Samsung Wants to Transform Your TV Into a Digital Painting

The company's new Frame feature will be able to display over 100 custom digital artworks, but will collectors take the bait?

Courtesy Samsung Electronics
Courtesy Samsung Electronics

Who needs a Picasso when you have pixels?

Samsung Electronics America has unveiled plans for a QLED television (short for quantum dot technology on an LED panel), which boasts a feature called The Frame. Designed by fuseproject CEO Yves Behar, the setting enables your television to resemble a painting in a frame when the “Art Mode” is on. So instead of your flat-screen television fading to black, as it normally would when you shut it off, it seamlessly and instantly showcases a work of art.

“The Frame empowers you to think about TV in a new way, bringing art and entertainment into new parts of your home,” said Dave Das, senior vice president consumer electronics marketing for Samsung Electronics America, in a statement.

Users can select one of more than 100 custom-designed digital art pieces, though the full list of participating artists has not been revealed yet. Available imagery includes landscape, architecture, wildlife, action, and drawing, and is paired with numerous options for layouts and colors. There are also customizable accessory options that include interchangeable bezels.

Samsung showcased The Frame at a dedicated loune for the most recent New York edition of Frieze Art Fair. Courtesy Samsung.

Samsung showcased The Frame at a dedicated lounge for the most recent New York edition of Frieze Art Fair. Courtesy Samsung.

It remains unclear exactly how many would-be television buyers could potentially be swayed by the ability to turn their screen into an art display. But Samsung is certainly making a play for the art audience. The company created a lounge to showcase The Frame at the most recent edition of the Frieze New York fair on Randall’s Island earlier this month.

The space drew crowds of curious visitors (at least a few of whom were incentivized by the free coffee). But even with a Samsung rep on hand, information about The Frame was scant, which we chalked up to the lounge’s billing as a “a pre-launch sneak-peek.”

Artist Lee Wan demonstrates The Frame at an exhibition running concurrently with the Venice Biennale. Courtesy Samsung.

Artist Lee Wan demonstrates The Frame at an exhibition running concurrently with the Venice Biennale. Courtesy Samsung.

Following Frieze, Samsung announced (May 10) that The Frame would be exhibited in the latest Venice Biennale at a show titled  “Viva Arte Viva“, which opened May 13 and runs through November 26. Samsung provided 15 units of The Frame to be displayed throughout the event.

The Frame is outfitted with Samsung’s new “Invisible Connection” and “No-Gap Wall-mount” so that users can hang it virtually anywhere and let it blend into the living space with no cables or wires. According to a post on Samsung’s website, the 2017 QLED TV lineup is available now starting at $2,799 at Samsung.com and other national retailers.

Of course, Samsung is not the first company to marry high-end technology with visual art. New York-based startup Electric Objects makes picture frame-like computers that can display high-resolution artwork. Having introduced EO1 in recent years, the company recently announced EO2, described as as “matte-finish, 1080p HD display” that minimizes glare from every angle, according to the company website.

Electric Objects says there is a waiting list for EO2 and will be back in stock by the end of the summer.


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