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Circuit Breaker

Art display company Meural minimally upgrades its electronic canvas and launches a subscription plan

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Meural, a company that brings digital high-brow art into people's homes, is launching the second generation of its electronic canvas at the end of this month. The new frames, called the Leonora and the Winslow, include slight spec bumps. Both have doubled their RAM to 2GB, support both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi, and automatically determine their vertical or horizontal orientation. The Lenora costs $595 while the Winslow costs $695. The pricing reflects the frame's materials.

The company's also now launching an art subscription service, similarly to its no-longer-existent competitor Electric Objects, which shut down this past summer. The Meural Membership, as it's called, costs $4.95 a month or $39.95 annually. Users don't need to subscribe to display artwork, but it provides unlimited access to the company's art library. Free users will only be able to view selected pieces or display their own work. When I reviewed the Meural earlier this year, the fact that art was supplied with the price of the canvas was an alluring feature. I'm not surprised the company decided to pivot toward a subscription model, though. It's an easy way to monetize.

As for the canvases, the incremental upgrades are nice, but with new art displays like the Depict coming to market, it would have been cool to see Meural's actual Full HD screen improved. The Depict has 4K resolution, granted it's much more expensive than Meural's options. It costs $899.

If you own a canvas, I have a pro tip for you. Giphy bought Electric Objects' art collection that used to cost money to access and put the pieces online, so you can download them and display them on any screen. I'd recommend trying this out if you want to circumvent a subscription plan. That said, Meural does offer access to its own exclusive pieces and museum works, so those might be worth the money.