Today's TVs can look nice enough hanging on the wall, but nobody would mistake one for an actual painting. Until now.
Samsung's newest TVs try their damnedest to mimic real art. Called The Frame, the "TV" has a bezel that looks like a picture frame and displays images from its extensive internal art library. You can also pay to download more professional art from Samsung's store, or display your own photos.
And just like fine art, you'll pay a pretty penny to own one. The 55-inch model costs $2,000 while the 65-inch goes for $2,800. Optional wood bezels in white, beige and walnut cost $200 for the 55-incher and $250 for the 65-incher. The Frame comes standard with a plain black bezel.
Instead of turning off like a normal TV, leaving a blank black rectangle on the wall, The Frame is designed to always show its picture when someone is in the room. It uses a motion sensor that keeps the image onscreen as long as it senses movement. When there's no motion after awhile, the screen goes blank, saving power. When the screen is on and showing art, an ambient light sensor matches its brightness level to the room.
The Frame has numerous on-screen options for art layouts and colors. It comes with art from Samsung's collection of more than 100 professional pieces in various genres and subjects, divided into categories with names like Landscapes, Architecture, Wildlife, Digital Art, Urban Abstract and From Above.
Samsung also offers owners access to a library of additional art, curated by several international organizations, galleries and museums, including Artspace, Lumas, Magnum Photos, Saatchi Art and Sedition. They cost $20 each, or you can subscribe to the full collection for $5 per month. Samsung promises regular updates.
The Frame comes with an ultraflush wall mount that sets it as close as possible to the wall, and is also compatible with the easel-like Studio Stand ($500). Conventional tabletop stand legs are included too. The "invisible" wiring approach of its OneConnect breakout box, as first seen on , further ups the design ante.
Using a TV to display still art is nothing new; companies like Sharp and Sony have done so in the past, LG's "Gallery" OLED TV from 2013 sported a gilded frame, and LG displayed its 2017 "wallpaper" W7 OLED TV inside a similar custom picture frame. Many TV devices like the Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV default to artful screen savers. But Samsung's The Frame takes the concept further than any TV I've seen.
Its specifications as a TV are roughly equivalent to the MU8000 series of 4K TVs. By way of comparison, they cost $1,300 (55-inch) and $1,800 (65-inch), which is $700 and $1,000, respectively, less than The Frame. Meanwhile the, which will significantly outperform those Samsung's TVs, currently cost the same as The Frame at 55 inches and just $200 more at 65. Of course, with Samsung's unique art-centric TV you're paying for design, not necessarily peak image quality.
Editors' note: Updated June 16 with pricing, availability and additional details.