Flat is the standard, so why would we make the move to curved? This month Samsung released the world’s first Curved UHD TV, which seems counter-intuitive. Don’t fix what isn’t broken—we like flat TVs. Or so I thought until I saw the thing. Yeah, it might be a gimmick, but it’s a pretty cool one.
Is curved just a fad?
From a humanistic standpoint, no. Oshin Vartanian, neuroscientist and professor at U of T, studies the brain’s reaction to curved design. “In the evolutionary past, sharp objects denoted threat, so the reverse seems to be relaxing. We tend to find curved objects more pleasing because they mimic forms we see in nature more frequently.” According to Vartanian, our attraction to the curve is here to stay.
From a technological point of view, Samsung claims their new TV offers a more immersive viewing experience, like an IMAX theatre. And it does look good. The colours are brighter, the details are clearer, and you can get so absorbed in a show you forget about the curve. Unless you’re watching kid’s cartoons—then the curve can stick out like a sore thumb.
Is it an investment?
The worst thing about buying a new TV is knowing it will be obsolete in three months. So will the curve hold up? The nice thing is you can upgrade it with hardware. Samsung TVs include a One Connect box, which is basically the TVs external hard drive. Instead of buying a new model every year, you can just replace the box. Take it home, plug it in and you’ll still have all the newest standards and features.
The new Curve has an ultra high definition screen. That’s four times more resolution than the average TV on the market. Great, so what can you watch? Turns out, not a lot. UHD reads 4k content and there’s not very much available. There’s one show on Netflix (House of Cards) and the promise of more, but barely any 4k content is broadcasted. You can still watch high definition cable but it will look the same as it does on your HD screen, so you might want to wait on that upgrade.
So is it worth it?
The TV’s damn cool and, as Vartanian points out, “Just in time for the world cup.” (Don’t worry, that will be broadcast in 4k) But it’s up to the consumer whether the novelty of the curve outweighs the steeper price tag. The difference between Samsung’s UHD curved and flat screen (with all the same technology and features) is a thousand dollars. So if you want to pay extra for a curved frame, go right ahead.