Samsung has just launched their most exciting new TV’s for 2014 – their curved series of LED and Ultra HD LED TVs. The Samsung H8000 and HU9000 sets are fantastic displays with a lot of excellent extra features in addition to the curved profile. For a more detailed description, check out my previous post outlining everything they have to offer. The curved profile gives them a striking look that makes them very unique. But does the curved design mean you have to confine this beautiful TV to a stand on a shelf or table? Or can you mount this beauty on the wall? What is the best option?
Curves are Beautiful
As a guy, I am always appreciative of curves – even in TVs. The curved screen, in my opinion makes for a strikingly attractive TV, which is probably not a big surprise. The other beautiful aspect of the curved screen is that it creates some subtle improvements in the quality of the picture. This curved screen does this in a number of ways. There is less distortion at the outside edges, there is a more even distribution of light on the screen, and a reduction of ambient light reflection, which improves the contrast and colour purity.
The best movie theatres have curved screens so it is no surprise to see this concept come to the home as yet another improvement to the home theatre experience. In addition to the curve, Samsung has a number of other technological improvements to the H8000 and HU9000 series to make them even better. Things like: Auto Depth Enhancer, which improves the contrast and depth of the picture even more; Wide Colour Enhancer Plus for improved colours; and a Multi-Link capability for multi-tasking on the screen. My recent post describes in more detail all the fine attributes of these new curved TVs.
Setting up those Curves
With the curved screen, does it present a challenge if you want to mount it on the wall? Fortunately, the curve on the Samsung H8000 and HU9000 does not need to be very big to provide the benefits mentioned above. It is definitely noticeable but it isn’t big enough that the TV can’t be mounted on the wall. In fact, both the H8000 and HU9000 series come with simple spacers that allow you to wall mount it using any regular VESA standard wall mounting bracket.
So a decision is whether to use the TV stand that comes with it or mount it on the wall. I have always been a big proponent of wall mounting your TV if you have the right space for it. There are four reasons I believe it is better – safety, size, aesthetics, and flexibility.
Wall mounting is safer for the TV and for any children that you might have in your home. The Samsung H8000 and HU9000 have stands that are specially designed to accommodate the curves. Placed on the stand makes a very attractive combination, but the stand is still susceptible to be knocked over by a ambitious vacuum cleaner, a passionate hockey fan, or a rambunctious child. This can damage the set and possibly injure a child. A study in the US discovered that over 380,000 kids have been injured between 1990 and 2011 by falling flat screen TVs.
Wall mounting your TV is also aesthetically a lot nicer as it provides a cleaner look that is also more out of the way. An added benefit is that it will allow for a larger TV (as long as you have the wall space) because you have maximized the viewing distance by putting it right on the wall. If you are wondering what I mean about viewing distance, Christine has a great post explaining how to determine the best viewing distance. The Samsung H8000 and HU9000 series come in 55” and 65” models, which are nice and big so wall mounting is a great option to optimize the viewing distance.
If you get a wall mount with an articulating arm you can also maximize the flexibility of positioning the TV. The curved TV is absolutely at its best when you are directly facing the center of the TV, which isn’t always possible depending the layout of your room. The articulating arm gives you full control so you can optimize the direction relative to where you are sitting.
Wall mounting isn’t always possible, so using the TV stand is still a great option, especially with the curved Samsungs because the design is still very striking with the stand.
One of the best improvements introduced by Samsung is their One Connect Box (pictured at left), which is only available with the Ultra High Definition HU9000 series. The One Connect Box accomplishes a few things in that it makes setup of the TV much easier, eliminates clutter around the TV, and is upgradeable as technology changes. The One Connect Box allows you to update the TV with the latest Samsung software and features. Also, since 4K UHD technology is relatively new standards can change and the box will be adaptable to the next generation of improvements.
Although Samsung’s H8000 series doesn’t come with the One Connect Box, there are ample connections in the back with 4 HDMI and 3 USB ports in addition to the component, composite, Ethernet, and optical audio output. I like the fact that these connections face sideways rather than directly backwards so it is much easier to wall mount the TV or make changes at any time.
Samsung’s curved TVs have the maximum benefit when you are directly facing the centre of the screen. The same can be said for flat screen TV’s, so they are no different in that regard. Therefore when placing the TV you should essentially try to centre the seating arrangement with the TV. It doesn’t mean everyone needs to be right in the centre, as that is next to impossible. What it does mean is you should try to reduce the viewing angle as much as possible. The nice thing about the curved TVs, especially in smaller rooms with shorter viewing distances, is that the viewing angle is wider than in flat screen TVs. The farther you are away from the curved TV the viewing angle gets closer to being the same as a flat panel.
All said, placement doesn’t need to be a scientific process with curved or with flat screen TVs. Common sense should prevail. Simply place and position the TV so the seating is generally centered with the TV as much as possible. Use of a flexible articulating wall mount can help you accomplish this when the wall space you have doesn’t really accommodate a well-centered arrangement with the TV.