back to article Bendy or barmy: Why your next TV will be curved

For a while it looked like the future of television was fairly clear-cut. Full HD would beget 4K Ultra HD and at some point in the future, presumably when we all owned flying cars and had relatives commuting to Mars, that would evolve into 8K Super Hi-Vision. Apart from trifling things like resolution, colour gamut and frame …

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Anonymous Coward

"projector; light strikes the entire surface at the same time."

What, your eyes are capable of spotting the difference of light doing ~300000000 m/s arriving at slightly different distances on a curved screen over the distance of a cinema ?

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The pincushion effect is noticeable, on a wide screen with a short projection distance the edges of the image bow outwards noticeably, curving the screen fixes this, I'm not sure the light striking the screen at different times is relevant but it would be a side effect of fixing pincushion distortion by curving the screen and sounds good in marketing literature.

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Pincushion effect

Was pincushion distortion, if it exists outside curved TV sales meetings, reduced by the old fashioned curved (outwards) CRT screens ?

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Re: Pincushion effect

Was pincushion distortion, if it exists outside curved TV sales meetings, reduced by the old fashioned curved (outwards) CRT screens ?

Yes. When TVs moved from scanning an angle of 90degrees to 110, to allow a wider and flatter screen without getting deeper, the correction circuitry for things like pincushion distortion got much more complex. Anywhere that you're projecting the image of a sphere onto a non-spherical surface will result in pincushion distortion. It's particularly awkward with colour TVs that have three guns (RGB) in a triangular pattern, since each gun needs it's own, different, correction.

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With movies these days the director would have cut to a different shot twice in that time ....

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Coat

If you sit too close to the screen...

... you'll get square eyes!

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Re: If you sit too close to the screen...

Surely rectangular these days..

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Re: If you sit too close to the screen...

"Surely rectangular these days.."

It's always been rectangular, unless you are aware of a generic 1:1 ratio screen that I'm unaware of.

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Re: If you sit too close to the screen...

Maybe oblong?

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Yeah, right

When I move in with the teletubbies I might consider a curved screen. As it is I quite like my flat screen on my flat wall.

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Coat

Re: Yeah, right

Be an easy sell to Obama, though. You know, the chap with the cornerless office.

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How are you supposed to wall-mount one of these?

Short of building them _into_ the wall, that is.

We have 3 TVs - all wall-mounted - and in none of the cases would a curved screen be suitable. They'd just create hazards.

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Re: How are you supposed to wall-mount one of these?

I think the angle of the curve and the displacement of the screen are being grossly overestimated.

How to affix to a wall:

In the back middle it will essentially be flat, so you will affix it the same way you would any regular flat TV.

And on the subject of hazards; Would you really affix a huge TV to a wall where things sticking out slightly can create a constant sense of danger?

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FAIL

And what does one do when one lives with someone else, and you both want to watch TV together? Do they sit on your lap, or just live with sitting outside of the sweet spot and having a horribly distorted image?

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Well, the over-the-top solution would be to have the the TV remain flexible, so that it can transform from a curved set (for a single or couple of viewers) into a flat set for family and party viewing.

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Coat

If (s)he's sitting on your lap, why do you want to watch TV?

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Meh

Having seen these curved sets in the shops, it's not just the distorted image you're supposed to see that bothered me. The inevitable reflections from dark areas of the screen are all massively distorted as well, so my viewing companions all looked like they were in a fun house hall of mirrors. Most disturbing.

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Anonymous Coward

Designed to sell screens

"Quick lads, 3D didn't work. What can we come up with to sell more TV's?"

Engineers spent 30 years trying to get rid of the curve on TV screens. Now these geniuses want to bring it back! It's the same design mentality that put a square steering wheel into the Austin Allegro.

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Re: Designed to sell screens

Curve's the other way, at least that's something!

Personally I think it's extremely vulgar looking. Surely these days most people, if they've got a properly planned room, will want to get a thin TV and wall mount it out of the way with nicely hidden cables.

We simply don't have big enough living rooms to require a curved screen.

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Re: Designed to sell screens

It depends on the territory, maybe... it reminds me of the reviews of the first MS Kinect, with many UK reviewers suggesting the sensor was tuned to a larger living room than they possessed.

Purely anecdotal, but I get the impression many US homes are larger than UK houses.

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Re: Designed to sell screens

(Also, I realised that someone might think "curve's" was misuse of an apostrophe. It wasn't: "Curve is" is what it meant).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Designed to sell screens

Yes they are - outside the largest cities. I've lived and worked in a number of different states in the US and it is common for people with no kids (or 1 or 2 young 'uns) to live in 2, 3, 4 or even 5,000 square foot houses. One of the artifacts of this is that is hard to find furniture fior those of us who live in small flats in New York - all the sofas are 9 feet long and 4 feet deep.

What's interesting is that as the average new build house in the UK has got smaller and smaller and meaner, the average new build in the US is enormous. I didn't know there was such a thing as a 6 car garage (incorporated into the house) until I went to Nebraska. Workmanship and finishes are shockingly poor, though, and most of these houses will be literally falling down after 25-30 years. I'll be very interested to see what the far suburbs of large American cities will look like in 20 years.

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Re: Designed to sell screens

I reckon they'll go for 'tallscreen' TVs next, maybe a 4:3 aspect ratio, something like that. Think how programmes will benefit from all that extra space above the picture, all the extra sky they'll be able to show. Your HD widescreen sets will become obsolete.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Designed to sell screens

Oh wow... a brand shiny new 16:12 is gonna be so much better than the ancient 16:9 set I'm watching right now! I want one!!

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Re: Designed to sell screens

I get the impression many US homes are larger than UK houses.

True enough. Apparently 2,000 square feet is pretty average for a US house. That's around 180 sqm, which is bugger all compared to Australian houses. Our pretty average 4 bed suburban, single level mind, comes out at 268 sqm, sitting on a 1,500 sqm plot. Aussies really are not impressed by size.

Means we have 2x40 inch monitors in the study, 55s in the bedrooms and a 65 in the 'media room'.

Bloody ridiculous for two people but there you go.

Even so I can't imagine we'd find a use for a bendy telly, although with the screens getting bigger it might be useful for getting em through doors or round corners!

:o)

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Re: Designed to sell screens

"Purely anecdotal, but I get the impression many US homes are larger than UK houses."

The UK has the smallest houses in EUROPE, let alone the USA.

UK living rooms are decidely poky compared with most other countries.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Designed to sell screens

Not everyone has a clear wall to fit a tv too.. my only wall is above a fireplace, so unless they make them heat proof no good for me :-/

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Unhappy

Unintended consequences of mesmeric TV screens

If it makes the woman in white think she's a teapot then I don't want one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Unintended consequences of mesmeric TV screens

Actually, the woman in white had the only interesting curves, cough...

Just when we were getting to a point where screens are large enough to actually make *sense* as wall decoration as well as TV (well, OK, presently for those with a fat wallet, but bear with me) some &%ç$ dolt comes up with the idea of curving them. I bet the guy used to work for Microsoft where he was responsible for the MS Office ribbon interface.

/grumble

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Creating sweet spots that restrict the positions available for viewing is only one problem of a curved screen. You also lose a major advantage of the OLED screen being very thin.

Big screens will struggle to find a home if they don't fit un-obtrusively close to the wall and allow freedom to view from as much of the room as possible. Big TV for personal viewing doesn't fit well for a mass market.

We are going to need big screens to have any chance of appreciating 4k let alone the emerging 8k. They will also need to become mass market to pay for the development and production setup.

My guess is that the curve is an early gimmick to stand out in the shop. I wouldn't want a curved screen, but I'd really like a 4k/8k OLED

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To be fair, if you have seen one of these curved high def screens they are definitely better curved, so long as you sit in the right place. 2 things i can see being an issue, a flat screen hangs on a wall very nicely indeed, the price is nuts at the moment.

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Interesting...

... but personally, I'm more excited about TVs (and accompanying video capture) with high dynamic range output.

http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Dolby/HDD_First_Look_Dolbys_High_Dynamic_Range_Imaging_Technology/13453

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Pointless for the front room

This wouldn't be much good for many of the front rooms I've been in, as there's rarely a sofa plonked directly in front of the TV, at a decent viewing distance from the screen. Plus, you'd have the same problem of older content being played through the modern viewing tech looking weird, as SD does through HD kit now.

BUT, for a dedicated games room with PS4, this would be frigging awesome. Imagine a full on racing seat with the latest Logitech Driving Force GT, plugged into a PS4 with the next Gran Turismo, all parked in front of a curved 78" 4k screen....

Time to buy a bigger house

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Boffin

Re: Pointless for the front room

BUT, for a dedicated games room with PS4, this would be frigging awesome. Imagine a full on racing seat with the latest Logitech Driving Force GT, plugged into a PS4 with the next Gran Turismo, all parked in front of a curved 78" 4k screen....

Or you could... drive a car.

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I sit close to the computer screen, maybe i could do with a curved monitor, not sure, would need to test ... for tv, this is great if you only ever have 1 invite (and want to cuddle) or the misses watching it with you (close to you on the sofa) - for any of use, this tv screen sucks.

So, bottom-line, this tech sucks for 99% of us, thanks! It would make a good penthouse tv, literally, for the place.

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Anonymous Coward

I also sit close to the screen, Currently using a 32" TV as a monitor.

The problem I now have is that the edges are about double the distance from my eyes than the center of the screen which is enough to mean I can't read them without moving my head.

Maybe this is a solution, but it'll be a good few years till I can afford to try it.

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Happy

Surely the answer is a doughnut-shaped screen, completely encircling your head - plus a swivel chair. 360° viewing nirvana.

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"Surely the answer is a doughnut-shaped screen, completely encircling your head - plus a swivel chair. 360° viewing nirvana."

Don't give the crazy TV-folk silly ideas.

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Ideal for people on their own

Without wanting to get into long discussions this seems like a rehash of arguments about quadraphonic systems that give perfect sound reproduction as long as you sit in one place in the room. I'd estimate most people watch TV at 20 degrees from the perpendicular and will find these a frustration.

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Re: Ideal for people on their own

That's OK though. Many people won't notice. A friend of mine has invested a decent amount of cash ina nice sound system. I guess the biggest goodness comes from some nice speakers. But he goes to some effort to buy media that has surround sound. However, due to the shape of his room, the focus of the sound is on the middle seat of the sofa, and he always sits in one armchair by the telly.

Even though he's fully awre where the sweet spot is, that still doesn't override sitting in the most comfy chair. And he's one of the few people I know who will sit down and just listen to some music, while not doing anythine else at the same time.

I really think that many of these technology companies massively overestimate most consumers' level of giving-a-damn about the shiny features. Even the ones who actually understand the technical aspects will sacrifice perfection for more comfort, convenience or lower price.

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Meh

Can't see this catching on....

Nice to see a little innovation but I can't see this catching on in a big way. 4K won't even take off until you can pick one up for around the £200-£300 or future equivalent. Given as most content in future will be streamed in whatever definition your system will cope with there will be no "forced" uptake of beyond HD. From what I have seen the "full HD" experience worth less to consumers than the "nice big thin TV" - so the drivers that changed living rooms from CRT to LCD/Plasma do not exist for LCD/Plasma HD to 4K or 3D or Curved or a combination of the three.

I may be wrong but what would be nice is a little more innovation in the Audio department - flat screen TVs have terrible to dire sound quality.

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Re: Can't see this catching on....

Actually improved built in speakers may me one benefit. There will be more space for something a half-decent size behind a curved screen than in a thin flat panel.

Whether they'll use that space or not is a different question.

I still don't want want though, just finished getting my TV mounted flat on the wall and connected to proper external speakers.

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FAIL

One for the bachelor pad

Along with the stupid big chair, black sheets, pool table and mini-fridge.

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Sil

Marketing BS

Until the 0.1% get their 800 inch screens there is no need whatsoever for curved screens.

It is arguably even less useful than 64 inch 64K resolution screens.

It seems to me projects such as IllumiRoom are much more interesting and have a better chance at commercial success.

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Joke

How much will it cost...

...from Brighthouse? We know the target market for stupid size tellies in small houses, so how much?

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A massive reason not to buy yet.

I'd like a 4k screen and something substantially larger than my current 40''. But this is just turbulence in the market that means I'm going to wait until things have settled and prices have dropped. Unless the breakdown timer in my TV runs out before then.

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Connections

Id be more impressed if they designed a decent remote connection dock for all the cabling instead of having it all hanging off either the back or the side of the screen.Something with a small easily concealable flat cable that connected to the screen from several meters away thus eradicating the need for everything to connect directly.

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Re: Connections

Samsung already do soething along these lines for some of their higher-end models. It's called 'One Connect'. See here ... http://content.hwigroup.net/images/products/xl/197841-14.jpg

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Curved Screens BS

The only reason the screens are curved is to sell TVs to stupid people who have to have the latest thing. In the '70s Hi-Fi used to change colour from Silver to Black then to Champagne and back again. TVs are good quality now, the resolutions are fine with most people so they distort the picture to invent a new must have feature. I'll buy when common sense returns to the manufactures.

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Facepalm

If curvature is so great, how come it only curves in one dimension?

A pair of curved desktop monitors sounds very cool, though I wonder if my eyes don't actually benfit from the variation in distance from looking around the screen? Not as much as just looking over the top, obviously, but being in that intense period of having just got my first 3DS XL I'm all too aware of what a fixed stare can do to your eyesight.

As has been mentioned, it's the audio argument all over again of a 'sweet spot' vs more than one viewer. Purely targetting the 'early adopter' segment and ignoring the mass-market is not a strategy that convinces me of success. But worse, it's the TV industry again inventing a new thing for which there is inadequate demand, at a time when the whole world is very short of disposable income. I wonder if it'll pan out any different this time...?

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