Ahead of CES, Samsung is announcing upcoming refreshes of its two most stylish 4K TVs, The Frame and Serif. These are lifestyle pieces that aim to make people rethink what a TV can and should look like. They don’t offer Samsung’s best picture performance — that’s still reserved for the proper QLED lineup — but they’re definitely good for attracting conversation in the home.
The Frame is being upgraded with an improved picture over its previous two iterations. The 2019 model will feature Samsung’s quantum dot display technology for a wider HDR color palette. Aside from offering a better picture, The Frame will also now come in a new 49-inch size. (Last year’s edition came in 43-, 55-, and 65-inch sizes.) Samsung markets The Frame to people who prefer that their TV not be the central focal point of a living room; it’s supposed to blend in with your decor and look like a framed work of art when the TV is off. In Art Mode, The Frame adapts to a room’s lighting so that the content on screen looks more natural. You can choose from hundreds of art pieces collected from several museums to assemble your preferred screensaver playlist. Subscribing to the Art Store costs $4.99 per month.
Samsung says this type of inviting design is important to millennials, and the company claims The Frame has been “wildly successful” — even surpassing its flagship QLED models in the minds of consumers who put style above most else.
Like the 2018 set, the 2019 Frame will include Samsung’s One Connect box, which separates all the major connectivity ports (HDMI, power, etc.) from the main TV and runs everything up to The Frame through a single cable. And Bixby is built in.
The Serif goes even further than The Frame as a design statement. It’s a TV that, in the words of a Samsung executive during a recent press briefing, “looks nothing like a TV.” It can basically double as a piece of furniture; there’s a shelf on top. A fabric cover conceals the port selection around back. For 2019, Samsung plans to offer it in three display sizes: 43 inches, 49 inches, and 55 inches. (The first model only came in a 40-inch size.) It also uses Samsung's QLED tech — never to be confused with OLED.
Samsung sold the original Serif at the MoMA Design Store and high-end furniture stores instead of, say, your local Best Buy. It was intended for rooms and environments where customers might ordinarily not want a traditional TV set breaking up the vibe. Availability will extend to electronics retailers in 2019, so Serif should be just as easy to come by as The Frame.
These TVs are just as much about aesthetics as they are function. But they each run Samsung’s Tizen software and have the usual mix of popular streaming apps.
Specific pricing and availability details are to come; I’d peg these for sometime in the spring, and they’ll go for well over $1,000. You’ll have to wait until CES for the full reveal of Samsung’s flagship 2019 QLED lineup (and whatever else the company might have planned in the way of MicroLED sets and other products). The new Serif and The Frame will be on display at the show, so stay tuned for impressions on Samsung's upgrades.