The best frame TVs offer something quite unique. Also known as 'picture frame TVs' or 'art TVs', these are 4K TVs with ultra-thin bezels that can be wall-mounted. And when not being used to watch TV shows and films, they double up as art frames, displaying your favourite works of art in high resolution.
We've restricted our list of the best frame TVs to just three, because given our years of experience in reviewing televisions, we consider these the absolute best available today. But do you need really one?
Well, technically you could use a normal flatscreen TV to display art, but these sets are purpose-built for the task. So rather than plasticky bezels, the frame is like something you'd see in an art gallery. The display is so high quality that the artwork looks closer to a real painting or photographic print than a reproduction. And the set can be mounted flush to the wall, again making it look just like a real artwork. They are pretty expensive, though, so if you'd rather just buy a standard set, check out our guide to the best TVs.
Best frame TV overall
The Samsung Frame is hands-down the best frame TV available today. The super-thin bezels give your frame an elegant look. In fact, if you placed it next to a normal frame, you'd be hard to tell the difference without a close look. It certainly doesn't look anything like a normal TV set. If you don't like the default you can also choose different colour options for the frame beyond the default black, although you will have to pay extra.
To get artistic content for your display, you can take out an Art Model subscription of $5 / £3.99 a month, which brings you the choice of 2,000+ artworks from the best galleries and museums around the world. Alternatively, you can add your own content for free, by loading up a USB stick and plugging it in to one of the two USB slots.
The Samsung Frame comes in a wide range of sizes: 32, 43, 50, 55, 65, 75, and 85 inches. And best of all, for lovers of minimalist decor, it has just one single cable. Admittedly, this needs to connect to a box that you'll need to hide in a cupboard if you want to keep your room uncluttered. (It can be anywhere within 16 feet from the TV). But if you can manage that, you'll be beautifully free of wires and clutter. Most of the ports are on the box, rather than the Frame itself.
Of course, it couldn't top our list of the best frame TVs without offering an excellent picture, in both senses of the word. The 4K resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 makes for sharp and detailed images, and the anti-glare, matte display means you can enjoy your artwork even under bright lights.
With Quantum HDR, a 120Hz refresh rate, an impressive colour range and strong contrast, it works great as a TV too. You also get a remote and voice assistance via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Dolby Atmos speakers are decent as well, although cinephiles and audiophiles may want to invest in a separate soundbar.
And here we encounter the main downside of the Samsung Frame over a normal TV: the amount of money it may end up costing you.
The price of the set itself is considerably more than a normal 4K TV of this size. You'll also have to pay extra if you want to swap the black bezels for a different shade. And then there's the matter of installation. Yes, the Samsung Frame does come with a wall mount which places your frame TV beautifully flush to the wall. But you'll need to drill holes in your wall to install it… or pay someone to do so.
That said, this remains our top pick as the best frame TV available today. To save cash, see our guide to the best Samsung Frame TV deals.
Best frame TV for picture quality
At time of writing, the LG Gallery was more expensive than the Samsung Frame. But both do the same job, allowing you to display art when the TV is not in use, and can be mounted flush to the wall using an included mount. And both offer 4K resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Atmos,
So what are you getting with the LG that's better?
Well, the main thing is that the LG's OLED EVO panel is superior to Samsung's QLED screen, which offers better brightness, contrast and colours overall, particularly its deep, rich, inky blacks. Its processor is great at adjusting these levels to the environment the TV is in. It auto-optimises the sound too.
That said, the advantages of LG's OLED over Samsung's QLED aren't all one way. While the LG does offer better brightness, only Samsung has a matte screen to help prevent screen glare. There's also a more limited range of screen size, namely 55, 65, 77 and 83 inches.
However, what you gain with the LG in terms of picture quality, you lose in terms of the range of artworks you're able to display. LG builds a limited set of artwork into the set, which is nice because you can get going immediately and don't need to pay a subscription. But that's all you can do: you're not able to add your own pictures via USB like you can with the Samsung.
Perhaps more significantly, in LG Gallery Mode you can’t choose one picture to keep up at all times. Instead, the LG simply rotates through them, and so unlike the Samsung, nobody's going to be fooled that they're looking at a real work of art; it's basically a big carousel-style screensaver.
Best frame TV for budget buyers
Watching your budget? Then you'll want to check out the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED, as it's over half the price of the Samsung Frame at time of writing, but still does basically the same job, with the same 4K picture resolution.
Best of all, you won't need to take out a subscription but will be able to access 1,500 pieces of art for free.
As you might expect, though, you'll be making some compromises. The overall design isn't as sleek and sophisticated as the Samsung or the LG, with only three of the four bezels being ultra-thin; the one on the bottom is much chunkier. Also, there are only two sizes to choose from: 65 and 75 inches. You can't customise the frame. And the wall mount isn't included, although you do get a stand.
Furthermore, the picture quality from the QLED display is pretty good for a mid-range TV, but nothing special, and certainly not up to the standard of the Samsung and LG models on this list. The same goes for the 8W speakers which are fine, but audiophiles will want to add a sound bar. Finally, gamers should note that the refresh rate is half of these rivals, at just 60Hz.
Given the competitive price, though, this frame TV offers great value. And the large selection of art you don't have to pay for is a lovely icing on the cake. So overall, this is definitely the best cheap frame TV we can recommend today.
How to choose the best frame TV
Frame TVs are a great choice for people who want a TV that can blend in with their home décor and display art. To find the right one for your needs, there are a few factors to consider.
First, size. Most frame TVs come in a variety of sizes, so it's important to choose one that's the right dimensions for your space. Bigger doesn't always mean better, so consider the distance between where you'll be sitting and the TV when making your decision.
Second, think about resolution. All three frame TVs on our list come with 4K resolution which will display sharp and detailed images. Other, cheaper TVs may have lower resolution, so take care.
Thirdly, consider aesthetics. Frame TVs come in a variety of colours and styles, so try to choose a frame TV that matches your home décor. You can might also consider buying interchangeable bezels if you need to change the look of your frame TV. Finally, think about mounting options. Frame TVs can either be wall-mounted or placed on a TV stand, so choose a frame TV that comes with the mounting options you need to make it work in your space.
What is a frame TV?
A frame TV is a smart TV that has a design based on thin bezels. This makes it look like a real picture frame when it's turned off. That way, not only can you use it to consume all your normal content, but it can display artwork much like a normal picture frame when not in use. With today's high resolution pictures, this can often look virtually indistinguishable from a real artwork.
Is the Frame TV an actual TV?
Yes, a frame TV is an actual TV. It can display all your favourite shows, movies, and games, just like any other TV. It's called a frame TV because it has a thin, bezel-less design and can be mounted flush to a wall, making it look like similar to a real picture frame when it's turned off. That allows it to transform into a piece of art when not in use. It still works fine as a TV.
Having said that, be aware that most frame TVs have narrower viewing angles than some other TV types, so you need to be sitting directly in front of the set when you're watching it.
What are the disadvantages of a Frame TV?
Frame TVs are generally more expensive to buy than traditional TVs. You may also need to buy extras such as a wall-mount and a digital art subscription to provide content to display when in 'art mode'. If you're not good at DIY (or just don't want to risk accidental damage), you'll probably need to pay a professional to fix it flush against the wall. Finally, when it comes to watching normal TV, the viewing angle is usually narrower than a lot of sets, so you'll need to be sitting directly in front of the screen.