Curved TVs, for a time, seemed to be the next big thing. But, despite their novelty, they never really took off.
But why? Were they not better than flat-screen TVs?
There are plenty of comparison websites out there on this very subject and we have attempted here to condense the arguments in one short article.
Ultimately there are some differences, benefits, and disadvantages of curved-screens over flat, but one of the reasons for the curved TVs' failure was its price tag and impracticality.
What are the differences between flat-screen TVs and curved TVs?
Ultimately there isn't really that much difference between the two with the exception of the inherent differences in screen shape. But, that being said, there are some noticeable differences when it comes to watching them, their design, and their choice of models.
With regards to watching either a flatscreen or a curved TV, this is the main difference between the two. We'll go into more detail on this in the next section.
Curved TVs, by their very nature, do stand out more than a flatscreen TV — for obvious reasons. Their shape really does draw the eye, and if this is something you are interested in, you might want to consider getting a curved TV over a flatscreen alternative. Curved TVs also tend to be a bit "fatter" and mounting them on a wall might look a little odd.
Flatscreen TVs, on the other hand, are thinner and can be mounted on walls with little to no issues. As most other devices tend to have straight lines, a flat-screen TV will likely fit your interior decoration more than a curved TV.
Another major difference between the two is the choice of models you have. At present, there is a considerably smaller selection of curved TV models on the market than flatscreens. They also tend to be on the over 40-inch (101cm) size and are generally more expensive than flatscreen alternatives.
Curved TVs also tend to come with all the bells and whistles of modern TVs, whereas, you can opt for less capable flatscreens (without 4K say) to fit your budget and needs.
In essence, the main differences between the two are their price tag, available model choice, and how they look when they are off. When you sit down to watch something, you are unlikely to spot any real difference — all specs being equal of course.
What are the pros and cons of a curved TV?
The short answer is it really does depend. Both have their pros and cons but ultimately, any deciding factor will come down to cost and personal choice.
The generally accepted pros and cons of curved TVs are as follows. Of course, this is not intended to be exhaustive and is merely an overview.
Curved TVs offer a slight improvement in immersiveness. But this completely depends on how far away you are from the screen.
Despite this, the extra fraction of a degree and the slightly larger screen will increase your viewing immersion by default.
Reflections can be exaggerated on curved TVs. Their shape can create a 'funhouse' mirror effect from reflections on the screen.
Despite the hype, they will never replicate theatre-quality immersion.
Depth is enhanced. The depth created by the curve of the screen, especially in larger screens, with OLED technology does improve viewing depth a bit.
Some manufacturers, like Samsung, also include further depth enhancement technology to improve the 3D effect of their curved TVs.
The viewing angle can be limited on curved TVs. The curve narrows the quality viewing angle of these TVs considerably, particularly for smaller models that are less than 65 inches (165 cm).
Curved TVs provide a greater field of view. Whilst this effect is not as pronounced as some might claim, it is very slightly improved on curved TVs.
Ideal picture quality can only be seen dead-center. When viewing any 4K tv off-center tends to begin to spoil the quality of the picture.
Curved TVs have a superior contrast. Although, most reviews of curved TVs reveal that this is more to do with additional technology in the devices rather than the curved-screen itself, per se.
They are less easy to hang on a wall. Unlike their flat contemporaries, curved TVs are inherently harder to hang on a wall by virtue of their shape.
Curved TVs really do look the part. Whilst this is merely a matter of taste, curved TVs are undoubtedly interesting things, in and of themselves, aesthetically-speaking.
You need to buy bigger TVs to get any real benefit. As most of the benefits from curved TVs are seen in larger models, the price to benefit for you might force your hand.
Curved TVs tend to be very expensive. Equally sized flat TVs tend to be much cheaper.
Why is a curved TV better?
Put simply curved TVs are not that much better than flat-screen TVs. In fact, most reviewers don't believe the premium price tag of a curved TV is really worth it.
For any real benefits of curved TVs, you either need to sit pretty close to the screen or view from extreme angles. If you do like the aesthetics of them and don't mind paying a premium, then curved TVs might just be for you.
But, if you are looking for a massive improvement to your overall viewing experience, you might be disappointed with curved-screens. Their price-to-benefit isn't really worth it.
Because of their shape, they also introduce some new issues you won't find with flat-screen TVs.
Other commentators also point out that some of the best TV manufacturers are currently enamored with them, for consumers to benefit from 4K technology, they have little choice but to buy one at present. This has led to many believing that curved TVs are the way to go when in reality all they really need is a 4K quality flat-screen TV.
At the end of the day, curved TVs tend to offer very little benefit over their equivalent flat screen competitors. Any real benefits from the technology come with the larger models, and even then, it's not that impressive.
If you like the look of a curved TV, go ahead but don’t expect amazing results from the curve alone.
Are curved TVs a fad?
Are they just a fad? Given their current market share, this would appear to be the case.
It seems unlikely that even if curved TVs begin to fall in price to be more in line with flat-screen TVs that they will be rescued.
But, at the end of the day, if you like the look of a curved TV, go ahead and buy it. It may, one day, become a retro-classic?
The choice between the two ultimately falls upon you, the consumer. But if you have looked around, you might have realized — they don't seem like they're in it for the long haul.