Curved TVs, according to Samsung at least, are the next big thing. We're not so sure about that, but if the 78-inch U9000 is a demonstration of what they can do, we might just be open to the idea.
Samsung has, as usual, paid attention to the U9000's design. The 78-inch, curved Ultra HD LCD panel is surrounded by a thin piano black bezel, and the stand is appropriately curved, with the same small 'UHD' logo on the edge that we're starting to see pop up on other Samsung 4K devices.
That little logo means that the U9000 has a screen resolution of 3840x2160 pixels -- it's technically Quad Full HD rather than genuine Ultra HD, but it's a minor detail. In any case, this particular TV can display four times the detail of a Full HD screen, and when you're watching from only a couple of metres away, the difference is clear to see. 1080p content still looks good, but watch a 2160p clip right afterwards and you'll notice the increased resolution.
The TV is well catered for for both cinemaphiles and cashed-up PC gamers, too. HDMI 2.0 means the U9000 supports its Quad Full HD resolution at a smooth 60fps refresh rate, so if you've got a beefy gaming PC with a GTX Titan Black (or two), you're in for a treat. We'd love to set up a wheel and pedals, and run through a couple of sessions of iRacing sitting close to the wrap-around display.
All inputs are handled by Samsung's external One Connect box, which is a little chunky, but can be easily upgraded to add new hardware, boost processing power or (hopefully) add support for some streaming Ultra HD movie channels. Integrated MHL 3.0 means you can plug in and charge your Android tablet or phone, while a DisplayPort input makes it easier to hook up a gaming PC. There's also wireless screen mirroring from Samsung smartphones.
The 'most curved TV in the world' design looks fantastic, there's no denying that. We're not entirely sold on the suggestion that it drastically improves immersion and the 3D effect of movies, but when you're sitting in the sweet spot in the centre of the screen between three and four metres back, the slight wrap-around of the edges of the screen looks impressively cinematic. It also helps that the U9000's LCD screen touts excellent, deep black levels and very vibrant colours.
The downside comes as significantly reduced maximum viewing angles. If you've got a big TV, chances are you'll want to watch it with a large group of friends every now and then, which means not everyone can sit in the optimal viewing spot. As you move further to either side of the U9000, the curve starts to become a hindrance: it's easy to see the curved side of the screen furthest from you, but the side closest starts to distort and quickly loses its contrast and clarity. In our limited experience, the U9000 is worse for off-angle viewing than a regular, non-curved LCD TV.
We don't know the U9000's price tag yet, but going on other big-screen LCDs and adding a premium for the Samsung brand and that curve, we'd be guessing in the region of well above $20,000.
Campbell Simpson traveled to Bali, Indonesia as a guest of Samsung Australia.