translate into a better image on a curved TV, even if the color depth and resolutions are the same. However, once again, the difference is negligible at normal viewing differences. If you want to check out a curved TV, you can read our Samsung RU7300 review. Or you can compare it to a flat-screen model with our Samsung UN65RU7100FXZA review.
Many users won’t notice an improvement in viewing experience that is significant enough to justify the substantial increase in price with curved TVs.
Can you install a curved TV on a wall?
Yes. For the most part, curved TVs use the same mounting brackets that flat screen models do. You should be able to put most models on a wall without any extra trouble. Keep in mind that viewing distance makes the biggest difference in getting the most out of a curved display.
How does the curve affect viewing angles?
It may seem counterintuitive, but a curved screen doesn’t generally have that much of an effect, adverse or otherwise, on the viewing angle. This means that you won’t really have to adjust for that when setting up and installing a curved TV vs a flat screen.
Does the curve affect picture quality?
It depends on how you define “picture quality.” In a technical sense, the only improvement in picture quality with curved displays would be in the elimination of certain kinds of image distortions. However, the difference isn’t often that noticeable. The reduction of glare is probably the biggest overall improvement to picture quality since resolutions and color depth aren’t any different in curved displays.
STAT: Curved TVs can come at up to a 50% higher price point than equivalent flat screen models. (source)
Curved TV: pros and cons
As the market for Ultra HD 4K TVs grows, manufacturers, regardless of brand value, are looking for more and more ways to increase their share in this growing market. One such trend that is trying to get back on its feet, and to this day remains a slight concavity of the screen. The main challenge associated with the curved screen, which has given rise to a number of disputes among viewers, experts and manufacturers, is whether curved TVs are more advanced than their flat counterparts.
Hence another question – are they worth buying, what are the disadvantages and advantages of a curved screen? In principle, if anyone asked a similar problem, then you can look no further. Well, we will still try to think more thoughtfully about the question – is it worth the candle for a TV set with a curved screen.
Concave TV screen as a design solution
Whatever one may say, a TV is not only a technical device, but also an interior item. The first and most basic question to consider when choosing either a curved 4K TV or a flat model is in the realm of aesthetics: straight or curved screen – which looks better from your point of view?
Well, in this area, a curved screen monitor looks more modern, if not futuristic. Let after a while they will seem like a kind of designer’s quirk, but so far among the top models there is always a concave screen. Take Samsung for example. Almost all of the new 2017 models of these beautiful curved TVs, like the famous Samsung KS9800 Curved SUHD TV, are amazingly thin and it’s hard to argue with how elegant they look.
Well, while we can’t objectively say whether a straight or curved screen TV looks better in the home, but keep in mind two very important points:
1. This curvature usually means a little more bulk than a flat TV in terms of geometric thickness. It may not be a problem, but not everyone wants a TV profile to be obtrusively conspicuous.
2. Hanging curved 4K TVs on the wall is not very convenient; completely uncomfortable. The flat screen panel can be easily hung on any vertical surface, as if it were a picture or a giant photo frame. And on many models of curved TVs of yesteryear, there was not even a VESA mount. The newer models, of course, have the possibility of wall mounting, but they look strange on the wall, due to a noticeable bulge.
Does the diagonal matter
This is perhaps the only controversial and discussed argument that is present today when discussing the advantages of a curved screen. Mainly because the supposed achievement of such TVs is the immersion in the reality that takes place on the screen, which in general should justify their design and, ultimately, their price.
With its gently inward curved screen, 4K models with this design are said to offer viewers a greater level of immersion by slightly stretching the perceived amount of screen real estate in relation to diagonal size. Coupled with 4K UHD resolution and high contrast ratio, this is expected to create an effect of greater depth and belonging overall.
But, unfortunately, the effect is not too significant by definition. For example, a 60″ curved TV provides only a slight casual increase in actual screen size compared to a native 60″ flat TV. Perhaps this is from 0.8 to 1 inch of additional diagonal increase if the concave screen is flattened.
Similarly, this small increment only slightly increases the field of view of a curved 4K UHD TV compared to a flat TV. We are talking about increasing the degree measure by only half a degree for the same 60-inch diagonal. What can not be said about the price of a curved screen.
Of course, there have been curved screens in cinemas for quite some years now, and thanks to them they successfully increase the depth of involvement for the audience, but after all, this is, as they say, a sheet several meters in size. And for any 4K TV with an average diagonal size of 40 to 65 inches, this slight curvature basically does nothing, and a curved screen with a diagonal of 55, 60 or 65 inches looks no more exciting than its flat counterpart, if both are compared side by side at any normal viewing distance.
Even for large 70 to 85 inch TVs such as the 77 inch LG 77EG9700, the curved screen offers very little immersion that is unlikely to live up to consumer expectations. It turns out that the described effect has nothing to do with ordinary 4K TVs for home theater …
Among other things, curvature can degrade viewing angles in a certain way. Unlike the curved screen of a large cinema, where the entire audience fits seamlessly into the ideal viewing angles of the scale curve of the screen, a conventional consumer 4K concave TV ranging from 55 to 70 inches effectively reduces the ideal viewing area in front of it to just 35 degrees from the center. to each side!
In other words, the actual suitable viewing space and viewing angles of a curved TV may be smaller than a flat TV. Anyone “lucky enough” to sit outside of 35 degrees on either side of the center of the screen will end up only seeing a small angle of the image on the screen.
Back to size again, the larger a curved 4K UHD TV, the physically larger its ideal viewing area. A 70-inch 4K UHD TV is the bare minimum in this case, avoiding the potential eye strain caused by watching a TV that is slightly (even) off-center. But let’s remember that a 70-85-inch curved TV will not create anything even remotely resembling the immersion that it claims to.
Distortion and reflections
No one will argue that glossy screens reflect even weak light, while matte TV screens have no reflections. Here the law is simple – the brighter and more contrast the screen, the less visible reflections on it. And here curvature or concavity has nothing to do with it. A very good example of this is the picture quality on the flat but absolutely cool 4K TVs Sony XD94 and Sony XD93.
Above all, any glare on a curved TV will be more stretched than on a flat screen TV due to the distortion introduced by the curvature. It will take up more space on the panel, although it will not be as bright as on a direct screen. The best solution for eliminating reflections in both flat and curved TVs is to optimally position the devices so that there are no bright light sources in front of the screen. And, of course, try to watch TV in low light.
In terms of distortion other than light reflection, some users report a sort of “bow tie” effect when viewing certain types of content on a curved screen. The top bar above the image (in letterbox mode) may appear stretched up along the edges of the TV, although this effect depends largely on the viewing angle. Viewing a curved 4K UHD TV from the center usually causes no noticeable distortion.
Looking at the pros and cons of a curved TV, here are the pros and cons of curved screens tied together to help make your 4K TV selection process as easy as possible.
1. Slight (very slight) improvement in immersion: Nothing like cinematic immersion, but the extra fraction of a degree and extra inch of screen size described above technically adds to the overall viewing experience.
2. Increasing depth: Curved 4K TVs, especially those larger than 65”, deserve credit in this aspect. Some brands, like Samsung, which make the majority of curved 4K TVs, even add depth enhancement technology to further enhance the 3D effect by playing with contrast levels across the screen.
3. Wider field of view: Small effect, but real.
4. Image: there is nothing to argue about. Let them have their flaws, let them be conspicuous from the wall, but they look cool. Still cool…
Unfortunately, the cons of curved TVs outweigh their pros.
1. Increased reflections: The curvature of the screen definitely creates a kind of mirror reflection effect. This means that the light reflected on the display covers an even larger area of the image being viewed.
2. Viewing Angle Limitations: The curvature of the screen significantly narrows the viewing angle of these TVs, especially for models with small diagonals.
3. Best Viewing Only at Centerline: Viewing any curved 4K TV off centerline is annoying with degraded picture quality with less degree of deviation.
4. Difficult to Hang: Unlike a flat-screen 4K TV, even curved mountable models look awkward when jutting out from your living room wall.
5. Diagonal size becomes too important: to get the benefits that curved TVs offer, you have to pay for the maximum size. Not every consolidated household budget is ready for such expenses. Although prices have been leveling off lately.
The conclusion suggests itself. When buying a significant size 4K TV, you can also aim for a curved screen. Will the heaviness increase? Yes, 77-inch TVs are gigantic and so gigantic even in a flat version. A place that is pleasant for viewing, at a large curved TV should be enough for everyone … Well, for three for sure.
But up to 65” warp technology mostly adds problems than benefits, and all the positives are offset by defects and shortcomings. In addition, curved models with comparable characteristics are still more expensive than their flat counterparts.
For some consumers, curvature gives a fashionable impression. As a result, many of them are likely to attribute curvature to picture quality, although other characteristics of the TV are responsible for this.
The final word is that the curved TV design does very little for most 4K UHD TVs, and if it enhances viewing at all, it’s only felt in small doses on very large screens. So the debit with the credit is reduced, and the final choice is yours!
https://ultrahd.su/video/plusy-minusy-izognutogo-ekrana-televizora.html Curved TV: pros and cons Ultra HD 4K manufacturers, regardless of brand size, are looking for more and more ways to increase their share of this growing market. One such trend that is trying to get back on its feet, and to this day remains a slight concavity of the screen. The main task related to the curved screen…SemenSemyon
Curved TVs and their prospects in 2021
For several years, curved TVs have been heavily advertised as a new stage in the history of TV. We’ll tell you where they’ve gone.
From the very beginning, curved TVs cost a lot of money. For some families, they were prohibitively expensive and therefore failed to become part of every home. Demand began to fall, new models came out less and less. Maybe their moment of glory is already over, but what about those who suddenly got the idea to watch movies on a spectacular screen with a smooth curve?
Let’s just say that in 2021, the choice of curved TVs will be very limited. In fact, the only manufacturer that is still producing them today is Samsung, although it now has curved PC monitors as a priority. Why is the appeal of curved TVs began to rapidly decline?
What is a curved TV?
The name speaks for itself. The curved TV panel trend was born at CES 2013. In those days, OLED technology was relatively new, and manufacturers were looking for the perfect way to apply it. One option was TV for home use.
Engineers borrowed the idea of bending from IMAX cinemas. Their huge panoramic screens follow the shape of the human eye, which makes the picture more believable. Electronics industry leaders such as Samsung and LG have decided that a curved TV is exactly what should decorate every living room.
But, unfortunately, it did not work out. IMAX screens are so large that the picture from them covers the entire field of view and does not allow distraction from the film, and a 55-inch TV is just a pathetic semblance of it. At least that’s what most buyers thought, and sales of curved TVs went down. Samsung began phasing out their production a few years ago, although they are still on sale.
Why didn’t it reach the mainstream?
If the idea of a curved TV is to provide a fully immersive movie experience, what didn’t customers like? In fact, getting a completely immersive feeling from a curved TV is not so easy. First of all, the effect depends on the dimensions. The IMAX cinema screen is so large that being in front of it, you seem to find yourself in the epicenter of the movie plot. A darkened room also contributes to this effect. And as for your home TV, you’ll have to sit right next to it and completely darken the room to experience the same cinematic experience.
If you sit off center or pull the curtains loosely, the image will not impress. Firstly, the screen glare from the slightest light source. The more you move to the side, the more the image will be distorted. It is most inconvenient to watch movies in a format that does not match the format of the TV – with large black bars at the top and bottom.
Another complication associated with concave TVs is installation. Early versions did not have any wall mount at all: they had to be kept on a special rack. The non-standard form factor prevents them from fitting snugly against the wall, so finding a place for a TV also becomes a headache.
What about curved monitors?
So, several reasons are to blame for the decline in interest in curved TVs. Why, then, are similar monitors becoming more popular day by day? Again, it all comes down to the idea of immersive content. When working at the monitor, a person is much closer to it than to the TV while watching a movie, which means that the monitor area occupies almost the entire field of view. The curve of the matrix eliminates distortion at the edges, all areas are approximately the same distance from the eyes and are perceived naturally without strain.
In fact, modern concave monitors have succeeded where curvature TVs failed. Watching video on a computer monitor is one of the most popular pastimes, and the curved form factor in this case leads to additional comfort. It should be noted that the leading manufacturers in this area became leaders for a reason: Samsung and LG used their best practices during the time that they were engaged in curved TVs.
Curved TVs: pros and cons
We have just told why curved TVs did not please society, and why their close relatives – monitors with a similar feature – on the contrary, managed to increase demand. But still, we will not deny that even today there is an interested buyer on TVs with a bend. Were you impressed by what you saw in the store? Well, a simple listing of the advantages and disadvantages is enough to understand whether this type of technology will fit into your interior and lifestyle.
Incredible fascination. If you find the right place, the curve of the screen will exactly follow the curve of the cornea of your eyes. Your consciousness will be completely captured by what is happening on the display. But for this you need to be strictly in front of the center of the screen so that the picture covers most of the field of view, like in a movie theater. A good acoustic system for your home will contribute to an even deeper immersion.
Color brightness and contrast. Little is said about this, but in fact the inward-facing screen contributes to more accurate color reproduction. However, in recent years, the quality of flat-panel TVs has grown a lot, so it looks like the score will be equal here.
Comfortable viewing (from the right position). Our eyes are designed to perceive objects in three dimensions, but most of the time we spend looking at flat-panel displays. This leads to overwork of the eye muscles, which can be avoided by using a curved screen for work and entertainment. This, by the way, is another reason why curved monitors are so popular among users who have to spend a lot of time at the computer.
Image depth. Curvature with a large diagonal can give the image a 3D effect. This is because the dots on the screen are further apart and away from your eyes.
Monopoly seller. Today, the only manufacturer, that is, the monopoly of the curved TV market, is Samsung. This means that the company alone determines the cost of all products. Currently, only a few models are being produced with a very biting price tag. More or less affordable options (including used ones) are occasionally found on Internet flea markets.
Finding a place and difficult to install. Flat TVs do not require much space. They are almost close to the wall and can be hung without problems in the walk-through areas. A panel with curvature is not suitable for such a room – the edges protrude strongly. As an option, you can place such a TV on a TV stand or reorganize the room so that you do not once again approach the TV, risking hurting it.
Glare. Glare completely kills the impression of an unusual design. In addition, in different areas of the screen, the brightness level is different, so it will be difficult to follow the plot in the light. But if the light in the apartment can be turned off, then it is not always possible to fence off street sources.
Size matters. Most of the benefits associated with curved TVs are only visible when the diagonal is large. But a curved screen that spans your entire field of view won’t fit into a standard living room.