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The curve is the key: How television manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of smart viewing

TV manufacturers turn to new display technologies as they try to ward off growing competition from rivals

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 July, 2015, 9:46am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 5:33pm

TV manufacturers are looking for new ways to attract buyers and develop new display technologies that go way beyond traditional television, as they try to repel growing competition from smartphones, laptops and tablets.

In April, Samsung released a line of curved screen products, Curved UHD TVs, taking the first steps in the “curved” trend in the sector.

“Samsung is pretty much at the forefront of developing new technologies and a leader in the TV market,” says Amy Cameron, consumer electronics analyst at BMI Research. “Since the TV market has been in decline in the past few years, developers are looking at different ways to boost their profitability, and curved screen and other display technologies are parts of it.”

Unlike flat-panel TVs, Samsung curved screens deliver higher contrast and reduce reflection and interference of external light for clearer pictures. Samsung says curved screens have helped it solidify its position as the world’s top TV manufacturer for the ninth straight year. A 37 per cent share of the UHD TV market helped. More growth may be in the offing. Three new series of SUHD TVs JS9900, JS9800 and JS8000 are available in four screen sizes from 55-inch to 88–inch, with different TV frame designs, delivering an immersive viewing experience.

“What’s most exciting is that Curved UHD TVs drove more than 50 per cent of all UHD TV sales in most regions including North America and Europe,” says Samsung Electronics HK. “As more consumers are choosing Curved UHD TVs, other manufacturers are following suit ... we are confident that the curved TV market will expand even further in 2015.”

Samsung’s proprietary technology Optimal Curvature (4200R) is key. Samsung’s curved screen fits the shape of human eyes for optimal comfort because every part of the curved screen is the same distance from users, the curved screen offers a uniform viewing experience while minimising image distortions on each side of the screen areas. The TVs also have auto depth enhancer that gives a greater feeling of depth and adjusts the background area, front area and background field.

The company says it has “been endeavouring to develop innovative products and offer  choices that can truly benefit our users”.

The new SUHD TV from Samsung Electronics leaps into the future of viewing experience.

“It is innovative in every way – delivering superior picture quality, with stunning contrast, striking brightness, spectacular colour and superb UHD detail, all housed in a stylish curved design,” Samsung says.

Besides the curved screen, the new Samsung TV has eco-friendly nano-crystal technology, intelligent SUHD re-mastering picture quality engine, and the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLU) technology.

The new user interface of Samsung’s Smart Hub provides tailored content and recommendations and Samsung SMART TVs can automatically recognise the company’s smartphones via Bluetooth to share content. A Morning Briefing function that provides information from a smartphone on the TV may prove popular.

Samsung is determined to expand its Curved UHD TV line-up and work to make curved screens mainstream.

“We have presented a new paradigm in the premium market through the introduction of the SUHD TV and the expansion of our Curved TV line-up … in 2015, we will focus on the premium products in the market,” Samsung says.

This could happen, but not without some risk.

“TV manufacturers come up with different technologies and see which catch on with consumers,” Cameron says. “For example, the 3D TVs versus HD TVs both came out and HD TVs gained more traction.”

While giving the same added value, HD TVs are easier for broadcasters to adapt to, so they became more popular.

“There will also be other technologies that will shape the development of the TV market, more 4K TVs and advanced display technologies that the customers will feel more added value than the curved screen,” Cameron says.

Japanese company Sharp Corporation introduced a new ultrahigh-definition television in March. It promises to convert images to a more detailed 8K resolution, up from the standard 4K, with the help of complex graphics rendering algorithms.

Content providers around the world are working to adapt to the new technologies. Netflix has been working with TV manufacturers to provide better viewing experiences and easier access for customers.

Leading consumer electronic brands,  such as LG, Panasonic, Sony, Hisense and TCL, have devised TVs that fit better with Netflix, which means consumers can have faster app launch, app resume and video playback, and easy access with the Netflix button, the latest version of Netflix and the newest features.