During the recent International CES in Las Vegas, tech giant Samsung demonstrated a range of new curved-screen, 4K televisions.
The curved screen technology on display has been notoriously difficult to develop and put into mass production, and is the product of years of research by the electronics giant.
While the company’s smart TV offering wasn’t as prominently displayed as it was for some of its competitors, the company has previously announced it intends to use its home-grown Tizen operating system on its future smart TVs.
The highlight of the exhibit was a massive 105-inch (in metric, that’s 2.67 metres) display, an 85-inch bendable set, as well as smaller 78-inch, 65-inch and 55-inch sizes.
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Of course, when it comes to impressive new televisions, the most important issue is the sort of first impression it makes.
So are these new screens every couch potato’s dream come true?
What’s the consensus?
For its part, the reviewers at CNet were impressed by the fact Samsung were able to demonstrate a working LCD display, given the company’s large investments in AMOLED display technology:
The demo model I played with was an 85-inch LED LCD with 4K resolution. I was frankly surprised to learn that it wasn’t OLED — I guess the thousands of engineers at Samsung somehow figured out how to make an LCD screen — and the frame, and parts of the backlight, and the filter and everything else — bend at will.
Press a button on the remote control and small servos behind the screen spring into action, bending the edges out into that soon-to-be-familiar curved shape. A second button-press and the process reverses, flattening the screen into the same shape as your current HDTV.
While not a key part of its display, Digital Trends managed to catch a glimpse:
Finally, Samsung has upgraded its Smart Hub smart TV platform included in its UHD TVs this year. The system will be speedier thanks to an upgraded Quad-Core Plus processor, and it can now support a new Multi-Link feature, which enables users to place live TV side-by-side with other applications, such as YouTube, or a Web browser. In this way, browsing the Web will no longer require pulling out of a live TV feed.
Samsung has also changed its five-tab smart TV interface some, adding a multimedia tab as a catch-all for personal photos, movies and music and social applications. That consolidation opened up a tab, which Samsung filled with a new gaming panel. Details on the gaming side of things are scant.
One reviewer noted the immersive effect of a curved TV is far greater on a larger screen than on a smaller one:
At 55 inches it seemed to add problems without giving much benefit, but at 65 inches and especially 78 inches the curve did actually make some images appear more immersive thanks to a greater sense of depth. The extra screen size also increased the sweet spot from which you and others can experience curved TV’s subtle picture benefits, while the curvature also increased the angle you could watch from without images losing colour resolution and contrast.
While Australian pricing has not been confirmed, be warned the high-end model will potentially end up costing more than your car:
Unfortunately though, Samsung’s 105-inch UHD curved TV price in the US may ultimately force you to look away. We already see existing UHD models for the company selling at around $US69,000, so obviously you should expect a price in the same region if not higher.
Who’s it for?
If you want to make a big first impression, a more than two-metre wide curved-screen TV is certain to do the job. However, if you’re an early adopter, be prepared for a steep price tag to match.