6 Best Curved TVs | February 2017
- easily switch from live to streaming
- optical audio port
- 60 hz motion rate blurs some content
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
- effective 120 hz motion rate
- intuitive smart functionality
- installation can be a challenge
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
- four hdmi ports
- digital audio and headphone outputs
- lackluster customer support
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- wirelessly links to mobile devices
- remote control is intuitive
- cea 4k certified
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
- comprehensive universal remote
- streamlined body design
- full array backlighting
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- hdr dolby vision support
- exceptionally wide viewing angle
- harman kardon onboard sound system
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
No Trouble With The Curve
If you'd like to have an immersion experience similar to one you might encounter at a movie theater while taking advantage of the latest and greatest technology, then a curved television may be in your future.
The main rationale behind the development of curved TV technology is that it improves one's viewing angle, depending on where they may be situated in a room while watching what's on the screen. When projecting an image onto a flat screen, light must travel farther to reach the edges of the screen than it does to reach its center. The movement of light in this fashion is referred to as pincushion distortion, meaning that the picture appears to bow inward towards the center of the screen.
To visualize this effect, imagine holding a square pillow representing a flat screen TV. Punching directly into the pillow's center with a fist makes the pillow appear squished at the center, while the rest of its surface bows inward from the striking force. Visually speaking, the distortion effect is similar on a flat screen TV, but there is no need to strike your flat screen TV to demonstrate this. By incorporating a slight curvature into its design, the curved TV counteracts this deformity, giving the viewer a more immersive and realistic entertainment experience.
Contrary to the flat screen, a curved screen brings its edges closer to its center, thereby producing an image that appears flat to the audience. When watching a film at a movie theater, the slight curvature of its screen provides a superior viewing angle for the entire audience, regardless of their orientation. That said, a patron is rarely aware of this curvature, but the movie appears to be naturally flat. Curved TVs for the home operate on the same principle, but on a bit smaller scale. The optimal viewing angle on a curved TV is still along its center axis and at eye level, but the same can be said for most flat screens as well.
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology powers many of the curved TVs currently available on the market. OLED TVs leverage a layer of organic materials that emit light in response to an electric current. OLED light emission is accomplished without the use of a backlight, marking the major distinction between OLED and older technologies (e.g. LCD or LED). When viewing an OLED TV, the result is a deeper black level and greater contrast than one would experience with a conventional backlit LED or LCD TV.
Curved TVs offer consumers several advantages. Although the curvature is slight compared to a flat screen, it does improve the immersion experience, particularly when viewing high-definition content. Even though curved TVs are a relatively new technology, incorporating the most cutting-edge developments, many will offer excellent contrast ratios for a significant improvement over their LCD and LED-backlit counterparts. Finally, curved TV's can display three-dimensional (3D) content in a more realistic fashion than it would appear on a flat screen. With the edges of the image angled closer to the screen's center, 3D content is more likely to pop out directly to the viewer on a curved screen than it would on a flat screen.
When investing in a curved television, chances are high that the picture resolution and sleekness of its design will already be included. While these are important attributes to consider, they're not hard to find in such a niche market. Your focus, then, should be on more practical considerations such as aesthetics, ensuring the TV's viewing angle will be appropriate for the room in which you plan to install it, and the additional features the TV offers. For example, good internal speakers can make all the difference if you don't have an elaborate surround sound setup in your home.
One must be sure the audio quality is at least comparable to its display resolution. When considering the intended room for the TV, one must also ensure that glare is minimized, regardless of the time of day. Some curved screens are designed with anti-glare surfaces to prevent washout in bright rooms.
Deciding whether to wall mount or place the TV on a stand can also make a difference. Despite the fact that many curved TVs are lightweight, they should be sturdy enough to accommodate a wall-mounting bracket. Many TVs will include these components so you can mount the TV yourself.
Take advantage of the curvature by ensuring the TV has reliable 3D playback capabilities and comes with a good pair of 3D glasses. Finally, the TV's ability to upscale lower-quality signals is beneficial if you're a stickler for image clarity.
A Brief History Of The Curved TV
The television has a history dating as far back as the late 1800s and is credited to German student Paul Nipkow. In 1884, Nipkow developed the first mechanical module of television by sending images through wires using a spinning metal disc. This spinning disc featured a spiral pattern with holes, each one scanning a line in an image.
This technology was referred to as the electric telescope with eighteen lines of resolution. Though this mechanical technology wasn't considered a huge success, it helped to pioneer the concept of scanning, which is the process through which light intensifies small portions of an image (lines) at a given time. The scanning principle is still being used today.
Electronic television became more common using cathode ray tube (CRT) technology and by 1934, all television systems were electronically operated. CRT technology is also still in use today.
The very first curved screen was known as the Cinerama, which first debuted in 1952 in New York City. Soon after, additional theaters began to use horizontally-curved screens to fix visual distortions associated with wide viewing formats.
It wasn't until recently in 2013 that the curved television was introduced to the home consumer market at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Both Korean companies LG Electronics and Samsung claimed to have developed the very first curved OLED TVs. With the development of 4K Ultra HD technology, popularity of curved TVs continue to grow in the consumer market.