Samsung have announced a collaboration with The Thomas Kinkade Company, where the manufacturers high-definition displays will be used for large-scale digital photo frames. Unlike the seven-inch screen flicking through holiday snaps on your desk, the Digital Masterworks Art-TV prototype used a 46-inch 1080p LCD with a 40GB hard-drive. Rather than the traditional plastic or speaker bezel, the panel is surrounded by a Thomas Kinkade picture frame.
The eventual plan is to distribute Thomas Kinkade artwork - together with other media - via wired or wireless internet. Audio functionality would also be included, whether an overview of an art style or period or a biopic about the artist or the work itself. While missing on the current prototype, the eventual production version will feature a touchscreen for controlling lighting and other picture tweaks, as well as hidden controls to flick through images and arrange one, two or four paintings on-screen at a time. Zooming would also be possible; The Thomas Kinkade Company's distribution network would format images so that they displayed correctly on a 16:9 screen.
Initially the display will only be available through Thomas Kinkade Signature Galleries, due to appear in the gallery shop later this year. More broad distribution will occur in the second half of 2009. No pricing has been revealed, either for the Digital Masterworks Art-TV itself or ongoing costs for imagery.
San Francisco, CA, June 3, 2008 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world’s largest provider of liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels, announced today that it has collaborated with The Thomas Kinkade Company to develop a prototype of the first TV to be combined with a digital art display system – a potential hybrid LCD TV and mini-exhibit that would be able to shift between artwork and TV programming at a moment’s notice.
The combined art display and TV, when later manufactured, would integrate the refined subtlety of art with the vivid realism of HDTV in a way that is likely to change the future of room décor. The Digital Masterworks Art-TV, a prototype of which was displayed to news media today, is housed in a Thomas Kinkade frame designed to accentuate the fine art theme.
“Imagine having a piece of museum-quality fine art right above your mantle and then as you sink into the couch instantly switch to American Idol, the latest sports playoffs, or a Blu-ray action movie at the touch of a button,” said Scott Birnbaum, Vice President, Samsung LCD Business. “The Thomas Kinkade Company is planning to produce a trend-setting combination of two of the most unlikely partners in visual entertainment – fine art and electronic programming.”
As conceived, the 46-inch diagonal Art-TV would allow viewers to switch between any number of digitally re-mastered pre-loaded Thomas Kinkade paintings or original 16x9 art digitally created by Thomas Kinkade specifically for the new medium.
“From the outset, we’re going to deliver a truly superior digital viewing experience, that’s a quantum leap beyond the staid world of screen savers, an easy-to-enhance electronic gallery befitting the tradition of artistic excellence that has been a hallmark of Thomas Kinkade art,” said Todd Stewardson, Vice President, Thomas Kinkade Company. “We will later modify our planned system to permit consumers to be able to see the brush strokes, shading and texture of the canvas in a rendering comparable to the finest artistic reproductions,” he added.
Samsung and the Thomas Kinkade Company indicated that by the time the Digital Masterworks Art-TV goes into mass production, the system, as conceived, would feature a customizable integrated touch screen to allow the purchaser to modify overall image lighting or subtly enhance specific colors within the Thomas Kinkade Company’s guidelines to take maximum advantage of the lighting in the home or office where it has been installed. Hidden touch controls then also would permit viewers to electronically flip through their favorite Thomas Kinkade selections, showing one, two, four or all of the selected paintings at once. Users would also be able to zoom in and out of portions of any painting.
As planned, additional paintings would be uploaded from the Thomas Kinkade Company’s electronic art network either through a wired or wireless (802.11g) connection. Consumers would also be able to play audio about each painting that, for example, might describe the artist’s thoughts or provide an overview of the art style.
The Digital Masterworks system prototype, developed to prove out the market viability of the concept, features a 1080p resolution, 40 gigabyte (GB) hard drive, 500-nit brightness level and 3000:1 contrast ratio, with an eight millisecond response time.
Plans are for the new system to be first available late this year, through any Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery worldwide. Sometime in the second half of 2009, the Thomas Kinkade Company may also make it available through a select group of leading retailers.
About Samsung Electronics
For more information, visit www.samsung.com
About The Thomas Kinkade Company
The Thomas Kinkade Company publishes the work of Thomas Kinkade and distributes his art and related collectibles through independently owned galleries worldwide, an extensive network of branded and licensed dealers, and strategic marketing relationships with more than 70 licensees. The company's primary products are canvas and paper reproductions that feature Mr. Kinkade's artistic unique use of light and his peaceful and inspiring themes. Mr. Kinkade, known as the "Painter of Light™," is the most successful and most collected living artist in U.S. history. For more information, please visit the Company's web site at www.thomaskinkade.com.