Turn Your Home Theater Into an Art Gallery With Artcast

Don't have time to go to the museum? Bring the museum to you

We spend hours watching television shows and movies, but why settle for an ugly black screen when you're not using it? Instead of turning your TV off, use it to display classic artwork and more with Artcast. We explain how below.

What Is Artcast?

Artcast is a streaming service that lets you display art on your TV. It's available on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. The app features over 400 galleries filled with fine art, photography, and videos. All the galleries are auto-looped, so you don't have to come back later and restart playback.

The Artcast Lite Menu
Artcast

Some artwork may contain nudity.

Artcast's galleries include the following categories:

  • Featured
  • Classical Art
  • Contemporary Art
  • Nature and Scenic
  • Travel and Culture
  • History
  • Illustrations and Drawings
  • Chill and Lounge
  • Holidays

Artcast costs a monthly subscription fee to use. The price varies by platform. It costs $2.99/month on Roku and Amazon/Fire TV, and $4.99/month on Apple TV.

How to Set Up Artcast

Here's how to access Artcast on streaming devices.

The exact appearance of each app store and its navigation for choosing and downloading apps may vary between devices.

  1. Download and install the Artcast app from your streaming device's respective app store.

    Artcast App on Amazon Fire TV
  2. Choose an available monthly subscription fee ($2.99 to $4.99) option depending on your device and provide any needed login or payment information.

  3. Browse the assortment of photo galleries available and starting viewing. 

Hands-On With Artcast

Using a Roku to check out Artcast, the paintings and still photographs looked excellent on a Samsung 4K UHD TV. The example shown in the below photo is Vincent Van Gogh's "Fishing In Spring." The image is supplied in 1080p resolution (if your internet speed supports it), but the Samsung TV performed 4K video upscaling.

Artcast - Painting on TV - Van Gogh - Fishing In Spring

We found some macroblocking/pixelation issues when playing back video galleries, while photos and paintings look great!

Each gallery is about 40-to-50 minutes long. For still image galleries, each painting or photo displays on the screen for about 60 seconds before moving on to the next image. Also, using the Roku's remote control, you can fast forward or reverse to any point in each gallery.

Depending on your device, the Artcast app may also allow to you set the time each image can be displayed. May range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. However, plasma and OLED TV owners should be cautious leaving the same still image displayed on the screen for long periods of time due to possible burn-in issues.

There's no background music provided except for some of the video galleries. However, Apple TV allows users to combine music from their iTunes library with the Artcast displays. Music options for other platforms are forthcoming.

Artcast Pros and Cons

While Artcast is a great app for viewing works of art in your home, it does have its drawbacks. We break it all down below.

What We Like
  • Provides a convenient way to display art in your home without purchasing it.

  • The art and photo displays are a great backdrop to special occasions, especially the holiday galleries.

  • You can use Artcast as a prelude to a family "movie night."

  • Your TV looks good even when not being used.

What We Don't Like
  • Everything is formatted in the 16x9 aspect ratio. Although this means all the images fill the entire TV screen, not all artwork (especially classic portrait art) was created in that aspect ratio.

The Bottom Line

The Artcast Lite Menu - Apple TV Version
Artcast

The Artcast app is an interesting option to integrate artwork (both paintings and photos) into a home theater setting, and it adds value to your entertainment experience, but not everyone will want to hand over $3-5 a month to do so.

Although Artcast is promoted for TVs, if you connect a Roku to a video projector, you can have an even bigger screen art gallery viewing experience.

Although TVs can be left running 24 hours a day, don't run down your video projector lamp life trying to do the same thing. Reserve Artcast video projector use for special occasions.

Although 4K provides the best visual experience, the galleries still look great at 1080p.

In addition to home use, Artcast is also available for use by airlines, hotels, resorts, and restaurants, and in healthcare settings.