Inside the Design: Everything about the Curved UHD TVShare open/close
Samsung has never shied away from bold designs and groundbreaking new products. This January, Samsung Electronics unveiled the new Curved UHD TVs. With a screen that seems to hover in the air that offers a more immersive experience, the Curved UHD TVs can also be perceived purely as ‘a visually appealing object’ even when not in use. The curved TV has a three-dimensional effect that is aesthetically beautiful at any angle. Not surprisingly, the design of it has a lot to do with this. With the help of two designers engaged in this project, here is everything you need to know about the design of Samsung’s first Curved UHD TV.
Overall Design Concept: One Design
‘One Design’ is a design philosophy that unifies various highly advanced components and features of the television with simplicity and a natural yet attractive aesthetic, ultimately leading to a better user experience.
Therefore, it not only needs to be visually attractive, but also provide quality user experience. ‘User experience‘ for TVs is the end to end ‘watching experience’ — arriving at home, seeing a TV in the living room, perceiving a part of it, operating this part and finally turning it on. All of this is included in what ‘User Experience’ defines and it is carefully considered in the design planning process. In this respect, the Curved UHD TV presented special challenges because of its multi-dimensional direction of perception.
TVs before had tended to offer a flat, passive experience. However, with the Curved UHD TVs, through the multisensory experience from UHD screen and quality sound, it offers an experience that completely involves the viewer in the program; you are in it, not just looking at it.
So let’s dissect the design of the Curved UHD TV to see how this was realized.
Why is it ‘Curved’ ?
For ages, we’ve had flat screens, and have grown accustomed to them. Risking this total unfamiliarity, why did Samsung curve the screen?
“In order to maximize the viewer’s immersion on the screen, we thought of human eyes.” said Sungjin Ann, Principal Designer, Visual Display at Samsung Electronics. “A curved screen, concave-shaped just like the eyes, could be a solution to minimize the distortion created in a flat screen. Since its screen has the same curvature with the eye’s surface, a curved TV has the same viewing angle throughout the whole screen, which greatly increases the immersion of viewers.”
The Curved UHD TV is designed after the curvature of human eyes. However, the curvature was calculated more carefully than just borrowing the concept.
According to the consumer research conducted by Samsung, the average living room size in North America and Europe is about 16 x 16 ft. (4.87 x 4.87m). That is, the actual watching distance is around 3 to 4 meters and it was discovered that the figure of 4200 radius can deliver the best immersion to the audience. Therefore, the curved screen has the curvature ‘4200R‘.
Ultimately, this curvature lessens the distortion that occurs from the difference of the viewing angle between the viewer’s eyes and the existing flat screen, which results in the ultimate immersive viewing experience.
According to Taeheon Kim, Designer, Visual Display at Samsung Electronics, this design concept is not only applied to the screen but also to most of the major parts, such as the stand, sound bezel and the back.
Design of the ‘Aero Stand’ and the ‘Sound Bezel’
The construction of the stand, named ‘Aero Stand‘, utilizes a metal texture quite different from the black screen, so that this contrast makes the screen appear to be hovering in the air.
Replacing the neck with a T-shaped stand at the back panel, the ‘Aero Stand’, decreases its disruptive presence of the neck and space. Plus, the stand’s metal surface and the screen’s black texture create an effective contrast so that the screen seems like it is floating. By eliminating elements other than the screen, it helps with pure immersion. “At the same time, this concept of a ‘floating stand‘ is a strategic design to satisfy expectations of premium customers.” says Sungjin Ann.
The ‘Sound Bezel‘ is designed to reflect the sound and effectively deliver straight to the audience, minimizing the loss of sound. The sound comes out of the 3mm gap of the bottom of the bezel. This ‘sound bezel’ reflects the sound that the existing down-firing speaker would lose and directs it straight to the viewers. In addition, the speakers arranged along with the curve of the bottom bring the sound together in one place, which becomes a ‘sweet spot‘ where you can experience the best sound.
In particular, one of the most distinctive features is actually in the back of the TV. Normally, there are too many connectors in the back, which has always been unsightly. However, the curved TV implemented ‘One-Connect,’ where all the cables are brought together through one connected jack box. With this consideration, even the back looks very simple and refined.
Materials, Techniques and Details
The frame that covers the screen is made up of metallic materials. Metal is a material that is pure and solid enough to express premium value. It is being used widely in Samsung’s premium TV line-up. Depending on how the detailed texture of the metal is expressed, the product’s quality can be very different.
To maximize this metallic texture, this model uses a ‘brushed hairline technique’. A hand-etched hairline pattern is designed to give a more natural feel to the metal texture, which can be seen on the metallic surface of the stand. And the stand and its hairline pattern are also curved with the same curvature of 4200R.
With all these combined considerations, the curved UHD TV is definitely an ‘all-rounder’ in terms of design. Everything was designed carefully and scientifically, but with the viewer in mind. The curvature and the design of the Curved UHD TV is not for its premium look, although it is quite fascinating just to look at. The priority of its design is ‘people’.
The designers and Samsung Tomorrow had a great time talking about the design of the Curved UHD TV. They were very proud and passionate about the project. So after the ‘interview’ we asked them some personal questions (still business related, of course.)
According to Taeheon Kim and Sungjin Ann, the most challenging part of designing the Curved UHD TV was, basically, everything about it.
“There were a lot of challenges. First of all, this model is a combination of ‘curved’ screen and ‘4K Ultra HD‘ (four times the resolution of Full HD). So it was technically a hard job. Plus, with respect to the design, finding an ideal curvature was another task. Communication with developers is important as well. Through all of this I tried to make this model to be literally a perfect one.”
“In order to be well-adapted for customer’s use, we had a lot more simulation processes than before. We seriously gave much thought on this matter. So this is what we’ve cared the most for perfectly preparing the creation of Curved UHD TV — TV’s paradigm shift.” – Taeheon Kim –
“Curved UHD TV is the best quality lineup of the year. Giving it the relevant class was one of the hardest things. Furthermore, we put in a lot of effort to get positive responses against the unfamiliarity of the curved screen. For this, we highlighted the simplicity of curved lines and built its unique identity with the floating concept of Aero Stand as well.” – Sungjin Ann –
As designers, we were also curious about what they think of TVs.
“An indirect experience? Through TV, you can go where you can’t. And, you laugh and cry watching dramas, I think, which means the best immersion. Plus, TV is a window that connects you to the world. You get to know what is happening in the world watching it. Sometimes it is like a textbook. And it also is a best friend who makes you feel alone when s/he’s not around you.” – Sungjin Ann –
“I think, if you purchase it at a high price like a car, it has to be something you would like to put in the middle of the living room, feeling very proud of having it. Even though its design is quite simple, its presence could give you great satisfaction.” – Taeheon Kim –
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