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Samsung The Frame TV 2021: Slimmer, more storage for art, can attach an optional shelf

The latest version of Samsung's unique TV-as-art measures just 24.9mm thick, and now there's a new shelf accessory.

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Seen here in a 75-inch size, the new 2021 version of The Frame is thinner than before.

Drew Evans/CNET

Since Samsung first introduced The Frame television in 2017, the concept has always appealed to a certain type of design-conscious buyer. Instead of a big ugly black rectangle hanging on the wall, this TV looks like a painting, a framed photo or other wall art. The company has iterated on The Frame's design in the years since, expanding the range of available sizes, building out the library of available art and, in the newest version for 2021, slimming the cabinet down even further.

The new Frame hugs the wall at just 24.9mm thick, similar to the depth of a typical picture frame. You can customize the frame around the image and the new version includes an angled ("beveled") bezel option. Third-party frames are also available for The Frame. 

The latest version was first announced at CES in January of this year and at Tuesday's Unbox and Discover event Samsung added a few new details. The internal storage capacity has gone up from 500MB in previous versions to 6GB, "allowing for storage of [approximately] 1,200 ultra-high-res images." Samsung will also sell an all-new accessory, something it's calling My Shelf. A custom shelf attaches to the TV above, below or alongside the screen, with customizable panels to fit the wall space. It's available in beige, white, brown and black and works with the 55-, 65- and 75-inch sizes. It's coming later this year and pricing was not announced.

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The Frame, available for preorder now starting at $1,000, ranges in size from 32 inches all the way up to 75 inches. The 32- and 43-inch sizes can also be displayed in portrait mode, vertical instead of horizontal like a traditional TV, although unless you get some kind of custom mount there's no way to automatically rotate them, as you can with Samsung's The Sero TV. And TikTok fans will appreciate that vertical video from that app can fill the screen entirely.

A paid subscription to Samsung's art store ($5 per month) gives you access to all 1,400 pieces of art from "world-renowned" institutions, which can be paintings or photos and include landscapes, abstracts and other types of art. You can also buy pieces individually or show your own photos (or art!) on the display.

Samsung didn't do much to improve the picture compared with 2020 versions: The 2021 Frame has 4K resolution, QLED tech with quantum dots and the company's dual LED backlight structure, which lacks local dimming. Based on those specifications we don't expect it to rival the picture quality of a standard QLED TV like the Q80T, let alone any of Samsung's new Neo QLED models. Then again, it's definitely better at classing up the joint.