The Frame TV is hyped as the only TV that can look beautiful as art and function as a TV. But is that true? And is the Frame TV worth the money? Here's my unbiased review.
If you follow me on Instagram, you couldn't possibly have missed the very LONG process of our fireplace makeover. And you probably noticed that when we completed the project, we hung a Samsung Frame TV over the fireplace. You probably even glimpsed it in my post yesterday in which I shared the lighting and other tweaks we recently made in our family room.
Now that we've had it a few months, I wanted to share our unbiased thoughts on it. We paid for it out of our own pocket and it's expensive! That's why I really want you to know what we think of it. I don't think it's a great fit or necessary for everyone. Read on for details!
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What is the Samsung Frame TV?
The Samsung Frame TV is a 4K TV that mounts almost perfectly flat to a wall. But that's not what makes it special. What makes it different and sets it apart from other TVs is that it displays high-quality artwork and photos when you aren't watching the TV. That's right. You can almost mistake it for a piece of original artwork hanging on the wall when you are not watching TV on it. I say almost because since it is backlit, it's never going to look like an original canvas or print hanging on a wall. But the resolution is stunning and you can adjust the white balance/tone to make it look as realistic and natural in your room lighting as possible. And without a doubt, it looks more like art than a big black box on the wall!
What do you get for your money?
You get a high-quality smart TV (yep, you can use your favorite apps like Netflix and Hulu on it) and beautiful artwork that can be changed with the press of a button! Now, if you are wondering what literally comes in the box, you get a 4K QLED TV, the amount you will need to hang your TV on the wall, and something called a “One Connect Box.”
The One Connect Box runs the whole TV and acts as a hub for all of your cables and connections in one place. That means you can connect all your devices such as cable boxes, streaming devices (Apple TV, Fire Sticks, etc.) and more with the following ports:
- (4) HDMI inputs
- (1) Optical Digital Audio Out
- (1) Cat 5 Ethernet Port
- (1) Coax Input
- (3) USB Input
- (1) Ex-Link
Then the One Connect Box connects to the Frame TV with one tiny, fiber-optic cord that is referred to as an invisible connection. That cord is all you need to power it and connect all of your devices to the TV. It's pretty cool.
What you don't get for your money is a custom frame for your TV. Out of the box, the frame of the TV is black plastic. Sure, it's thin. But it doesn't look like a picture frame. I didn't realize that when we first started looking into it, so I feel it's worth mentioning. To get the look of a true art frame, you have to purchase a bezel separately (they retail for around $150) or you can purchase a more ornate frame like these, which are even more expensive. No matter what, the frame you choose needs to be factored into the overall price of the Frame TV, which is expensive to begin with.
Where do you put the One Connect Box?
This was something we had to figure out before we decided to invest in the Frame TV. The One Connect Box isn't small. It's 13.7″ wide x 2.6″ high x 5.4″ deep. If you are hanging your TV above an entertainment center or some sort of console table, then it's no big deal–you can just put the One Connect Box in the piece of furniture. But if you are like us and you are hanging your Frame TV above a fireplace, chances are you don't want a big, black One Connect Box sitting out.
We were lucky that we already had an electrical outlet above our fireplace. So in the end, we wound up cutting a hole in the drywall behind our TV and installing a recessed media box to hold our One Connect Box and other components. You can see a photo of the hole we cut in our drywall and this box we installed below. It does mean we will need to take the TV off the wall if we ever need to reset the box for any reason, but the TV is not difficult to remove from the bracket, so we are okay with that.
What can you do with the Samsung Frame TV?
As I've already mentioned, you can display artwork on it using what is called “art mode”! This is the biggest draw for most people who are wanting a TV that blends seamlessly into their home decor. You can even choose to display your high-resolution artwork with a digital mat, making it even more realistic.
But you can also choose to display family photos or any photos you choose! You can have your Frame TV display one piece of art or photo at a time or have it cycle through them like a slideshow.
Unique features of the Samsung Frame TV
There are several features that are unique to the Samsung Frame TV, many of which I didn't even know about until after we hung it on our wall and started using it. First of all, the no-gap wall mount that comes with the TV is AWESOME. It mounts your TV directly onto the wall, exactly like a piece of art. Typical TV mounts leave several inches of space behind them.
My favorite feature is that when you turn your TV “off” it displays your chosen art. And the Frame TV has a motion sensor! So when we go to bed, it eventually shuts the screen off entirely. But when we walk back in the room, the art comes right back on the screen. On some TVs, leaving an image on the screen for long periods of time will burn the image into the television’s display. But Samsung has LED Quantum Dot technology, which apparently means that images can't be burned into the screen. It also means that you get very realistic and sharp images on the screen.
Pros and cons of the Samsung Frame TV
Pros: Sits completely flat to the wall, can display artwork when TV is not in use without burning the screen, nice picture quality when watching movies or TV, comes in a variety of sizes (32-inch, 43-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch)
Cons: It's expensive, you have to buy a frame/bezel separately, the One Connect Box has to be stored or hidden somewhere
Are there alternatives that are better?
I can say that I don't think there are “better” alternatives, but there are definitely very good and much less expensive alternatives. I transformed the very basic TV in our primary bedroom and figured out how to display digital art on it so that it blends into our gallery wall. You can read all about how I did it in this post. It's a much better option for our bedroom, which is a private space. I would NEVER spend the money to buy a Frame TV for any space other than our living room.
That said, the “screensaver” function in our bedroom won't stay on longer than 30 minutes, which is much, much different than the Frame TV. That's why I strongly prefer the Frame TV for our living room. After all, the TV in our living room is off 95% of the time. And I love that I can look at beautiful art the entire time it's off. In our bedroom, that's simply not an option. But it's also not an issue since I'm not spending much time in our bedroom when I'm not sleeping.
What's the deal with the Samsung Art Store?
Art pieces can be downloaded from Samsung’s Art Store, which has a diverse collection of famous paintings and art pieces in 4K resolution. The Art Store is a digital marketplace where users can buy digital versions of world-famous paintings and art pieces. The Art Store has more than 1,500 pieces of art. I believe it currently costs $4.99 a month to subscribe.
I have not subscribed. I prefer to buy my high-definition digital art on Etsy for between $2.50 and $5.00 each. I find the selection to be wider and it's easier to find pieces that suit my particular style. You can see some of my favorite picks below! Just click on any of the images for full product details.
What's the best price for the Frame TV and where can you buy it?
We had our fireplace makeover project planned for a while and knew we wanted a Frame TV, so we were hunting for a good deal. In the end, we wound up purchasing the 2021 55″ Frame TV model on Prime Day for $1,197, which was the best deal we had found. Prior to that, we were searching everywhere (Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc.) and it seemed like Amazon always had the best deal.
Click the image below to see the current Amazon deals on the Frame TV.
We chose this modern beige bevel frame for our TV and we absolutely love it. Everywhere I looked the price was the same–$150.
Bottom line… Is the Samsung Frame TV worth it?
Now let's turn our attention to the question that I've received countless times since we hung our Frame TV this summer… Is the Frame TV worth it? My answer is YES if you are planning to use it in a space that you spend a lot of time in with the TV off and on, like a living room or family room. That makes the art mode display feature really, really worth it. It's so nice not to stare at a big black box on your TV. But if you need a TV that you only look at when you are watching it (for us, this is definitely true of the TV in our bonus room) or that you spend very limited time looking at when it's off (like our primary bedroom TV) I would recommend saving your money. Just use this method to upgrade your basic TV!
I hope you have found this helpful! I wish we could have found something like this to help make our decision a bit easier when we were trying to decide if we should spend more than $1,000 on a TV (because it seemed a bit crazy to us at the time). But because of where it is, I'm definitely glad we went for it. That said, we don't need one of these in any other room in our home. Less expensive TVs in those rooms will suit us just fine!
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