When you think of a digital photo frame (or digital art frame), those horrible, small displays of old probably spring to mind. Banish all of those thoughts as the Meural Canvas generation 3 is finally a digital display that can bring photos and works of art to life in a completely natural way.
Related: CES 2019
Designed for delivering works of art and great photos, the Meural Canvas is built to provide an experience that’s like standing in front of the original.
The issue with showing works of art or photos on a traditional LCD is that it’s a different type of display. Computer screens are emissive displays. That is, they project light to create the image. Art and photos are reflective. That is, you see them because of the ambient light bouncing off of them. The two are entirely different experiences.
Using an LCD display to show photos and, in particular, artwork, results in something not quite feeling right. Whether it’s the way that the image feels like it’s behind a layer of glass, the overly bright image or the reflections from glossy displays, you can tell something isn’t quite the same.
The Meural Canvas is a different type of screen. We were sceptical at first, but seeing the new generation 3 model in the flesh, we can say that it’s quite fantastic.
First, the displays have no reflection at all. As you can see from the image below, if we’d been taking a picture of an LCD, you’d most likely see a sizeable reflection of us holding a camera, too. Even getting right up to the Meural Canvas, you can’t see yourself.
Secondly, the TrueArt technology, which uses a combination of hardware and software, is designed to replicate images in a lifelike way. For paintings that means bringing the texture of the original medium to life. View an oil painting on the Meural Canvas and you can almost reach and touch the surface, it’s that convincing. Photos look like they were printed on high-grade paper; the result is quite astounding.
With the Meural Canvas generation 3, there’s now a choice of two screen sizes, the flagship 27-inch and the smaller 21.5-inch model. With the older generation, the screen technology was the same, but the product looked like a display mounted into a wooden frame; the new model’s more subtle design gives you the impression of a canvas mounted into a display.
The ambient light sensor has been moved from the previous generation, making it more accurate and allowing the display to change automatically based on the current lighting so that the Canvas can maintain it’s lifelike qualities.
The new model retains the same smart features. Gesture up from the bottom of the image and you can read more information about the current bit of art being displayed. You can use a swiping gesture to move through images.
There’s a phone app for managing the screen, too. You can display your own photos on the screen, but for a subscription of $49.95 a year (there’s currently no UK pricing), you can enjoy a library of 30,000 works of art from museums and artists around the world. It’s a little like bringing a top art gallery into your home.
The 3rd generation Meural Canvas will come out later in the year, although pricing has not yet been confirmed, nor has a UK launch date.