Curved Screens: Not Needed

Another innovation intended to attract shoppers’ attention is curved screens — mostly used for OLED TVs and 4K LCDs. The idea, say manufacturers, is to make the TV-watching experience more immersive.

However, not only do curved screens have no technical advantage over the other sets, but they actually have some distinct disadvantages. For one, the slightly curved aspect distorts the image and reduces the available side-viewing angles, thus limiting the best view to a few people sitting in a narrow, center sweet spot. LED models also are less likely to produce uniform brightness across the screen.

In addition, some testers, such as Consumer Reports, have reported viewer fatigue caused by the curvature. Conversely, other early owners have reported that after living with a curved screen, they don’t notice the difference or detect any distortion.

Curved models are more expensive: A 4K, 65-inch curved LCD model, for example, costs about $200 more than a comparable flat model. Samsung and LG are two supporters of curved screens, but other companies have eschewed them.

Bottom line: Curved TVs are primarily an extra-cost fashion statement, without delivering any appreciable benefit in image quality. Most companies are phasing them out.

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