Samsung’s Frame TV isn’t new. In fact, there have been several revised models over the years. And yet, in 2021, the TV for aesthetic purposes has acquired an obvious use: displaying non-fungible tokens. NFTs have become very common in 2021 with companies like Adidas, McDonald’s, Budweiser and others joining to each sell their own NFTs on the blockchain. While the (non-fungible) tokens can be used for anything from a marriage license to basketball video highlights, a large portion of NFTs so far have been avatars and images of profile – generative art projects.
Monkeys, cats, robots and curvy lines were all part of generative art projects that wowed buyers. But, after someone changes their avatar picture on a social network like Facebook or Twitter, there’s a nagging question of how (or where) to display the additional purchased avatars that potentially cost thousands of dollars. One of those ways is with a TV. Christie’s and other auction houses have used the frame to display digital art because it combines large size with a customizable exterior design.
The bezel is such an obvious way to display NFTs that Samsung itself announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that it would put an NFT platform directly on its TVs in 2022.
“I believe digital art display is crucial in bringing the world of digital art into the traditional art world, as it replicates the familiar feeling of hanging a piece of art in your home or office. gallery,” said graphic designer Bryan Brinkman, who worked on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. “One of the main aspects of collecting art is displaying it and sharing it. I have digital screens in my house and I use many galleries on the web. Digital screens, virtual worlds , web galleries and editorials are essential to curating and displaying your work and collection.”
I went into the field with a 2021 model of the Frame to get a feel for what it’s like to display crypto art and how it could be used in the future.
Right click, save
The easiest way, in early 2022, to display NFTs purchased from you is to download them to your computer or mobile phone and then upload them to a digital frame. For example, Samsung’s Smartthings app lets you select phones and then save them to the frame. (The same goes for others like Netgear’s Meural, although the company has announced support for the MetaMask crypto wallet.)
Samsung offers a collage option that can accommodate three photos. And, if you’ve put together several different generative art projects, this is one way to display those pieces in your home. You can add multiple images together or just display one at a time.
Of course, the stereotypical easy joke around NFTs as they grow in mainstream notoriety has been: Why pay for the token when you can just right-click and register it for free? And it’s true, no one is stopping you from doing it.
The future of digital art display will likely blossom quickly to accommodate crypto wallet authentication. This makes the process even easier for owners than saving and re-downloading the images they purchased.
If you haven’t purchased NFT or don’t plan to, there are still other ways to enjoy art digitally in your home. Samsung offers the Frame Art Store to add a splash of color to your walls. As of this writing, Samsung charges $4.99 per month or $49.99 for a year of unlimited art access.
The store is organized and grouped into different themes to make it easy to navigate through the collection of photos and prints with the arrow keys on its remote.
My first instinct was to scoff at needing more than the 23 free artworks it makes available, plus the ability to upload my own photos. Quickly though, after leafing through some of the artwork available, I changed my mind. I think it’s easy to start wanting as many choices as possible at your fingertips.
There is a desire to see what a new picture, a new painting would look like on your wall. Maybe it would be the perfect one to complement your decor.
Mats and filters
One neat trick that Samsung, more than other digital frame brands, has leaned into with the frame is to apply shadow mats and boxes. These two elements make it look like the photos have been printed and hung on the wall.
In practice, I found the visual trick to be haphazard as to whether it made the screen image better or worse. One area where I love using a mat is collage the photos you’ve taken and uploaded. Just as Instagram filters covered up some of the poor quality of images captured on early mobile phones, these mats and collages make it possible to fit a wide range of photo sizes on a large TV screen.
A few limited photo filters are also available on the frame, but I couldn’t find any occasion to use them. Ultimately, though, it’s good that these options are available.
“I would like to see hardware that adapts more to different aspect ratios,” said Bryan Brinkman. “Either with modular screens that can be repositioned and expanded, or easily portable projectors for various environments. Some companies are already building more portable hardware that can plug and play on any screen and further streamline the experience. “
If you look at current NFTs sold in large quantities, many of them have been in square aspect ratios. There is an opportunity for new companies to create hardware specifically for digital art in forms other than traditional rectangular TVs or picture frames. Of course, if a TV knows it’s likely to be used to display NFTs, then it can try to accommodate that through software.
At CES 2022, in the first week of January, Samsung announced an NFT platform for its smart TVs. He did so, saying, “With the growing demand for NFTs, the need for a solution to today’s fragmented viewing and shopping landscape has never been greater.”
This will probably be the trend elsewhere for smart displays in the future as well. Netgear, along with Meural, is continuing the crypto space by adding support for the MetaMask wallet. The startup, Infinite Objects, has already teamed up with Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot to continuously show a single highlight that repeats endlessly.
When Samsung released the Frame in 2017, it looked like a novelty that would eventually be discontinued by the company due to a lack of consumer demand. Luckily, the company stuck to it and now has the ability to become the most user-friendly way to view NFTs in the future.
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