The first time I visited Samsung’s Manhattan showroom to test out The Frame television, I breezed right past the display. And that’s precisely the point. The Frame isn’t just another dull, black rectangle that mounts on the wall and clashes with your décor. Rather, it’s a seamless, artful approach to how we experience television.
Yes, The Frame delivers a stunning 4K picture with a wide range of inky blacks and brilliant whites, boosted by HDR technology. And, like any of today’s smart TVs, it streams the usual cast of content providers: Amazon, HBO Now, YouTube and Netflix.
But when The Frame isn’t displaying television shows or movies, it becomes the picture itself by elegantly exhibiting professional artwork or personal photographs. ‘Art Mode,’ as Samsung calls it, is what makes The Frame an innovation, as it transforms the flat-screen TV from a dreary appliance you try to conceal into a gallery-like art display you’re proud to show off.
To cover a range of aesthetic tastes, Samsung has amassed an impressive art library of about 600 pieces (and counting) for The Frame, including works from famous collections such as New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and St. Petersburg’s Hermitage museum. Video images of individual art pieces can be purchased for about $20, or you can subscribe to the full collection for about $5 per month. If you desire a more personalized touch for your wall, The Frame allows you to upload and save your favorite photographs or art pieces, with a range of faux-matte framing options available.
When in Art Mode, a sensor measures the ambient lighting, automatically adjusting the brightness and color temperature of the artwork within The Frame’s display, further preserving the natural look so it seamlessly blends into your living space. A motion sensor also shuts The Frame completely off to help conserve energy.
Samsung has also designed other clever methods to strengthen The Frame’s artsy illusion. The TV can be housed in four bezel types—white, matte black or light and dark wood (each sold separately)—that resemble real picture frames. Additionally, The Frame hangs flush to the wall via its No Gap Wall Mount, and the supplied Invisible Connection cable, which is nearly translucent, eliminates any messy wires with one single connection to external devices.
The Frame is available in three sizes: 65 inches ($2,799), 55 inches ($1,999) and 43 inches ($1,299).