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Learn to love the curve: Research predicts 6 million curved TVs to ship in 2017

Just when it seemed the flatscreen had become the new standard style of television, the technology of tomorrow began veering back into curved territory, though admittedly in a new direction. We can now expect the number of curved LED and OLED TVs available in the market to drastically increase over the next few years — curved TV display shipments are forecast to reach nearly 800,000 units by the end of 2014 and exceed 6 million by the end of 2017, according to research by NPD’s DisplaySearch. The report also explores major TV brands’ “ramping up” of OLED, 4K and other relatively newer technologies in an attempt to scrape together more sales in a declining market.

2011 was the global TV market’s peak year — shipments and revenues have been dwindling since. As a result, TV makers are hoping to diversify and expand the market’s value in any way they can. Curved TV offers an entirely new niche in which to invest and differentiate. According to DisplaySearch’s research, the curved technology is expected to reach its peak in LCD TVs in 2016. But by that point, OLED – a technology plagued by significant manufacturing problems - likely will have rolled out more completely and become less expensive, providing a potential boost to curved TV shipments in 2017.

According to a head researcher for DisplaySearch, even if the curved fad’s popularity fades by 2018, it will have served its particular purpose: to differentiate new high-end models and thus increase overall value in the global television market.

Companies are also finding new advancements in content delivery – such as Netflix’s recent addition of 4K/Ultra-HD streaming support - to be convincing enough evidence to justify expansion in the Ultra-HD TV category. Shipments of UHD TVs are forecast to exceed 12 million units in 2014, rising to 62 million in 2017.

Are you a proponent of curved or 4K/Ultra-HD TVs? Are you willing to shell out the extra chunk of change to bring one home this year, or will you wait until they become more practical, affordable options? Let us know in the comment box below.