When my husband and I moved into our first house a few years ago, we went TV shopping. “This is going to be FUN!” I thought to myself. Guess what? It wasn’t. TV shopping these days isn’t like what it used to be when we were kids and our parents would choose one based on size alone. Now stepping foot into a retailer involves a crash course in TV acronyms (OLED! HD! UHD! HDR! 4K!)
My husband was in heaven, but me? Not so much. Which isn’t to say men love buying TVs and women don’t, there are plenty of ladies out there who’d enjoy getting down and dirty with resolution ratios … it’s just not my jam.
What is my jam, however, its identifying what’s hot right this minute and demands a must-have-worthy status on the market, and in TV land my friends, that is currently Samsung’s The Frame. Pixels and high-def details aside, what’s rad about The Frame is that it hangs flush to your walls, and it functions as a television when it’s turned on, but becomes artwork when it’s turned off. Thus looking like (you guessed it!) a frame on your wall.
The TV is encased in an ultra-thin magnetic frame that is sold separately (which is, yes, a bit of a bummer), but the good news is that it comes in four colorways (black, walnut, beige wood and white) that you can rotate throughout the year if you opt to buy more than one. Once your TV is framed, it's time to house some art and luckily, The Frame comes with a digital gallery of 100 free images that can be set as the backdrop to your screen when you’re not watching a program or movie. Once a piece of art is chosen, you can then hone the colors to your liking and opt to add a digital matte (and tweak those colors, too). And no, the artwork doesn’t look like something out of a Spongebob episode. Instead it’s crisp and vibrant and appears as realistic as something you’d find in, well, a gallery.
Want to know more about the image you’re looking at? Each piece of Samsung art comes with a lengthy background description — ya know, so when you’re neighbor asks, “Who is this by?” you can wax on about Yann-Arthus Bertand, the world-renowned aerial photographer with true authority. And if the gratis imagery selection isn’t doing it for you, subscribe to Samsung’s Art Store, which offers more than 800 pieces from galleries and collections around the world for $4.99 a month. Not feeling any of the artwork? Upload your own gallery of personal photos via Samsung’s SmartThings app or by connecting a USB drive into the TV’s One Connect Box.
The point to me listing all of these options is this: The Frame is highly customizable. What is it we all crave in 2018? Options. Hosting your friends for a dinner party? Showcase Van Gogh’s Sunflowers on The Frame while enjoying cocktails in the living room. Having your family over for Sunday night dinner? Upload a vintage shot of mom and dad for everyone to “ooh” and “ahh” over. Is Super Bowl at your house this year? Then, fear not, your buddies are going to be blown away by the clarity of the game, because, oh right, this is a 4K UHD TV with HDR10+ that is also smart (it comes pre-loaded with Netflix, Prime, Hulu, YouTube and more.)
That’s right, in addition to looking cool and serving a dual purpose (art!), the TV also delivers the ultra-premium quality you’d expect from a Samsung. No longer do our living spaces need to be marred by a gigantic black rectangle with loads of shiny plastic and cords galore. The Frame is the most elegant solution on the market for anyone who considers themself design-minded. And you know who falls directly into this category? Actress Mandy Moore, that’s who! Check out Architectural Digest’s below home tour of Moore's $2.6 million Pasadena home, where The Frame hangs unassumingly in her family room. “This is a Samsung TV, it’s like this new thing that is meant to look like a piece of art!” she exclaims in the video.
Who else is a fan? Oprah, that’s who. The TV landed in last year’s “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” “Can you believe this is a television? Finally, a way to get rid of the black screen,” she wrote in the December 2017 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. “The Frame transforms your TV into a work of art. You select the frame, the layout, and the painting or photograph, either from a large gallery of choices or your own album. Program it and prepare to be amazed.”
So now that I’ve listed all the reasons why it’s fab on paper, let me wax on about how The Frame performs IRL. First, hanging it flush again the wall was a task my husband was DREADING. He put it off for a few weeks, but once we started the process it took no more than an hour. (Yes, you need a stud finder and a level.) Second, let’s address how the TV is “floating.” While I had thought it operated wirelessly, upon setting up The Frame I learned that it is actually connected to the aforementioned One Connect Box via a skinny, translucent cable cord. (Heads up: All of your other devices plug into this box, eliminating the mess of cords that would typically connect directly to your TV.) Not gonna lie, initially I was not thrilled about the "invisible connection" cord, as I thought it would stick out like a sore thumb on my wall … but now I don’t even notice it anymore, lol. And friends who have seen the TV always ask, “Is that a wireless TV?!” It’s really that hard to spot, especially on a neutral-hued wall. Oh, and those magnetic frames? They clamp onto the TV screen in less than 30 seconds.
In terms of usability, switching from Art Mode to TV Mode is simple, as is setting up your favorite images and tweaking the artwork to your liking — all of this can be done via the Samsung remote or the TV’s app. The TV has some cool energy-saving settings that I enjoy, like “night mode,” which turns off the TV when no light is sensed in the room, or “sleep after” mode wherein it turns off if no motion is detected after a certain amount of time. And aesthetically, well, it’s a dream. The trim frame is crisp and neat, and the flush wall mounting is as glorious in person as it sounds in my description. Walking into my family room with a mural on the wall instead of Puppy Dog Pals or, worse, a dark 55-inch screen, well, it’s bliss.
All of this tech and design and art comes at a price, sadly. That’s right, The Frame ain’t cheap. But rarely are the best things in life. Trust me, the design enthusiast/neat freak inside of you will approve of this splurge.
Samsung The Frame 4K UHD TV
Samsung Customizable Bezel Frames
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