Sumit BhosleMay 08, 2014 17:50:23 IST
The year 2013 saw some amazing breakthrough technologies in terms of televisions, but what excites us more is the imminent launch of a bunch of curved TVs in India. In fact we would say they have already arrived at a house near you, since LG launched the first 55” curved OLED TV in India last year, which we have already reviewed.
And that's not it. Samsung unveiled a mammoth 105” curved television at CES 2014, followed by LG's unveiling of a similar-sized curved TV last year for Rs 9,99,900. LG beat Samsung to the market in India, but now the latter has launched its latest range of curved TVs in India. Considering our inquisitive and investigative soul, we decided to find out how exactly the home-coming of the curved TV is going to help us, if at all.
From where it all started
The whole point of a curved TV or for that matter a curved screen originates from the urge of videophiles to see more content. IMAX also hails from the same thought process. An IMAX screen. If you have closely seen it, is slightly curved at the centre. Later this particular feature was gradually incorporated in big size home-theatres with a curved cinemascope screen, an anamorphic lens and a obviously a compatible projector.
If you subtract the curved screen from the above mentioned setup and go with just an anamorphic lens arrangement with a compatible projector, pincushioning of the anamorphic lens causes the onscreen image to warp inwards on a flat surface. So the only option here is to use a matching curved screen with the help of which the geometrical distortion (pincushioning) can be dealt with. And now we have these curved TVs which will probably help us consumers enjoy a more immersive and involving cinema experience.
Advantages of a curved screen/curved TV
First and foremost, irrespective of the type of the curved TV, (be it OLED or TFT), a curved TV definitely provides for a ‘wider field of view’ than its flat screen counterpart. The curvature actually makes your brain perceive a greater sense of depth than normal, and the curving of the image also increases the extent to which the picture appears to be within your peripheral as well as central vision. Simply put, the curvature of the screen enables pictures to resemble very closely the way you perceive the real world. That’s what manufacturers mean by immersive.
Also as a result of the way the screen's gentle curvature matches the natural curvature of our eyes and vision, it is said that the picture will be sharper from corner to corner - rather than the edges being further away from your eyes than the image's centre as happens with normal flat TVs.
Being OLED, these TVs will have a definite edge over both LCD, LED and now almost obsolete Plasma TVs. As we have learnt, the 105” curved TV from LG is not going to be an OLED TV, but in fact a TFT LCD.
Aesthetics is probably the biggest advantage that most of these curved TV manufacturers will bank on. The flat panel needs a rejuvenation of some sort and the curved form factor of the TV is something that will grab a lot of attention. The flat TV might have been a rage a decade ago, when mankind had been used to seeing the boxy televisions for more than 40 years. But now with things changing so quickly, the days of the flat TV seem numbered and we all can do with some curves.
So are there any problems with a curved TV?
To answer this, you will have to quickly glance trough the beginning of this article wherein we have spoken about the origin of these TVs. The concept of curved TVs is an outcome of the usage of such curved screen in theatres and big sized home theatres – where the common factor is size. Both these options are huge in size when compared to a ‘TV’. One needs to realise that the visual improvement, that we have spoken about in the earlier section is completely depended on the size of the TV. It is likely that a TV that is 80 to 90-inches in size or above, could benefit from using a curved screen.
The sitting position will also play an important role. As we understand with bigger screen sizes, there will be a constraint on how close you sit to the panel, whereas if you really seek the theatrical effect in your home, it is inevitable that it will be more pronounced only for viewers sitting closer to the panel. So there is a lot of decisions one has to make before you set up a curved TV.
Another point that all of us should consider is the very need of a curved screen arises to mitigate a problem that is applicable only to projectors. In a TV there is no geometric aberration to mar the quality of picture.
And the last point that we consider very important is the pricing. The new Curved TVs from Samsung start upwards of Rs 1,50,000, going all the way up to over Rs 6 lakh. That is almost 3 times the price of a regular flatscreen TV from Samsung.
Curved TVs can definitely deliver some tangible benefits like a ‘wider field of view’ and aesthetic appeal. On the other hand, the concept of curved TVs does face some operational and functional problems like that of the need for a really large screen size and large viewing distance. These problems in a way completely defeat the reason (technical) for the existence of a curved TV. And also the price factor is something that bothers most consumers.
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