Technology: 21st century box

By Matt Balmer
May 12, 2018

With new ranges hitting shops this spring, Rob Lane checks out beautifully designed TVs packed with design-friendly tech .

In terms of technology, there has never been a better time to buy a TV: the quality bar is set really high. At the same time, mainly as a result of that tech, there’s never been a better time to choose a living-space-friendly telly: they look great, don’t over-dominate, and are jam-packed with clever bells and whistles making them even more aesthetically pleasing.

In spring, TV manufacturers traditionally announce their new lines, and a number of models coming to market are crying out for great architecture and design to complement their aesthetic offerings. It’s been many years since we had to put up with huge, fat, ugly cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions dominating our living spaces.

Samsung’s The Frame (pictured) aims to enhance living spaces by displaying a piece of art when it’s not being viewed. Obviously, the idea is that you wall-mount – although this isn’t essential – and whilst Samsung promises a near-invisible cable, the only way to ensure wall mounting is effective is, of course, to chase the cabling into the plaster.

Available in 43, 55, and 65in models, The Frame’s built-in Art Mode feature allows for a choice of up to 100 pieces of art, commissioned by Samsung from world-renowned artists. Users can also add their own images or sign up to Art Store with a monthly subscription.

Finally, a motion sensor ensures that the TV’s Art Mode display switches on and off when people enter and leave the room, whilst a brightness sensor adjusts colour to optimum levels depending on local lighting conditions.

The latest in Sony’s renowned BRAVIA range is something of a design statement. Beautifully realised, with a super-thin (9.9mm for the larger screen; 8.6mm for the others) frame and angled stand, the A1 demands to be table-mounted but can be wall-mounted too. Available in 55, 65, and 77in models, with a 4K HDR processor, technology again contributes towards aesthetics – Sony’s Acoustic Surface tech vibrates the TV’s screen, to allow sound to be emitted from it without the need for design-compromising speakers.

The A1 is perhaps reminiscent of earlier designs from Bang & Olufsen. The brand’s latest variant of its high-end Eclipse OLED TV range was produced in conjunction with LG. Designed by award-winning Torsten Valeur, the BeoVision Eclipse Wood Edition boasts a handmade oak speaker cover matching the oak elements in the brand’s BeoLab 18 and BeoLab 50 loudspeakers, which can be connected to the TV’s surround sound decoder.

Available in 55 and 65in screen sizes, the Eclipse Wood has an integrated 450W three-channel SoundCentre with built-in internet radio and music streaming services. A motorized floor stand allows for adjustment of the viewing position, although the TV can also be wall mounted with a motorised or manual bracket.

This represents the tip of the iceberg for this spring’s TV offerings, but many more brands are using technology to inform and improve their designs. Whether wall- or table-mounting, there’s no longer any need to compromise on design.