I just returned from the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, and it was hard to miss in the Central Hall the theme of curved TVs. Hollywood director Michael Bay had a now-famous meltdown at the all-important Samsung press conference when his teleprompter went down as he was supposed to be selling the virtues of Samsung's new 105-inch curved UHD TV. Without a script, even Bay couldn't explain why we need a curved HDTV; however, at many booths, this was the new trend.
The people who do booth tours for press at CES have a tough job, in that there are hundreds of press people who are brimming with loaded questions and one wrong statement can start a trending concept on Twitter or worse. I asked many of the people who were kind enough to show Adrienne and I around the big booths (and yes, you do need a booth tour, as they are just that big and wide-reaching) as to why the new HDTVs were curved. They talked about "how immersive" the image is with a curved set. They talked about a better sweet spot for more viewers in a traditional living room. They had lots of talking points - none of which I could really understand and see the benefits of.
First of all, OLED was sadly not the story that I wanted it to be at CES. Plasma is pretty much gone or being phased out, which will sadden the traditionalist writers. A time will soon come when LED/LCD sets are all that we have to choose from, as the few OLED HDTVs in the market today are relatively small and definitely expensive compared with LCD options. OLED is going to be a 2015 topic; and, based on what we've seen in early reviews and measurements, there is a lot to be excited about OLED. The technology makes for an ultra-bright image that also has deep better-than-plasma blacks, while using little power and offering incredibly thin form factors. The potential is off the charts for OLED, but that doesn't help you much if you are in the market for an HDTV right now. Tens of millions of people will be in that boat before we make it back to Sin City in 2015 for yet another CES.
Click on over to page 2 for on the trouble with the curve . . .