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Curved televisions vs flat TVs: What’s the difference and which screen is best?

Are curved televisions really better than flat TVs, and what’s the difference between them, besides the obvious price bump? Here’s all you need to know about curved TVs and what difference those bendy screens actually make.

Curved televisions have been around for a while now and don’t appear to be going anywhere any time soon. But is that because manufacturers have invested ridiculous amounts of cash in these massive manufacturing plants to make the damned things, or do curved screens actually offer a better viewing experience than traditional flat-screened tellies?

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to curved TVs, and it’s not just a preference thing or a pointless design decision. But are those positives and negatives weighed well enough to make you want to go curvy? Plenty of cinemas have had curved screens for years, so maybe curved really is the future.

Here’s everything you need to know about curved TVs compared to flat screens, so you can decide which is best for you.

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Immersive viewing

One argument for curved screens is that they make you feel more immersed in the video experience.

Since the human eyeball is round in shape, it’s well versed to detecting movements in the peripheries of vision. Curved displays wrap the visuals around you, which should trick your noggin into thinking that whatever you’re watching is real. In that way, a curved screen theoretically pulls you deeper into the viewing experience.

This wrap-around design also offers a wider field of view, which some say results in a better depth perception to almost give a 3D-like feel to the visuals.

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Greater contrast

The theory goes that curved televisions focus the light more effectively, since every part of the screen is angled to point at your seating position. As a result that should mean the image is brighter at the top end and offers a greater level of perceived contrast – twice as much as flat displays, so it’s claimed.

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Better and worse angled views

A side-on view of a curved television is a double-edged sword. That curve can actually help when it comes to off-axis viewing points, meaning greater colour and contrast; two things that suffer degradation in the same position using a flat TV.

The flip-side of this argument is that the side-on viewing angle is unnatural and forces your brain to actively focus, which can actually be tiring (or so some will argue).

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Sharper edges

One of the reasons top-end cinemas use curved screens is to offer sharper peripheral imagery – something that can otherwise be lost on those huge displays.

The same can be said for curved TVs, which receive the same benefits. Of course this only applies to the biggest models, but since they’re all so bloody huge now, it’s definitely applicable.

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Annoying reflections

When it comes to a curved screen, the problem of reflections can be amplified. Some argue that the shape of the curve actually means that any reflections can discolour a large portion of the screen, as the light doesn’t just bounce straight off.

Of course, this is quite subjective as you could argue that the curved edges actually shield the screen from some light. To avoid reflections with any kind of TV, placement is key.

That said, as long as your television pumps out a nice bright picture, you probably won’t notice any reflections.

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Mounting and space

If you go for a curved television, you likely won’t be able to mount it to the wall without the whole thing looking a bit silly. Also, you’re going to need more room as that curve awkwardly takes up greater space. Sure, if it’s placed in a corner position it might work nicely, but it may struggle to fit anywhere else.

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Pricing

Flat screen televisions have been around far longer, so the manufacturing process has been refined and is therefore cheaper to run. The result is obvious: flat TVs are more affordable than curved ones.

This difference will drop as more curved tellies are sold of course, and the curved generation catches up to the flat. But at the moment you’ll pay a bit of a premium for that extra immersion.

Curved televisions vs flat TVs: Verdict

Curved televisions offer plenty of advantages over flat screens, including greater colour, brightness and contrast, a more immersive image and sharper edges. But on the bad side, there’s the need for more space in a room, greater expense and a narrow central seating position.

So if you’ve got the man-cave set up for a large TV and a fair bit of cash to spare, curved may be the way to go for the ultimate movie-like experience. But if this is going in your lounge for day-to-day viewing, sticking with flat could be the way to go.

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