Turn Your Home Theater Into an Art Gallery With Artcast

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

Artcast Example - Painting Displayed On TV

Artcast

We spend hours watching shows and movies on our TVs, but why settle for an ugly black screen when your TV is Off? Instead of turning your TV off, leave it on and use it to display classic artwork and more.

Introduction to Artcast

The Artcast Lite Menu

Artcast

Artcast is a streaming service that allows you to display art on your TV. It's available on Roku Boxes/Streaming Sticks, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Also, select Artcast content is available to Netflix subscribers (details outlined later in this article).

There are two viewing options within the Artcast App - Lite (free with Ads) and Premium (requires a paid subscription - a free 7-day trial may be offered). 

The Lite version is not currently available due to pending ad support changes. When availability returns this notation will be removed. 

Artcast Lite features about 160 Galleries, while the paid-version features over 400 galleries, and a total of 60,000 paintings, photos, and videos. New Galleries are added weekly.

All the galleries are auto-looped, so, once started, you don't have to come back later and restart playback. However, if you decide to select another gallery to display, on the free version, you have to wait for ads to play.

Each photo or painting displays for 60 seconds.

Some artwork may contain nudity.

Gallery categories for Artcast include:

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

The number of galleries included in each category varies.

Artcast photos, painting, and videos can be streamed via several devices and services. Ad-free premium version on the following platforms are as follows:

  • Roku TVs, Streaming Sticks, Boxes: $2.99 per month.
  • Apple TV: $4.99 per month (Gallery Pass).
  • Amazon/Fire TV: $2.99 per month.
  • Netflix: Stream Select Artcast Still Image and Video Galleries on Netflix are available to view in 4K resolution, including Jellies (Jellyfish), Ocean Wonders, and International Street Art (included with Netflix subscription).

To access the Artcast images and videos in Netflix, sign in or create a Netflix account (monthly subscription required – but free trials may be available) and type in the above titles in the search. If you have a 4K Ultra HD Smart TV, you can also go into the Netflix search box and type "4K" and see them listed there as well. If you don't have an Ultra HD TV, the still images and video will default to 1080p or lower, depending on your available broadband speed.

How To Set Up Artcast

Artcast App on Amazon Fire TV

Here are the steps required 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. Search for the Artcast App in the streaming device's respective App Store.
  2. Download and install the ArtCast App and choose an available free or 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 (there are over 400 - including photo and video galleries) and starting viewing. 
Find Artcast App in Roku Channel Store

Hands-On With Artcast

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

Using a Roku Streaming Stick to check out Artcast, the paintings and still photographs looked excellent on a Samsung 4K UHD TV. The example shown in the above 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. In other words, the images you see on the TV used in this article are 1080p source images upscaled to 4K.

However, one of the important things to point out is that on Artcast Lite, when playing back video galleries — the video is susceptible to macroblocking/pixelation issues. On the other hand, 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 of on 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.

If you walk away and just let your chosen painting or photo gallery run, it will auto-loop (video galleries do not auto-loop in Artcast Lite).

According to Artcast, much of their image library is in 4K. However, only up to 1080p resolution via streaming is provided at standard subscription prices. A 4K viewing option will be implemented gradually as an in-app upgrade purchase late in 2019 or early 2020.


Except for some of the video galleries, there is no background music soundtrack provided. However, Apple TV boxes allow users to combine music from their iTunes library with the display of painting and photographs. Music options for other platforms are forthcoming.

Artcast: Photo Display Example

Artcast - Travel Photo on TV - Thailand

Shown in this page is an example of a photo displayed via Artcast.

Artcast includes travel, wildlife, and even vintage B&W photos in its gallery library as well.

The particular photo shown above is one in their collection of Thailand travel photos.

Artcast Pros and Cons

Artcast Example - Mona Lisa Displayed On TV

What We Like

  • Artcast provides a convenient way to display art in your home without the expense of purchasing it.

  • The art and photo displays can provide a great backdrop to special occasions — there are even galleries devoted to setting the mood for specific holidays.

  • You can also use Artcast as a prelude to a "movie night" as your family or guests get settled into their chairs.

  • Your TV can look good even when not being used for watching TV or movie content.

What We Don't Like

  • All Artwork, Photos, and Videos are formatted to the 16x9 Aspect Ratio. Although this means that all the images fill the entire TV screen, not all artwork (especially classic portrait art) was created in that aspect ratio. An example of this is Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, which is shown above. There are areas above and below Mona Lisa's face and shoulders that have been cut off (including the hands folded on her lap) in order to fit the painting in the TVs 16x9 aspect ratio screen.

  • Artcast Lite is free, but you have to put up with a series of ads before each gallery starts, and if you manually restart the gallery, the ads will play again. Also, if you move from gallery to gallery, new ads will play for each gallery.

  • On Artcast Lite, the quality of the video galleries is inconsistent with video artifact issues (mentioned previously). However, on the Premium version, the video galleries look fine.

The Bottom Line

The Artcast Lite Menu - Apple TV Version

Artcast

Artcast adds to your entertainment experience, but there is more to consider.

Artcast provides an interesting option to integrate artwork (both paintings and photos) into a home theater setting.

Although Artcast is promoted for TVs, if you connect a Roku Box or Streaming Stick 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.

If Artcast Lite is available on your device, it is a great way to sample the service, but stick to the painting and photo galleries, and take a pass on the video galleries.

The Premium version of Artcast delivers the best experience. You can cancel at a later time if it does not suit your needs.

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

All Artcast-provided galleries come with a background music soundtrack.

In addition to home use, Artcast is also available for use by Airlines, Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants, and in Healthcare settings.