Last Year: Samsung Pushes The Hell Out of Curved TVs
It's no coincidence that the best flatscreen released in 2014 — LG's 55-inch OLED TV — wasn't actually flat. That model's subtle curve genuinely reduced reflections and screen glare, and further boosted the already stunning contrast levels that come with organic light emitting diode technology (OLED). But it was Samsung that tried to more fully identify itself with curved displays, with a veritable media blitz of commercials that either focused on that aspect, or at least showcased it within a larger pitch that included 4K resolution. Various TV spots aired throughout the year, though the most memorable was probably the one that stitched together scenes from classic movies, as their characters seemed overcome with awe at the new displays. That ad was directed by Rian Johnson, who's now slated to direct the second and third of the new trilogy of Star Wars movies. When it came to establishing its brand as synonymous with curved TVs, Samsung was not playing around.
This Year: While LG Pushes OLEDs, the Curve Conquers All
As of early 2015, LG is the only major TV-maker producing big screen OLEDs. In fact, the company is betting bigger than over on the technology, expanding from a single viable model in 2014 to an entire lineup this year. OLED is still far from a sure thing, in terms of widespread adoption — market realities, rather than technical flaws, could easily push it into the same tar pits that subsumed plasma TVs. Curved TVs, on the other hand, are now everywhere, with LG, Samsung, and Sony all selling or planning to sell concave models, and presenting the design as synonymous with premium-quality HD and ultra HD sets. The curve even made it into one of the most exciting new phones of 2015, LG's G Flex 2. What may have seemed like a gimmick last year is now looking like the next step in the evolution of the TV screen, which started with bulbous CRTs, progressed to window-like flatscreens, and is now closer to the wraparound contours of a movie theater screen.