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Curved screen TVs expected to quickly flatten out

Lucas Mearian | May 30, 2014
Curved TVs are mostly gimmicks that don't provide a better viewing experience, analysts say

The global TV market reached a peak in 2011, and after two straight years of declines in shipments and revenues, manufacturers are exploring other avenues to revitalize the market, including OLED displays, UHD displays and curved screens, analysts said.

Although widely promoted, OLED TVs still face significant manufacturing problems and at best only 100,000 will ship this year, with annual shipments exceeding a million only in 2016, according to DisplaySearch.

According to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report, curved TV display shipments will reach nearly 800,000 units this year and are expected to exceed 6 million units by the end of 2017.

"Curved TV is a design differentiator that is expected to reach its peak in LCD TVs in 2016, and growing shipments of OLED TVs are forecast to boost curved TV shipments in 2017," DisplayResearch stated in its report.

60 inches is the new 50 inches
The size of TV screens is also increasing, according to Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

"It's safe to say 60-inch screens are the new 50-inch," Koenig said. "Sixty-five and 75-inch TVs used to be the exception. Now they're the standard."

Shipments of TVs under 40 inches in size are rapidly shrinking, Koenig said, while larger screen sizes of 45 inches to 60 inches are expected to grow from 24% today to 33% in 2017.

For now, LCD TVs will continue to dominate the landscape, as fewer plasma sets are produced. Plasma is expected to fade out by 2017. That same year, OLED screens are expected to gain some limited traction, but by that time, LCD will have leaped from 94% market penetration today to 92% in 2017, Koenig said.

Even with almost four times the resolution of today's 1080p flat screens, only about 500,000 UHD-TVs are expected to sell in the U.S. this year, according to the CEA. Next year, that number is expected to more than double to 1.25 million.

While curved screen TVs are expected to exceed 6 million, they aren't expected to last.

"The novelty of curved screens is expected to wear off with time, leading to shipments peaking and then trailing off," Gray said.

"If you are a lone viewer wanting to sit close to your curved 60-inch TV, then it is going to be an absorbing video experience," O'Donovan added. "But in the average home, the benefits of the curved screen are questionable and the drawbacks tangible."


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