Ahead of the Curved TV: Samsung, LG

LG Curved TV

Samsung and LG showed curved TVs to attendees of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Show attendees got an eyeful and earful of the newest, latest, and greatest creations in technology. This includes computers, notebooks and ultrabooks, digital cameras and camcorders, and, of course, televisions. A number of manufacturers are showing CES attendees the next generation of 3D televisions, but Samsung and LG are pushing the envelope with their curved Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) 3D televisions.

More Contrast in Every Viewing Environment

Curved TV at CES 2013
One of the new curved TVs on display at CES 2013 — bringing the IMAX feeling to your living room.

The technology behind these organic light emitting diodes is way beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that they are somewhat similar to the LEDs that we’ve all become used to over the past couple decades. They use a semiconducting film and are stimulated by a current. However, here’s the neat thing: Since they don’t require a backlight for the image they create to be visible, they can display deeper black levels and they’re smaller and lighter than standard LEDs.Additionally, in lower ambient lighting environments, this lack of backlighting allows them to display much higher contrast ratios than liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Plus, they’re flexible. Which brings us to the next point in the discussion.

LG Eliminates Distortion with Curved TV

LG’s EA9800 is a 55-inch wide curved TV that uses OLED technology to create a slight inward curve of the display. LG claims this curvature virtually removes all edge distortion from images displayed on the TV. They also claim that it improves the overall detail of the image because every inch of the display is the same distance to your eyes. This is similar in concept of design to the IMAX screens we’ve all seen. Truthfully, the images are simply breathtaking.

The EA9800 also adds 3D capability, meaning that you will need to get ready for movies to jump out at you while you’re watching them. Get ready to feel as though you’re immersed in the movie, not just watching it.Also, LG has evolved the old video standard of red, green, and blue (RGB) pixels to add greater color depth by adding a white pixel to create WRGB. The effect is simply stunning. LG has also minimized the border on this unit, making the TV blend right into the wall. You’ll almost feel like you’re watching a video wall, not a TV.

Samsung’s Offering Equally Stunning

Samsung Curved TV
Samsung’s Curved OLED TV got a lot of attention at CES 2013. Photo Credit: Flickr

Samsung‘s curved TV shown for the first time at CES 2013 is just as visually stunning. They call their version the Samsung Curved OLED TV. The borders on this unit aren’t as small as those on the LG model, so it still looks like a TV, but what a TV it is! Samsung also says they’ve eliminated the edge distortion that different viewing distances cause with the curvature of the display. Samsung also equates their OLED Curved TV to an IMAX theater in a smaller scale.

Samsung, besides letting us know that the Curved OLED TV uses curved OLEDs, hasn’t given out much technical detail on the TV, but the unit does create a stunningly beautiful image.

Tech Press Abuzz, But …

As you would imagine, the tech media is very excited about these the curved TV, but they do have some legitimate questions. Curving in the edges sounds great in theory, especially for those sitting immediately in front of the center of the screen, but what about those sitting at the far ends of the couch? How much will this curved screen benefit them, if at all? Samsung claims these viewers will not experience a degraded image by being so far from the center of the screen, but that the curvature actually improves the viewing angles from the sides.

Many of the tech reviewers are curious about price and availability, as well. Some think the units that were on display were nothing more than prototypes to gauge consumer interest. They were curious if these televisions were ready for production and sale. If so, how much will they cost? Hopes aren’t high for these items being terribly affordable, since current production models of flat-screen OLED TVs are normally running in the five figure range.

Samsung reps at CES say their curved TV units will be ready for wide-scale production and sale in the second half of this year, although, there is no official announcement from the company to back this up. We’ll just have to wait and see. I was unable to find any information regarding an expected release date for the LG model.

Main image via Flickr