LG, Samsung Want Curved, Ultra-Wide Monitors To Be The It Thing For 2015

LGShoppers who got a shiny new ultra-HD 4K TV this year may feel like they’re on top of the tech trends, but that’s so 2014. There is, of course, something new on the horizon. 2015 looks primed to be the year of curves: not just for your home-theater TV, but for your PC.

That’s what LG and Samsung are betting, at least. Both companies are showing a bunch of big, wide, curved, super high-res monitors at CES in Las Vegas next week, and the internet is aflutter.

Basically, the new ultra-wide curved monitors are basically a scaled-down cinema. If a wide-aspect, 50-foot curved movie screen 50 feet in front of you makes things look good in the theater, then a wide-aspect, 34-inch curved monitor three feet in front of you should make things look good at home and in the office.

Both Samsung and LG are making the 34″ screens with a 21:9 aspect ratio and 3440 x 1440 resolution — that’s not quite up to 4K (3840 x 2160), but sharper than “regular” HD (1920 x 1080).

What we think of as the now-standard, ubiquitous 1080p HD aspect ratio is 16:9, or about 1.78:1. So an HD TV that’s 18 inches high will be 32 inches wide. Most TV is shot at that aspect ratio now, and movies are either somewhat cropped (“optimized”) to fit the screen or shown with letterboxing at the top and bottom.

The ultra-wide monitors being sold are all a 21:9 aspect ratio, or about 2.33:1. That’s much closer to the way big blockbusters are filmed and displayed — movies like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and all of the Marvel superhero films are 2.35:1, for example.

Samsung also has a smaller (27″) version as part of an all in one PC, while LG’s can be stacked together.

Of course, the major trend in personal computing as we march through the second decade of the 21st century isn’t big desktop rigs. It’s miniaturized personalization: everything you need and want on a 5-inch screen in your purse or pocket. So if most shoppers are out looking at phones and tablets, what customers are LG and Samsung targeting?

There are apparently two major groups who still buy monitors. PC gamers are predictably one, and the high-powered homebrew gaming market is definitely a target audience for bigger, better screens. The Verge even calls the LG screen “tailor-made for gamers,” because it includes adaptive display technology designed to eliminate stutters, screen tearing, and other unpleasant artifacts. The tech isn’t new, but LG is the first company to announce it in a 21:9 monitor.

The other audience? Stockbrokers. They’re the folks who like to be surrounded by as much flowing information as possible, Matrix-style, and LG thinks that piling up a whole wall of these would make the high-speed money-movers feel right at home.

That said, the stockbrokers might be able to pick one up before the gamers can. Neither company’s 34″ monitor has a price point or an availability date attached — they’re expected to mention those details at CES in Las Vegas next week — but an older version of the LG screen currently runs close to $1300.

Team Consumerist (or half of the team, at any rate) will be on hand in Las Vegas to look at these and other shiny new gadgets and report back if they (literally and metaphorically) stack up.

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