In olden times, TVs were extravagant purchases. People wanted them to look nice. So even when they were off, they looked like nice pieces of furniture. They had heavy metal knobs, beautiful cabinetry, and nice speakers. They were beautiful objects on par with the rest of your furniture.
Since then we don’t know what the heck to do with TVs. We’ve tried everything, but interior design has struggled with the television.
By the late ’80s and early ’90s, cheap commodity TVs started to flood the market. No longer was your TV an expensive piece of furniture, but a cheap looking plastic box that weighed 80 lbs. So, this was the era of the entertainment center. A piece of furniture that housed all of your things. Books, VHS tapes, your stereo. If the TVs didn’t look nice, then maybe they could be closed off and only displayed when necessary.
Some of these entertainment centers were really beautiful, but, the idea was to hide the girth and case of the TV. So when flat screen televisions came around, it was a revelation. Now, the only part of the TV is the screen, and no longer did you need this massive entertainment center.
But this brought with it a host of other challenges. Where do we keep our stereos and DVDs and books? This brought us the era of TV stands, a smaller, more elegant solution that served the same purpose. Some of these were absolutely hideous though. Some weren’t so bad. People still have them today.
All of this was relatively manageable because TV sizes, while getting bigger, were not the monolithic slabs they are today. The average TV size, just a few years ago was 40 inches.
But, all of our media has moved digital. People don’t have DVDs and VHS tapes anymore. They don’t have their books. The TVs have built in streaming services and you read your books on a tablet or a Kindle or your phone. Or you don’t read at all, you philistine. Whatever.
Speaker systems have been replaced with sound bars, and WiFi Sonos systems. And TVs have gotten bigger with no end in sight.
The problem with these TVs isn’t how they look when they’re on. When they’re on they’re stunning. Huge 4K images with HDR. Beautiful colors and thin bezels. When they’re on they’re amazing. But when they’re off, oof. They are dogs.
Giant black rectangles reflecting a dusty smudged image back on the room, swallowing all light and returning next to nothing. They are design black holes. So, finally that brings us to Samsung.
There are a lot of prototype TVs out there that look great when they’re off. Bang & Olufsen makes beautiful TVs that cost 10 grand. Samsung is doing it in the price range of regular people.
First let’s talk about the one I just got. The Samsung Frame.
The Frame is a beautiful 4k TV that comes in sizes up to 65 inches. As the industry moves bigger and bigger, Samsung is trying to keep these specialty TVs a reasonable size (if you consider 65 inches reasonable). When you turn the TV off, it becomes a painting. You can choose from a bunch of curated artworks or upload your own.
It sits flush against the wall and has custom bezels you can magnetically attach to the TV to make it look more and more like a picture frame. They have black, white, and two flavors of wood (for all you beavers out there).
I chose the white one cuz I’m going to have it vinyl wrapped pink.
The Frame isn’t too expensive, often going on sale for around $1600, but I was able to find a B-stock last year closeout for $600 dollars. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll get a great deal. It’s a great 4K TV that has all these bonus features. It’s a great looking piece, that really helps your interior design rather than detract from it.
So not content with just that, Samsung hired some weird French designers to really redesign the TV and decided that the TV should be a capital letter I.
Here’s a TV that looks super weird all the time. It has a shelf on the top! This television also has an ambient/art mode, and is limited to just 55 inches for the largest TV. It’s a super weird piece that I do not see catching on.
But, Samsung is being weird, and producing these things. It’s actually selling them, and they come in crazy colors like blue and red. I have to applaud their audacity.
It even has a piece of fabric on the back that magnetically attaches to hide all your cables.
The TV is a hassle in interior design. Samsung is giving you some choices. Highly recommend checking it out.
Side note: Samsung’s customer service is pure hot garbage and so they don’t earn a real recommendation from me – but no one else is trying to tackle the problem of how your room looks with the television off, so they deserve kudos regardless.