By Peter Griffin 15/12/2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget No. 4

Last November, during the shaking in Wellington that resulted from the Kaikoura earthquake, my Samsung TV took a nose dive off the TV cabinet onto the floor.

I already had “insurance claim” pounding through my head as I lifted the 2013 F7500, a state of the art TV for its time, off the floor and back onto the stand. But it worked just fine, no damage done – and no insurance claim necessary.

I was thinking of that as I looked at the 65 inch The Frame TV which I test drove at home for a few weeks earlier in the year. It sat on the same cabinet and I had visions of it taking a similar face plant in an earthquake. Luckily that didn’t happen.

The Frame by Samsung with optional trim

But Samsung’s The Frame TV is fundamentally designed to do away with the TV cabinet and an eathquake-prone TV anyway. Sure, it comes with two metallic feet that stand it up like a regular TV. But it is made to look like a picture frame, so lends itself naturally to being mounted on the wall, just like a piece of art. A wall mount comes with the TV that makes this very simple and mounts the TV flush to the wall.

The addition of magnetic picture frame trim that snap on to The Frame’s edges, and which come in different colours to suit your taste, make the TV look like an artwork.

The Frame wasn’t the best TV to debut in 2017, but it showed us a compelling alternative to the black mirror our screens become when they are turned off.

In TV mode, it is a ultra-high definition 4K screen with impressive contrast and colour. In “art mode” when it is turned off, The Frame displays digital art works of your choice. Art mode can be controlled from a smartphone, so I was able to select photos from my recent walking tour along Italy’s Amalfi Coast, and beam them to the TV where they join a selection of professionally shot art images you can choose to display on the Frame when it is in “off” mode.

That mode involves the TV sitting in a low-energy setting that allows the art image to be displayed. A motion sensor will turn it off when people aren’t detected in front of it, so you’ll save electricity and the TV’s screen life.

That is the key feature of The Frame that separates it from Samsung’s other TVs, which have the same functionality and technical specifications, but don’t lend themselves to such easy assimilation into your lounge room. Assisting on that front is the One Connect Box, which allows for one tiny cord to feed into the TV – everything else, including the connectors for speakers and Sky TV box are in a separate device that can be tucked away out of sight.

Gizmodo has a fuller rundown on the TV’s technical aspects and I agree with its verdict.

Finally the TV takes on a new dimension. You’ll pay more for The Frame that a regular TV with the same specifications, but if you value having a screen in the lounge that doubles as an art work when it is in “off” mode, this is the TV for you.

Price: From $3280 (55 inch version)