Curved ultra-high definition TV aims to be easy on the eye
THE world's first Curved UHD TV has gone on sale from Samsung.
If you've not had cause to Buy a new TV in recent days, then all this might need a brief gloss: UHD is short for Ultra High Definition, also known as 4K, and is, apparently, the coming thing for TVs.
No, really; not the coming thing like 3D was (because who wants to watch TV wearing glasses?) but the actual coming thing.
TV images getting sharper and more realistic is something we can all understand and UHD - also known as 4K - is what's going to do it.
At a resolution of 3840 x 2160, 4K screens have four times the pixels of full HD screens and they look astonishing - just like the real world instead of, you know, TV.
The problem is that, right now, there isn't much to watch in native 4K resolution but as we'll see, there are ways round this.
Now, how about curved? The 55-inch screen is concave. It's easy to understand what this is, but why it's a good thing is trickier. After all, flat works fine.
The curve is gentle and not unattractive. Some film industry experts say it works best because it follows the natural curvature of the eye and, after all, cinema screens have a little curve to them too. Still, it does look a little unusual, especially when mounted on a wall.
Andy Griffiths is the first president of Samsung UK and Ireland who isn't a Korean. An Englishman with considerable charm and the salesman's gift for straightforward talk, Griffiths is passionate about his company's products.
"We're launching curved TV because it's the next stage of how people can enhance their viewing experience," Griffiths said.
"And there's a couple of key elements behind that. The curvature, which matches the sort of experience people are more used to in the cinema, gives you a more immersive experience and that's broadly because that's the way the human eye absorbs images more comfortably.
"And I think the combination's key here because, with the UHD signal, it allows you to access much bigger screen sizes. So 55-inch and 65-inch are becoming more ubiquitous screen sizes."
This last point makes sense: the increased resolution of UHD means it's better to sit closer to the TV than before.
"Curved makes even more sense because, with that high-resolution image, then whether it's sport or film, these TVs really will be the way to get the best out of that fantastic content," Griffiths said
It's certainly easy on the eye, especially if you sit dead centre, though viewing angles are uniformly excellent and, of course, the 4K resolution helps.
This TV isn't cheap, but considering that the price of most UHD sets a year ago was over $45,000, this is more competitive; with the 65-inch model costing $7300, and the 55-inch starting at around $3600.
These are TVs that people will live with for many years," Griffiths said.
"Of course, technology is famous for being a little bit chicken and egg between the content and the devices, but our devices are ready and more and more content is coming so we're offering that full facility from today."