LG Display explains why a curved TV is preferable to a flat one

When Samsung and LG released their curved OLED TVs (and later on curved LCDs as well), a lot of people didn't understand why is that good for. Most reviewers and consumers seem to prefer a flat design - which means you can hang the TV on the wall and it looks better.

It seems that there's still a lot of confusion here, and today LG Display published an article that explains the advantages of curved TVs (it also details the company's flexible OLED technology). According to LG, there are several such advantages. First of all, the Curved OLED TV can enhance the viewer’s immersive experience with its curved form. The screen "wraps around the viewer" and so there's a comfortable feeling of stability and immersion. LG explains that the curved screen has a curved trajectory similar to a person’s ‘Horopter Line’ allowing the maintenance of a constant focus.



The second advantage is the distance to the viewer is constant (unlike a flat TV in which the middle is closer than the edges). This means that in a flat TV there's a subtle image and color distortion which does not happen in a curved panel. The larger the flat screen and the closer the distance from the screen, the distortion becomes more noticeable.

The final advantage is that a curved screen feels larger and brighter compared to a flat TV. This, again, enhances the viewing experience. LGD says that a viewer will feel that the size of a curved TV screen is larger than its actual size. Curved OLED TV also feels brighter because the light coming from the screen is focused on the center of the screen.

Posted: Mar 06,2014 by Ron Mertens



First of all: Either people see for themselves that a curved TV provides a better picture or they don't. If you have to explain why the picture SHOULD look better it is time to rething your business model. At least that's the way I see it.

Second of all: The article basically uses a lot of scientific wording, but does not provide any real data. All that stuff about the Horopter Line is true, the only question is what dimension does the display have to be and what viewing distances are we talking in order to actually see a difference. In the picture you posted the guy is sitting like 50 cm in front of a huge display...of course in that scenario a curved display would help. Problem is that this is a completely unrealistic scenario.

The real question is how much improvement do I get when I sit 2-3 meters away from a 55-60" TV?

Marketing, marketing, marketing....The TV biz is all about product differentiation,especially when it is in a relatively slow growth mode.  LG is pushing its advantage over Samsung in the OLED TV space to create a 'leader' status.  Curved TV is a very modest improvement on flat panel screens, but give it to the marketing guys and it becomes a new TV category, and potentially a way to differentiate an LG product (and hopefully extract a premium from buyers, which is the ultimate end game).  What I want is a less expensive OLED TV.  If that means that LG uses some of the 'curved TV' marketing money to further their manufacturing R&D, it would likely have a greater financial benefit down the road.  Selling a few more $6000 OLED TVs that are produced on a very expensive pilot line is moot relative to developing a clear manufacturing path to a relatively inexpensive large screen OLED process.  Yes, LG would be the 'big dog' in a very small market currently, but what about 2-3 years down the road?  Is Samsung asleep, or are they laying low until they have improved the process enough to make money?  Hard to tell, but they did it with small panels while everyone said it would never be cost effective, and now its their most profitable display business...


If I bought a TV just for myself then the curve could be OK. But watching with friends/family from 3+ meters away? In that case flat screen is much better.

Less expensive is always relative.

As far as I know none of the big display producers are earning real money with the rund of the mill mass produced displays anymore. Overcapacity and the resulting price erosion made sure of that.

What they need is something for which people are willing to pay an affordable premium (as was the case early on in the flat panel market). Over the last couple of years they put their hopes in 3D which backfired big time as very few people were willing to pay extra for this. Now they are betting on 4K technology and / or OLED. However whether or not people are actually willing to pay a sufficiently high premium for this remains to be seen.

Personally I wouldn't pay extra for 4K while I might be willing to pay some premium for OLED (certainly not $6000 though).

Looks nice.

The only people who this might appeal to are those who are capable of understanding what LG is saying, and yet I cannot help but feel that those who are capable of understanding LG's marketing blather will not be sold by it.

For the vast majority of viewing scenarios in my home, more than one person will be looking at the display at any one time. A set that has a singular "sweet spot" is not practical in those situations. I personally think that LG should stop trying to differentiate themselves based on technobabble that will sell only to those who think it is better. The trouble is that people who think it is better probably cannot afford it. When prices get lower, I'll buy a big OLED, but it will not be curved.

Two issues -

  1. In our viewing room the monitor is more than 15 feet away from the viewer.  At that distance a 60" monitor would be curved only 10 degrees - enough to make the monitor difficult to mount but hardly enough of a curve to provide "properly focused light" or an "emmersive experience".
  2. At most, one person can enjoy the purported benefits of this viewing experience.  If a couple is watching a movie then neither is at the exact optimal location no matter how close they sit.

I've been waiting for OLED TVs since I first heard about the possibility in the 1990s. I've followed their excruciatingly slow progress to market, thinking every year that they were just around the corner. Now they're here, and from all reports are everything I thought they'd be in terms of picture quality. The only thing holding me back from getting one at this point, besides price, is that both LG and Samsung have chosen to use curved screens on their initial models. What were they thinking? If I wanted something that only worked for one viewer at a time, I'd get a head mounted display, instead of a 60" screen. Maybe by the time prices come down, they'll have come to their senses, and be offering something that works in the real world.

And the naysayer infestation continues. What a bunch of losers.

I for one can't wait for a user-flexible (User-flex? New meme?) 21:9 8K full spec UHD display to replace my tiny 7680x1440 3x WQHD surround display setup. No stupid window panes and a nice smooth curve.

The description provided by the people is not for them to "re-think" their business model as you said.  Their business model was developed by running many scitific experiments and knowing what will work best.  The explanation is for the viewers to understand why one __may__ feel better over the other one.  Of course, at the end it is user's choice to go with flat or curved.  However, there are users that like to figure out what's the difference between a curved and flat - I feel this was for those people and not to convince people of anything.

Geomatrically (and I am sure I will hear a whole lot about it just about now), the shortest distance is almost always preferred because that gives you a better viewing experience.  We as human being can definitely see things that are close to us than things that are at a larger distance.  So, a curve creates that shortest distance and keeps the viewer at a constant length from the object, which provides a good experience for the viewer.

Your question at the end is also a good one.  I'd also love to know about an optimal distance.  But I think that's really a viewer's call based on many different factors - 

  • Price of the TV
  • Size of the TV
  • Size of the room
  • Where you want to place your couch / chair to watch TV
  • What's your mood on a particular sunday when you wanna watch Giant that could be different from watching Packers

How would you go about figureing out an optimal distance for a TV.  Mathematically you could come up with an optimal distance for a TV, but some other person like yourself might just want to go with what they feel.  So, while mathematically there is an optimal distance, yet that will be different from one person to another person based on their vision capacity.

Curve like a flexed muscle.  I like the look of a flexed muscle...

The Curve OLED can do this...at least future iterations should be able to...curve when you want, flat at other times.  So you have the feature and choice when you want it. 

It's a great feature. 

H8rz, epic mee-meez - how about you come back when you're a big boy. You probably own a 17" BENQ monitor and watch everything thorugh your PC or other eye raping compromise.

Curved screens possibly can fill your periphery and are great if you have one cinema or even wall sized ... or enjoy having your nose to the 55" glass. The rest is marketron drivel (a little bit of science, a lot of bull crap).

OLED out-classes Plasma and LED in contrast and viewing angle - two things that actually matter if you're not a lone in a small dark room. Thin, big OELD screens will sell themselves on those merits and price drop from mass production. Not pointless curviture.

And if you do not sit exactly in the center but instead on the right side, the right panel side is curved away from you so it is much more distorted for you then! This way it is only ideal for ONE viewer at a time right in the center of it! And the second disadvantage about curved display is, that flat lines turn curved aswell! Since the corners are closer to you than the middle part, lines are distorted now instead of truly flat! Curved is such a bullshit I can't believe it that they produced such a crap...


To me curved displays are good only with head mounted devices, where they can show their true potential.

Give me a curved head mounted device and I'll buy one.

Typical Korean design mentality.  Make the product and launch without real market testing.  If I'm spending premium dollars for an OLED display there are two things I'm expecting. Thin depth and fantastic picutre quality.  Curving the display adds to the overall depth and does not benefit picture quality unless everyone is sitting exactly at centre of the curved radius.  Thin is more important.  The idea of hanging your TV on your wall like a picture frame the most attractive feature of OLED TV. Somewhere the Korean engineering leadership has lost their way. "Look what I can do.." has overtaken the market primary needs.  Focus on flat TV that can hang on the wall using a piano wire (like a picture) and its a winner.  Invest in a design that enables power and signal connectivity without adding depth. Forget curved...... waste of time.

Well said!

What we need or want at the end of the day is a good quality image matt flat screen that does not RELECT the people watching and surroundings. Good black colur and fluidity of movement.

A good speaker(s) helps. Down to good basics is the key methinks.

Thank you all.

All those factors you cite about optimal distance are true for flat screens,  but not for curved screens.


The explanation from LG makes it clear:  The curved screens are designed for one (or one couple) to sit and watch optimally,  and only if they have their room set up to sit in one specific,  optimal spot.    So....    It turns upside down the old methods of choosing a TV.  Instead of setting up a living room in the best way possible for your own living,   you buy a TV,  then measure out where to put the couch,  and then put everything else around that.


Furthermore, it's the particular curve of the TV is what determines that optimal spot. 

Looking at the curves on these units, it seems that optimal position is relatively close to the screen so if you have a largish living room then it's unlikely that *anyone* will get that optimal veiwing. 

And heaven help people who're sitting too far to one side.   Or people who have multiple spots that they like to sit in,  depending on what's on or what else is going on.   

I'd LOVE to buy a new OLED TV, the picture looks fantastic, but this curved nonsense is just silly. I want it thin and flat so I can mount it on the wall. Curved is nothing but a gimmick, we spent decades trying to make TVs as flat as possible and now they're curving it the other way just to get a novel appearance.