In 2014 there have appeared on the market TVs and computer monitors whose screen is slightly concave. Screen curve was taken as a joke, and attributed to producers desperate to reinvent their products, which consumers are not very hasty to buy though. The general perception seems to be that especially in TVs, screen curve actually harms the image quality when looking from the side.
However, according to experts it would seem that actually curved screens are not just an uninspired attempt by Korean companies to differentiate their products, and that it actually makes a real improvement in image quality. Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, a company specialized in creating tools and procedures for displays calibration and optimization, explains why curved screen TVs and monitors are preferable to flat ones. The main advantage of the curved screen is that it improves image quality.
Dr. Soneira explains: “The slight curve of the screen reduces the geometric distortion [produced by a flat screen] with up to 50% for a typical viewing distance of 2.4 meters.” Distortion of flat panel display would be caused – according to Dr. Soneira – by the fact that when you look at the image center, the corners are farther, seem smaller and therefore the eye does not see a rectangle but an elongated trapeze.
At first sight the argument seems forced – corners are further from the center? Really! But if you come to think of it, things seem to make sense, especially when it comes to TVs with larger screen sizes. And speaking of big screens: where did we saw the big screens that are really curved? Exactly! At the cinema!
The second argument in favor of this theory should be that – brace yourself – it enhances the image quality for those watching from the side. So things seem to be exactly the opposite to what everyone thinks: a curved screen does not damage image quality for someone who does not watch it on the central axis of the screen, but on the contrary: it makes it better! If so, it means that LG and Samsung have failed big time in explaining the benefits of some of the most expensive products they sell, the OLED TVs.
It’s one thing that the public does not understand the benefits of a product, and a whole new level when the very advantage of your product is perceived as a disadvantage. Dr. Soneira explains that when you look from the side on a flat screen, the half on your side seems bigger and the other half seems smaller. Curved screens diminish this effect by decreasing a little the side facing you and enlarging the other side.
And finally, according to Dr. Soneira, third advantage for the curved screens, is that due to the concave shape, the reflection of produced ambient light is much improved. The curved shape, would cause the screen to send the reflected light away from the user’s line of sight. This is not really hard to understand. We all know how weird is to see your own reflection, or worse, to have a lamp whose light is reflected on the TV screen.
Ambient light reflection on the screen is a major problem, that TV manufacturers have turned to applying a anti reflective a filter, which unfortunately has the side effect of significantly reducing the brightness. A display that manages to be anti reflective without this compromise, brings a real plus in terms of image quality.
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