Around the Bend?
We will be seeing more curved large screen televisions hit the shops over the next few years as, according to scientists, we seem to like them. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive (possibly because we are so used to a flat image for the last 50 years?) but a curved screen on a large scale may actually make sense; flat screen CRT technologies required corrections to the edges (remember S correction anyone?), and with extremely large flat screen images, without corrective processing, we may also perceive distortions towards the edges. A curved screen may go some way towards reducing this distortion and may create less reflection allowing the screen to be dimmer, extending the life of the display and reducing power consumption. Sounds reasonable. Organic LED (OLED) technology is also pushing this as this type of manufacturing allows flexible screens to be readily produced; albeit more expensively than conventional LED tech.
That is the practical case in a nutshell, but the neuroscientists have also been looking at this with their functional magnetic resonance imaging machines rigged up to the brains of human lab rats and what they have found is intriguing also; evidence suggests that as human beings, we like rounded, softer objects and images rather than hard, straight lines. Neuroaesthetics is the word (you read it here first? well almost - New Scientist actually) and it represents the neurological basis for our appreciation of beauty; curves stimulate pleasure areas of our brain, whilst angles stimulated areas that detect threats; it is amazing what they can do with a few wires stuck down with Gaffa tape on your head. Guess what, experiments indicate that curved television screens are more pleasing than flat ones - that will please television manufacturers too I am sure...
But I sort of get it? No really? I like rounded objects (the number 8 is my favourite number) and it may be that these techno boffins (television manufacturers and neuroscientists alike) may be onto something. Even smartphone manufacturers are latching onto this which can only be supported by the aesthetic argument as distortions to the image on a small flat screen are imperceptible; there is no real practical reason for a small, curved screen. There are plenty of rumours that the Apple iPhone 6 will have a curved screen though, so if Apple is going to employ it, there must be something in it.
I suppose that the ultimate neuroscientific test to determine whether we like curves over angles is whether we will preferentially buy these products and we will be finding this out over the next two or three years; curved screen television shipments this year will be in the region of 800k units but predicted to be more than 6m by 2017.
Coupled with UHD technology we could be in for some very curious developments; 360 degree fully immersive 8k television anyone??? Imagine that!
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Ian: ' I think there just a status symbol, they do look pretty cool though.' - And your hooked...!
Seriously, I think you've a good point - they do look cool, which was what someone earlier mentioned, the need for something new and exciting. To be honest, having had to look at them tonight at work (a somewhat quiet evening...and some of my fellow partner were looking away from the the Italy v Costa Rica game in pain), the curve isn't huge, but they are interesting, and the few customers that were in said so.
I know what you mean about fitting one into the lounge, since I know that when my 21in CRT goes, its going to be a max of 42in, and they are not making curved ones in that size anyway, at least not at present. If you think about being three times the size of the screen away from it, thats more comfortable, and I'm sure the TV's you looked at in Curry's were 55-65in screens, so yes, they would look far too large and probably a little busy.
As for viewing angles, whatever works is my motto, and I certainly hope that the CRT lasts a little longer, since there are childrens shoes to buy!
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5:38 AM Taunton
As my wife and I live in a small house, we have to keep our TV in the corner of the room. Basically we always look at the screen at an angle and I can't imagine watching a curved screen in our room as we would miss the sides of the picture. Our present screen is a Samsung UE40D8000 and has an excellent off axis picture. I love the Oled screen picture but am waiting for a flat screen one and hopefully persuade my wife that it won't? take up a lot more room up if it is a 46inch one!
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Richard's: Freeview map terrain plot frequency data R&TI Service digitaluk trade DAB coverage
Giant rollup TV's (BBC News/Technology) See; BBC News - Giant rollable TVs on the horizon, says LG (RH163LB)
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I saw a curved tv in a shop, hurt my eyes , great quality though
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David White: ' hurt my eyes , great quality though'
The quality should be good - its either going to be a Full HD 8000 series, so a 1200hz screen, or much the same, but in 4K. Hurting your eyes? I suspect that the size of screen (48in, 55in or 65in) was simply too large for the distance you were standing from the screen.
In reality, the curve is pretty subtle (a lot of customers dont even notice until its pointed out), and your paying less than you would have for the straight version last year. The proof on concept will be apparent in about six months - because thats when all the manufacturers will show of their new models at CES. If a lot of them are curved, then its a hit.
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A few yeaars ago a lot of manufacturers showed 3D TV sets at CES - but they have not been selling as well as had been expected. Spo appearing at CES dpoesn ot make them a 'hit' as it's only a showcase. AQctual sales are the real measure of whether a prioduct is a 'hit' or not.
That many manufacturers may be showing curves screen TV sets only shows that they are prepared to test the concept in the market place.
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MikeP: There are plenty of concepts which are announced at CES and then die in the market, but I just checked my employers website:
Out of the 114 TV's of 32in or over (which is where the bulk of the market is), 97 had Freeview HD tuners (so not the cheapest cheapest end of the market). Out of that 97, 90 were smart (again, not the cheaper end, but rather decent entry and above). 65 of those 90 are 3D.
Curry's website has 196 TV's of 32in or over listed, with 96 equiped with 3D (they tend to have more TV's at the lower end of the market, so I'd expect less 3D TV's), but thats still about 50%.
3D certainly hasn't been the goldmine manufacturers expected (this discussion is a perenial at Britmovie), but its has not gone away. Instead, a decent midlevel or higher TV has 3D thrown in for free - its standard, and your paying no more for it. What your paying for is the panel quality and the picture. Get a better picture, and almost certainly it will be 3D. 3D is standard, whether you use it or not, certainly for the mid market upwards.
Where Samsung leads, others tend to follow. TV's are Smart because Samsung cames out with them (SMART is a Samsung phrase). TV's are LED because Samsung broght them out first (the Sharp LED's of the same year were wretched), and TV's look all minimalist and ultra thin bezels because Samsung brought out their 8000 series a couple of years ago which looked like a piece of Art Nouveau. Many TV's have Skype cameras because Samsung did it (although strangely this year Samsung have largely done away with them).
I'm not always a Samsung fan, but I have to admit that they do things and sell TV's, and others will want to as well. In fact LG came out with a curved panel for their OLED's, so its not just one company. In fact what will appear from the likes of Sony and Panasonic will hinge on what they can source from their suppliers, particularly LG. I'm actually not interested in the curve - we just want the best quality for our customers, and we will judge accordingly.
Lets wait and see what happens in January - always an interesting time!
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