After years of pushing ever-flatter, thinner TVs, manufacturers are throwing buyers a curve—literally, with curved-screen sets. This year Samsung has curved Ultra HD TVs (the HU9000 series) and curved 1080p sets (H8000 series), and you can still buy the curved 1080p TV (S990A) Sony launched last year. LG and Samsung also offer more expensive OLED TVs with curved screens.
These sets make a striking appearance, but does the curve really add anything to the viewing experience? So far, we've found the answer to be: "Not really."
We've reviewed several curved TVs, including the Samsung UN65HU9000 Ultra HD set, the UN65H8000 1080p model, and the Sony Bravia KDL-65S990A 1080p TV, all 65-inch sets that are included in our updated TV Ratings (available to subscribers). We also tested Samsung's curved 55-inch KN55S9C OLED set in our labs last year.
One of the claims about curved screens is that they can provide a more immersive viewing experience, making you feel like you're watching a TV with a screen larger than it actually is. When we viewed UHD TVs with very big—100 inches or more—screens, such as the ultra-large sets we saw from LG and Samsung at CES, the curve added a cinematic aspect, like watching a movie in a theater. Proponents of curved screens also say they can improve contrast by focusing the light coming from the screen more directly at viewers, and that the curve helps to improve the viewing angle for those watching the sets from an angle, at least up to a certain point.