Curved TVs have always been an odd concept. They've taken the best possible thing about modern TVs (being flat and thin) and made them less practical and more expensive. But in the process they've also made them cool and desirable.
The first curved TVs were shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2014 so we've had the best part of 2 years to get used to them and understand their virtues.
Curved TVs are a throwback to the old days of CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TVs, you know, before the days of flat screen TVs! OK old CRT TVs were convex (curve outwards) rather than the ultra-modern concave (curve inwards) TVs but it seems curves are cool again.
Does that mean flat screens are old hat now?
What are the benefits of a curved screen?
Well TV manufacturers would have us believe they provide a more immersive, involving viewing experience. They are supposed to envelope us and create a wrap-around picture but in reality it's just a marketing ploy to make us all buy new TVs.
It's getting harder and harder for them to sell us new TVs because if you're happy with your TV, the chances are it'll probably serve you well for the next 10 years or so.
Reinventing the black, flat rectangle
TV manufacturers know it's a big purchase for most households so they have to keep reinventing the TV to entice us to upgrade. A few years back 3D was the must-have feature. Then came Smart TVs that connected to the internet and most recently 4k TVs.
What hasn't really changed though is the way the TVs look. Since the first flat-screen Plasma TVs back in 1997 the basic design hasn't changed. Sure screen sizes have increased, bezels have decreased and overall they are thinner than ever but 18 years on, they are still basically black, flat rectangles.
Believe it or not, desirability is the biggest benefit of a curved TV. They are the first genuinely new design we've seen for the past 18 years. They look futuristic and tug at our emotions. Weirdly we've all become so used to flat TVs that when presented with a curved TV, the appeal is overwhelming.
Curved or flat TV?
You might be asking yourself which is better, a curved or flat TV? For me personally, curved TVs are a complete gimmick and a waste of your hard earned cash. A curved screen provides no tangible benefits over a traditional flat screen TV and in fact they come with several disadvantages:
- They are significantly more expensive than a flat screen TV of the same size and specification
- They are bulkier and obviously have more depth due to the curve so you'll need to find more space to put one
- They look ridiculous mounted on a wall
- If you have a particularly wide living room, anyone watching from the far sides of the room isn't going to have the best viewing experience
Should you buy a curved TV?
Honestly I'd have to say no. As you can probably tell if you're read this far, other than their bewitching good looks, it's hard to recommend them.
Yes they do look great and have an undeniable wow factor but that's all they really offer. Their desirability comes in the form of them being different and importantly something your friends and neighbours don't have.
So unless you live in a windmill or lighthouse, I'd stick with a flat-screen TV.
The future of curved TVs
As we draw towards the end of 2015, it'll be interesting to see how hard manufacturers are going to be pushing curved TVs next year. CES 2016 in Las Vegas (6th-9th January 2016) will be a good indicator of whether curved has had its day or not.
I for one hope TV manufacturers will concentrate on more important things like picture quality for a change rather than gimmicks. We'll have to see.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Do you own a flat or curved TV or are you looking to buy one? If so we'd love to hear your point of view...