Curved vs Flat TVs: Is the Curve Worth It?
- Table of Contents
- Flat TV
- Curved TV
- Viewing Angle
- Size and Immersiveness
- Aesthetics and Thickness
Updated Mar 11, 2021 at 12:08 pm
By Cedric Demers and Nicholas Di Giovanni
Curved TVs are almost extinct in the TV world as of 2021. Although they were easily available in the mid-2010s and Samsung offered a healthy selection, only a handful of models have curved screens now. They were introduced to help offer a more immersive viewing experience, as manufacturers claimed the curved edges allowed the screen to occupy a wider area in your field of vision. However, a curved TV is only beneficial if you’re sitting close to the screen and you’re the only one watching it, as those watching from the side may see a distorted image.
This article explains the differences between flat and curved screen TVs and their advantages and disadvantages.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to compare a flat screen TV, the Samsung TU8000, and its curved screen variant, the Samsung TU8300. The TU8300 was the only curved screen model Samsung released in 2020.
Flat TV (Samsung TU8000)
What it is: Traditional style TV with a flat panel.
Curved TV (Samsung TU8300)
What it is: Style of TV that features a slightly curved panel to help improve immersion.
|Cost||Flat (not by much)|
There’s an argument to be made for curved TVs on the basis of aesthetics – some people like the look of a curved TV. However, there’s no dramatic difference in the viewing experience when comparing curved and flat TVs for everyday use, and some people may simply prefer traditional flat TVs.
Both flat and curved screen TVs have their own advantages and disadvantages regarding viewing angles. However, the panel type affects the viewing angles more than the curvature, so that means two TVs with the same panel type, regardless of their shape, should have the same viewing angles.
Below you can see the viewing angle videos from the Samsung TU7000, which we included instead of the TU8000 due to embedding limitations, and the TU8300. As you can see, they each have narrow viewing angles due to their VA panels, so the image quickly looks inaccurate regardless. However, the flat screen loses its image accuracy uniformly across the screen; this means that if you’re watching from the left side, the left edge looks as inaccurate as the right edge. You don’t get the same effect on a curved screen as if you’re watching from the left side, the left edge will look different from the right edge, and the left side may even be hard to see at very wide angles.
A curved screen can be advantageous if you sit really close, especially if you use it as a PC monitor. On a flat screen TV with narrow viewing angles, the left and right edges appear darker and washed out if you sit too close. However, the curved screen helps bring the edges within your field of vision, so they may not appear as inaccurate.
Winner: Flat screens, but not by much. If you’re choosing between a flat and curved screen with the same panel type, and you’re going to watch TV with a few people, it’s probably better to get a flat screen.
Flat TV – Samsung TU7000
Curved TV – Samsung TU8300
Learn about viewing angles
Size and Immersiveness
One of the main selling points of a curved screen was that they could fill more of your field of vision, making them appear bigger. Therefore, a 55 inch curved TV would actually look bigger than a 55 inch flat screen. This is true, but only to an extremely small degree. We calculated the difference by comparing two similar TVs: the Samsung UN55MU8000, and the Samsung UN55MU8500. Apart from the curved screen, the two share a similar design, and pretty much identical picture quality. We measured the screens and calculated the field of view for both TVs, assuming a seated position of eight feet away from the TVs. The larger the field of view (FOV), the more the screen fills your vision.
The result was that the flat screen had a FOV of 28 degrees, and the curved screen had a FOV of 28.42 degrees. At that distance of eight feet, that means the MU8500’s curved 55 inch screen looks like a 55.8 inch screen – a very small difference. If you sit closer, then a curved screen may appear bigger, and this is why many curved monitors are still around, but for most people watching TV, there isn’t any perceivable difference.
Winner: Curved. The difference is very minor, though, so it’s not worth the extra cost.
Learn about our size and distance calculator
Flat screen TV
Curved screen T
Due to their shape, flat and curved TVs handle reflections differently. As you can see above, light on the curved TV is ‘stretched’ across the screen, covering more space. However, reflections are harsher on the flat screen because of how it reflects directly back and doesn’t stretch across the screen. Some people may simply prefer the reflection handling on curved screens more, but choosing one over the other really comes down to personal preference.
Learn more about reflection handling
Aesthetics and Thickness
Thickness: 2.28″ (5.8cm)
Thickness: 4.06″ (10.3cm)
The biggest reason to get a curved TV would be because you enjoy the look of it. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that curved TVs are a bit bulkier in the back. Combined with the difference in shape, this can make mounting a TV to a wall a bit trickier.
Winner: Draw. As aesthetics are mostly subjective, there’s no real winner here, but if you want the thinnest TV, go for a flat screen.
As of the start of the 2020s, curved screens are practically a thing of the past. Samsung was the only major retailer to release a curved TV in 2020, and even at that, they only released one model. Their last premium curved TV was the Samsung Q7CN/Q7C QLED 2018, and since then, all of Samsung’s QLED models are flat. Curved TVs used to cost a premium over their flat equivalent, but the Samsung TU8300 only costs a bit more than the Samsung TU8000, so there’s no real difference between them. If you’re buying a TV in 2021, it’s more than likely that you’re going to get a flat screen.
TV manufacturers once jumped on the hype train of curved screen TVs, but they’ve since booked a one-way ticket back to the flat screen world. Having a curved screen over a flat screen doesn’t offer any real advantage in terms of picture quality, and curved screens are actually a worse choice if you have a wide seating arrangement because you can’t see the edges properly from the side. There are a few advantages of a curved screen over a flat, like the screen appearing bigger if you sit close, and reflections not being as strong, but they’re minor differences. There are only a handful of curved TVs being released as of 2021, so it’s likely your next TV is going to be flat anyways.
Flat Screen Vs. Curved TV
Updated January 25, 2023
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Table of Contents_
- Are Curved TVs Better than Flat Screens
- Viewing Experience
- Cost and Value for Money
- Image Fidelity
Curved TVs first appeared on the consumer market in 2013, promising a more immersive viewing experience with superior fidelity, starting a long-standing debate over whether a flat-screen vs. curved TV is better.
- Flat screen TVs are widely available at a wide range of price points, and high-end models boast next-gen fidelity competitive with curved TVs.
- Curved TVs offer the most benefits to gamers due to the fact that the increase in image fidelity is only significant at very close viewing distances.
- The high starting price point of curved TVs won’t necessarily be justified for many users based on what is often a very minor upgrade to the viewing experience.
Both have their advantages, especially when it comes to cost and performance, so if you’re looking for the best TV on the market for your needs, you’ll want to understand what each offers. Here you can learn about other technologies in modern TVs, like full LED vs edge LED.
Curved TVs were a popular high-end option throughout the 2010s for the immersive viewing experience they promised, but they have since become far less common on the market. If you would like, you can also compare curved 4K Tv vs a flat 4K to see which is best for your setup. Alternatively, if you know you do not want a flat TV, check out the top-rated curved TVs offered.
Lastly, if you aren’t sure what to choose, you can check out the differences between a projector screen and a TV to see if it will give you any benefits the others won’t.
Moreover, if you want to mount your TV correctly, you’ll want to learn the optimal TV height.
Gamers will enjoy the benefits of curved TVs more than most because of closer viewing angles.
The biggest difference between flat screen and curved TVs is obviously the curvature of the display itself, but significant differences in price and often less significant differences in performance are possibly why they’re a less common option commercially now.
The claim that curved TV manufacturers make is that their models provide a superior viewing experience compared to standard flat-screen models. In theory, a curved display means far less glare, greater immersion, and the elimination of certain kinds of image distortion. While glare is indeed reduced significantly, the difference in immersion will generally only feel significant at very close viewing distances, which is why gamers will experience the benefits the most. Also, remember you need to keep your TV clean to have a good viewing experience as well. You should periodically wipe your TV down with a microfiber cloth.
Cost and Value for Money
Here the differences between curved and flat-screen models become self-evident. A curved model will cost $100 to 300 more than the closest flat screen equivalent. There also aren’t any entry-level curved models on the market, partially because their market share has shrunk so significantly in the past few years. That difference in price point may be more justifiable for non-budget-minded gamers, who will benefit the most from a curved screen.
The differences here are nominal. Curved TVs don’t have higher resolutions or other technologies that aren’t available in flat-screen models, so differences in image fidelity are more perceptive than actual.
Reduced screen glare and reduced or eliminated image distortions of certain kinds translate into a better image on a curved TV, even if the color depth and resolutions are the same. However, once again, the difference is negligible at normal viewing differences. If you want to check out a curved TV, you can read our Samsung RU7300 review. Or you can compare it to a flat-screen model with our Samsung UN65RU7100FXZA review.
Many users won’t notice an improvement in viewing experience that is significant enough to justify the substantial increase in price with curved TVs.
Can you install a curved TV on a wall?
Yes. For the most part, curved TVs use the same mounting brackets that flat screen models do. You should be able to put most models on a wall without any extra trouble. Keep in mind that viewing distance makes the biggest difference in getting the most out of a curved display.
How does the curve affect viewing angles?
It may seem counterintuitive, but a curved screen doesn’t generally have that much of an effect, adverse or otherwise, on the viewing angle. This means that you won’t really have to adjust for that when setting up and installing a curved TV vs a flat screen.
Does the curve affect picture quality?
It depends on how you define “picture quality.” In a technical sense, the only improvement in picture quality with curved displays would be in the elimination of certain kinds of image distortions. However, the difference isn’t often that noticeable. The reduction of glare is probably the biggest overall improvement to picture quality since resolutions and color depth aren’t any different in curved displays.
STAT: Curved TVs can come at up to a 50% higher price point than equivalent flat screen models. (source)
I’m a musician and recording engineer and live in Queens. I have a cat. Her name is Elsa. I love to write about consumer tech and musical instruments.
curved or flat, comparison
Curved screens are highly competitive in the flat market, claiming to be the champion in realism and immersion, but are more expensive and not quite familiar to most viewers. Let’s compare and analyze in which cases it is worth buying a curved, and in which flat TV.
- 2.Viewing angle
- 4. Contrast enhancement
- 4.1 Screen brightness
- 4. 2 Screen contrast
- 5. Reflection count
- 6. Screen visual area
- 7. Optical distortion reduction
- 8. When should I buy a curved TV?
- 8.1 Comparison table
Concave TVs attract with their unusualness and become not only a device for watching channels, but an element of room decor. People also like this solution because when viewing it, it seems that the picture goes around you from all sides, enhancing the effect of presence.
But at the same time, curved TV:
- is heavier;
- its thickness exceeds the thickness of the flat one.
If a curved screen may not always fit well into interior design, then a flat TV has become an unbreakable classic. Such a device:
- more mobile;
- it can be easily hung on a wall or placed on a table.
When wall-mounted, actually merging with the surface, flat devices are comfortable to use, unlike concave models, which have problems mounting on a wall in a small room.
Saving space, combined with a presentable side view, is impossible when choosing an arc TV, and here the flat screen wins.
Greater engagement and immersion is greatly influenced by the correct viewing angle. You need to be able to watch TV.
Curvilinear device reduces the ideal viewing area. A high-quality picture, without distortion, will be provided to the viewer sitting exactly in the center, that is, at 90 degrees. People who are 30 degrees or more off-center will experience a stretched image with dull tones.
If we compare TVs with a diagonal of up to 70 inches, then it is more efficient to choose a device with a flat screen, since 2 or more people can enjoy watching. Choosing a flat TV, the issue with the viewing angle will not be so critical.
If you still decide to buy a gadget with a curved screen and want to surprise family and friends with a movie theater effect, then you should look at models with a diagonal of more than 70 inches. Yes, it will cost a lot, and you will need to think about the location of the guests.
They say that curved TVs were invented for introverts or people who prefer to retire alone with the TV. Placed in front of such a screen is at a distance of 2.4 meters – this will help increase the viewing angle and maintain the contrast of the picture.
Watching TV from an uncomfortable angle can adversely affect the organs of vision. The eyes, focusing heavily, quickly get tired, and the brain, smoothing out all the flaws in the images, overstrains – all this leads to headaches and irritation.
Curved novelties create a completely new visual experience for the viewer with the effect of complete immersion. This magic happens due to the curvature of the device, which enhances the effect of involvement, visually creating a wider image.
Today, only due to the concave screen, people can get a 3D picture, although in reality the images are still two-dimensional. The human eye creates an arcuate field of view, also called peripheral, which is better covered by a curved monitor.
Additional features for the “curved” model arise due to:
- the correct position of the viewer;
- the impact of a picture on the direct and peripheral vision of a person;
- 3D effects in 2D space.
If you follow the rules of landing in front of the screen, then these concave TV models will provide you with a more comfortable environment for the eyes, as they better take into account the natural curvature of vision. And by covering most of the field of view, we see all images wider and fuller.
The effect of immersion will be deeper when watching a TV with a curved screen, since for manufacturers of such models this criterion was one of the most important in the manufacture.
Brightness and contrast are automatically adjusted for modern TVs, but it is possible to adjust them for yourself.
In terms of brightness, the curved model is not inferior to the best flat screens. This indicator is easily adjusted and configured “for yourself”. But it is important to remember that a high-quality, clear and bright image is available only to those viewers who are located to the TV under 90 degrees.
Contrast is a measure of brightness, which refers to the ratio of light to dark areas, and it is this parameter that is lower on concave screens than on flat ones (if we consider the whole angle, not just 90 degrees).
If you sit close to the TV and watch the image alone, then you will notice that the contrast at the edges of the concave screen is higher than that of the flat screen.
You can do saturation adjustment yourself, both for a flat model and for a concave one, choosing the optimal one. Do not forget that the contrast and image quality depend not only on the technical capabilities of the TV, but also on the digital television connection system.
If the antenna cable has a bandwidth that falls short of HD quality, then no screen will be able to give you a picture with Ultra HD resolution.
Number of reflections
Reflection primarily depends on the screen surface and gloss level. If you want to avoid unnecessary reflections, then you should choose a matte screen, no matter what kind of TV it is. If you compare both models, for less reflection, you should look at the curved ones.
Concave matrices reflect light at a different angle than flat matrices, creating the effect of no glare or reducing their number by several times. If the person moves slightly away from the focal point, then the glare becomes completely invisible.
If there are few light sources and details in white shades in the room, you can also choose a flat-panel TV. But if the room is bright, with good bright lighting, then you can safely choose a curved screen that will tolerate the light and blur all the reflections.
Visual screen area
Visually flat models look elegant and light, taking up little space on a wall or pedestal. As for their “crooked” brothers, they look more bulky and less compact, due to their concave arc.
But the effect of enlarging the screen on concave TVs was a success! At a distance of one or more meters, it seems that a curvilinear TV has a surface area greater than that of a flat device with an identical diagonal.
The farther you are from the TV, the greater the feeling of expanded space. This trick takes us with peripheral vision, perceiving the picture wider.
Reduce optical distortion
The amount of optical distortion when watching TV will not decrease from choosing a curved model. There are distortions in both.
Yes, with an increase in the diagonal and a distance of more than two meters from the screen, distortions will become more invisible, but in other circumstances the device will only increase them. Reflections will become more stretched, although not as bright as flat devices.
When should I buy a curved TV?
It is worth buying a flexible screen if:
- you plan to take a large screen TV to create the effect of a movie theater;
- TV will be watched by 1-3 people at the same time;
- you like to be in trend, and the TV looks impressive;
- you are going to buy a screen as a PC monitor;
- you like unusual solutions in the interior;
- you are going to put the TV on the surface, and not hang it on the wall;
- device will stand in a spacious and well-lit room.
trends and originality
up to 179 degrees, you can watch a large company
up to 150 degrees, 1-3 people can view
average, closer to the edges – below average
in the center – excellent, closer to the edges – average
lots of glare in good light
different angle of reflection, reduced glare
Visual screen area:
seems bigger than it really is
Reduce optical distortion:
does not reduce
does not reduce
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Is a curved TV display good or bad?
If you’re shopping for a new TV and thinking about a curved screen, then this article will help you. Here you will learn about the features, advantages and disadvantages of such models. Reading time – 6 minutes.
- One of the latest trends
- Curved screen features
- Original design
- Maximum immersion or deceptive beauty
- Viewing angle
- Reflections and image distortion
- Level of curvature
- Imperfect aesthetics
- A question of price
- Benefits Curved TV
- Curved TV Disadvantages
One of the current trends
Back in 2013, reputable companies presented a new type of TV – with a curved display. They positioned these models as the best for comfortable viewing and complete immersion in the event taking place on the screen. The next two years, most manufacturers conducted large-scale experiments with the shape of the TV.
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However, the demand for non-standard TVs fell sharply in 2017 – many did not understand their features of operation and made the wrong choice of model. As a result, technology has declined.
But today, televisions with unusual geometric shapes are in demand. The development of technology does not stand still, and manufacturers carefully correct the shortcomings. The only thing left to do is to understand their pros and cons to understand if a curved screen TV is right for you.
Curved screen features
First of all, to understand what kind of TV you should buy, curved or flat, you need to decide on its purpose.
It is always a pleasure to surprise friends and guests, and the whole family is guaranteed to receive aesthetic pleasure with such an unusual TV model, which has long become one of the main elements of the interior. Curved screens look modern and even futuristic. In addition, they are surprisingly thin and very effective.
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Maximum immersion or deceptive beauty
In addition, all manufacturers promise a complete immersion in cinema reality, which justifies the unusual design and cost. The smooth curved design pairs with 4K UHD resolution and high contrast for an immersive experience.
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Some theaters play films on curved screens to enhance the effect of presence. But this is possible only on a multi-meter diagonal. And on a screen of 40 or even 85 inches, the curvature does not give the promised immersion in what he saw. Therefore, the effect will be almost the same as from a flat TV.
Another nuance is the curvature, which in some cases can worsen the viewing angle. Again, a large cinema screen allows the entire audience to enjoy the picture from any angle. But conventional household TV has a reduced area that is ideal for viewing. That is, the optimal viewing position and viewing angles for a curved model are much smaller than for a flat one.
If you position yourself more than 35° on either side of the center of the curved screen, you will only see a small angle of the picture. Simply put, the most comfortable way to watch a movie or TV show is to sit right in front of the screen and look exactly in the center. Of course, the larger the diagonal of the TV, the larger the viewing area.
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Reflections and image distortion
If the display is glossy, it will reflect even slight light, while the matte display does not even have a hint of reflection. The brighter and more contrast the screen, the less reflections, and no matter the curved or flat screen.
However, on a curved TV, the reflection will be more stretched due to the inherent curvature distortion. Yes, it will become larger, but less bright than on flat. To avoid reflections, consider the location of the equipment. It is good if there is a minimum of light sources opposite the screen. It is also best to watch TV in low light.
Distortion that is not affected by light is called the bow tie effect. It occurs while watching a certain type of video on a curved display. In Letterbox mode, the top bar above the image will be stretched around the edges of the TV, however this depends on the viewing angle.
To get rid of distortion and reflections on a curved screen:
- choose a matte screen;
- near the TV – the minimum concentration of light sources;
- use a light that can be adjusted.
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To understand how curved the screen is, you need to know its radius. The smaller it is, the greater will be the concavity of the model. Let’s take for example a radius (R – it is indicated in the characteristics of the device) of 3000, with which a circle of three meters will turn out. Current models offer a Curve Index of 1800 R.
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As mentioned above, one of the main reasons for the popularity of such models is the original design. For a minimalist and classic interior style, it will be an ideal solution, especially with the right color of the body.
However, there were some nuances here as well. Here are the main ones:
- problematic TV placement on the wall in a small room;
- with curved TV need to be especially careful;
- the thickness of such a TV is much more than a flat one;
- it is much heavier and more massive, which complicates the installation on the wall – it will be more reliable to place it on a pedestal or on the floor;
- will not save space, unlike a flat model, which takes up almost no space, especially when mounted on a wall;
- unaesthetic side view – a flat-panel TV looks neat and stylish from any side, while a curved TV is distinguished by volume and visual heaviness.
A question of price
Another important criterion that affects the choice of TV is the available budget. It should be borne in mind that the cost of a concave TV will be higher (the difference is from 20 to 40%, which depends on the characteristics of the model) than that of a flat TV with the same functions.
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Benefits of a curved TV
There are no fundamental differences between curved and flat displays. There are only advantages and disadvantages, based on which you make your choice. If the budget allows and you want to try something new, then choose a curved TV or a flat panel with a maximum diagonal. For example, the Xiaomi Redmi MAX 98 LED panel, which will turn any room into a personal cinema.
Among the advantages of a curved TV are:
- Not much, but improved visualization.
- There will be no good cinema effect, but concave TVs are equipped with better immersiveness parameters. After all, the larger the diagonal, the better it is.
- Curved models do not have much richer performance than flat models, but the difference will be obvious, especially when playing HD content.
- Curved 3D TV is ideal for playing ultra-high quality multimedia content.
- The immersive effect is also better. The image appears larger and looks more realistic.
- Contrast is higher and colors are richer.
- Screen space is more extended.
- An interesting and extraordinary style that looks really impressive and cool.
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Curved TV Disadvantages
Alas, the curved TV has more disadvantages than advantages. Before buying, read them to understand if you can put up with them or not.
- Flare is more noticeable than flat.
- During the day, dark spots can fill up to 90% of the screen, so the windows will have to be curtained.
- The viewing angle is quite small.
- Viewing from a non-right angle will significantly degrade the picture quality.
- Relatively complex installation, especially when compared with a flat model.
- The price is quite high, even with minimal features.
- The size of the diagonal plays a significant role in order to enjoy the curved effect.