Why Samsung's The Frame won our Smart Home Design of the Year award

The television that thought outside the box took home the top gong

Why Samsung's Frame was 2018's best design

As the smart home has rapidly matured, the television set has remained largely the same. Sure, there are now more pixels packed inside and smarter operating systems running the show, but it's been a relative design lull since the introduction of curved screens.

At CES a year ago, though, Samsung gave us a very different perspective on the TV. No longer a black hole in our living rooms, The Frame promised to blend the box into its surroundings unlike all its ancestors. The TV was turning into a chameleon, and it was about time.

Read this: All the winners from the 2018 Ambient Smart Home Awards

Coming in a choice of 43-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch screen sizes, with the option to have it standalone or wall mounted out of the box (though, as the name suggests, it's best when hanging on your wall), the TV's main pull is its ability to blend through Art Mode. The approach to the TV's out-of-hours look was innovative from Samsung, and the thoughtful execution was what landed it the Smart Home Design of the Year award at the Ambient Smart Home Awards.

There are certainly plenty of TVs that offer more bang for your buck, but there won't be any with a design that actively becomes a part of your living space. And that's because it goes a step further than simply flicking through a slideshow of vibrant images when in idle mode, like other TVs. Instead, The Frame TV has things like an ambient light sensor to help the screen match the surrounding light of the room, with users able to select from 100 pre-set pieces of art or look through the Samsung Art Store. Obviously, you can use your own photos, too, but we'd wager they're much like ours: not very impressive when ballooned up.

Now the real question is if, and how, other TV manufacturers will follow this example. Samsung's Frame, though impressive, was certainly far too expensive for most punters to revel in its artistic delights, and it'd be refreshing if the coming year saw an influx of new ideas in TV design to help them better match the growing smart home.

Why the Samsung's The Frame won our Smart Home Design of the Year award

Bang and Olufsen's Beosound Edge can change volume by rolling

And while the ball is now rolling in this area, it's literally rolling in speaker design, with Bang & Olufsen's Beosound Edge winning the Highly Commended nod in this category. The company is no stranger to sleek and premium design, and continued to innovate with its coin-inspired looks and volume controls built in the Edge. The price, much like The Frame, is astronomical, though this does perhaps point to some of the design fun the lower tiers may be privy to in years to come.

We're now looking forward to 2019, a year in which we expect plenty more innovation in TVs, speakers and beyond. Hey, maybe someone will even reinvent the lightbulb.


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