Flat or Curved Television: What's Your Style?
by Alex A. Kecskes
Are you looking to purchase the most cutting-edge television? Most of us are aware of the race to make giant-screen TVs bigger and thinner than ever, but did you know that the most recent and exciting development for consumers is the curved television? Like most first-generation electronics, curved TVs are sure to be on the more expensive side for a little while. If you're on the fence about whether to buy one, here are a few pointers that will help you make up your mind.
A More Immersive Viewing Experience
Imagine having your very own 3D home theater. The peripherally curved screens of curved TVs allow you to experience a wider field of view that provides the illusion of depth and adds an immersive element to the viewing experience. The lighting contrast emitted from curved screens—which appear larger than their actual measured size—is better than that of flat screens and more directly focused to the viewer's eyes.
Better Angle for Clarity
Have you ever noticed that the image looks blurrier at the edges of larger screens—70 inch screens or more, measured diagonally? Your eyes actually perceive reduced clarity at the edges of a large, flat screen. In fact, many commercial cinemas are now using curved screens to improve the viewing angle for people not sitting front and center.
If you're like most people, you probably watch television with at least one light on to see what you're snacking on and to work the remote. You'll appreciate that the less open angle of a curved television significantly reduces ambient light reflections, which improves contrast and color accuracy and allows for fuller, darker colors.
If you do purchase a curved screen when choosing a TV, it's best to go big. Curved-screen TVs with a diagonal screen size of 65 inches and up show the most dramatic improvement over flat screens.
The Case for Flat Screens
Curved screens can be pricey, so if you're on a budget, flat screens will get you more screen real estate per dollar. Brightness uniformity should be considered; if you're going with a curved LCD-based television that employs LED backlights, the curved design won't spread light as evenly across the screen.
You should also consider the viewing sweet spot. If only you and your significant other are sitting directly in front of the TV, you're fine. However, if more family members or guests take up the seats too far on either side (beyond about 35 degrees off center), the image won't be as sharp or bright and may even become a bit distorted. Flat screens are also much easier to mount on your wall; this can be a deal breaker for curved TVs.
Ultimately, choosing between a flat or curved TV comes down to your budget, available seating and your desire for a truly immersive viewing experience.