When you are competing on a global market of millions of consumers, it helps to have a gimmick or two up your sleeve. The big names in consumer electronics again tried to outdo each other at this year’s IFA electronics show in Berlin with the latest and greatest in TVs.
Five years ago, it was all about 3D, then OLED TVs stole the show, before 4K and curved TV sets hit the market.
This year, it’s bendable.
So what do these screens have that others don’t?
“The advantage is obvious because the visual effects really fill the room. Normally, if you sit in front of your television, you focus on what’s at the centre of the screen. But with a curved screen, you can better focus on what is on the left and on the right of the screen,” explained Alexander Krüger of LG Electronics Home Entertainment division.
Both Samsung and LG have TVs that have been enabled with motors that move the display panel from the conventional flat position into one that is curved toward the viewer.
From a purely technical point of view, it is an impressive feat, with screens fabricated on glass so thin it can be bent without disastrous consequences.
But does a curved or bendable TV really offer a better picture?
“The screen has to be large, at least 55 inches. Any smaller and the curves won’t have any effect. Secondly, it only works if you are sitting right in front of the screen, where you feel you’re embedded in the picture. If you’re watching TV in a group, those on the edges feel they get a warped view,” said Georg Schnurer of computer technology magazine c’t.
Japan’s Toshiba had several prototypes on show, many of which hint at what the future might hold. Novelties include a Smart TV installed in your bathroom mirror. Connected to your digital watch, it can give you the weather forecast, remind you about your daily appointments, and even act as a personal trainer, watching over your calorie intake and suggesting a daily workout menu.