Gaming Monitors Could Help Save the Curved Screen Market
Let’s be real for a minute. The curved screen TV is not worth all of the hype. They’re just another gimmick. While some TV companies have been investing heavily in the space for a number of years, consumers have been incredibly slow to scoop these curved displays up.
And even those who have bought into the gimmick end up hating themselves for it.
Data is already starting to show the decline of the curved TV market. According to IHS, curved TVs are expected to reach their peak this year before ultimately decreasing down the road. Market share of curved TVs is expected to hit 4.9 percent in 2017, and then fall off to 3 percent by 2020. Ultimately, the curved TV is likely to go the way of the 3D TV set eventually and just cease to exist.
But while the curved TV appears to be on the way out, the gaming industry is stepping up to provide a new, better, and more meaningful platform for the curved display.
To be clear, 3D TV is was a gimmicky technology that served no purpose whatsoever and deserved the slow and awful death that it received. Curved displays are an entirely different story in that, given the proper treatment, they can greatly improve the user experience. It’s just that the television was not the right application for the technology.
Curved TVs were supposed to provide this immersive experience, but in the end the technology had almost the opposite effect. The curved display actually decreased the viewing angle and created a “sweet spot” directly in front of the TV—something that didn’t translate well to a product that is supposed to serve as the centerpiece of a social setting.
But if you take that idea—the single-person sweet spot—and move it over to a computer monitor, now we’re talking about a completely different kind of experience. Combine the curve with the ultra-wide monitors that have emerged in this market, and the curved monitor takes on an entirely different look and feel.
Short of strapping on a VR headset, there’s nothing that can replicate the immersive experience that an ultra wide curved monitor provides to the user. We experienced it at CES walking from the LG booth over to Samsung, down at the Razer booth, and elsewhere around the show floor. They all varied slightly in their design, but the more you sit in front of a curved monitor, the more you realize that it actually makes sense.
If you think of any first-person shooter out there—playing a game like Counter Strike, for example, on a standard monitor, the field of vision gets crammed and condensed down to a tight, narrow field. But if you replace that monitor with an ultra-wide curved display, now you’re talking about a true cinema-like aspect, which greatly opens that field of vision making it almost true-to-life. Beyond that, it immerses the user in new ways. Forget being able to quickly glance from one corner of the screen to the other. With a curved display, your head has to be on a swivel, which might sound uncomfortable or not enjoyable, but it’s those nuances that really up the quality of the gaming experience.
The curved monitor market can extend beyond just the standard desktop monitor, believe it or not. As we saw at IFA 2016 last Fall, Acer introduced the Predator 21 X gaming laptop (above), which comes equipped with a 21-inch curved monitor.
So don’t feel too bad about the fate of the curved TV. It was a product that served its purpose. It introduced the consumer to the curved display. But we came to realize that it wasn’t a good fit—like, at all. It just took a little help from the gaming industry to move things in the right direction.