Why Samsung's 2017 curved screen onslaught is a step backwards for TV lovers

After I declared the era of curved TVs to be over at this year’s CES, Samsung has now announced that it has no intention of leaving the form-factor behind and will be releasing a total of 22 more curved sets as part of its 2017 lineup. 

Granted, at CES Samsung was the only manufacturer to show off any curved sets at all after both LG and Sony stuck to offering flat screens, but I’m nevertheless surprised that they’re releasing quite as many sets as they are.

Confusing popularity 

I’ve never really understood the appeal of curved TVs. Over the years televisions have gotten thinner and thinner, meaning they take up less space despite their screen sizes having gotten impressively big. 

Although the technology and manufacturing processes behind them are impressive, curved TVs negate this progress almost entirely, and cause them to take up more space than they need to. 

As well as taking up more space, they negatively intensify reflections off the screen, and their viewing angles tend to be worse than conventional flat sets. 

And for what? A more immersive viewing experience for those who are willing to sit uncomfortably close to their large televisions.

But it turns out I might be in the minority with my dislike for curved sets. According to Samsung demand for curved sets has increased by over 20% year on year, although this doesn’t explain why competing manufacturers would all kill off the form-factor. 

I tend to see curved TVs as a mid-point in our journey towards truly flexible displays that we’ll one day be able to roll up and store when not in use. Research and development money needs to be spent to get there, and curved TVs make sense as a means of recouping some of that cost before the technology fully matures. 

Regardless, if you’re someone that’s after a curved TV then it looks like Samsung is going to be your only option for the foreseeable future, and thankfully the manufacturer isn’t skimping on its support.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.