Who Wants a Digital Picture Frame?

By: Peter Handleman

What is a digital picture frame and who wants one? A digital picture frame is the latest gadget for showing off your digital photos. If you're like most people, you have an extensive collection of digital images on your PC or Laptop, but they rarely see the light of day. Enter the digital picture frame.

A digital picture frame lets you show off your digital photo collection to friends and family when they come to visit in a way which will still fit into your home's interior style. Digital picture frames are designed to look like traditional picture frames and come in many colors, styles and finishes so you're sure to find one to match your home's internal furnishings.

Most digital picture frames consist of 3 basic parts - an LCD screen, a PCB to hold the device's software and an outer frame to add to the aesthetics of the device. The frame will normally display either a single picture or a slide show.

Frames come in a variety of sizes with screen sizes of around 7 and 8 inch being common. However sizes from 5 inch right up to 15 inch (and even larger) are readily available.

Almost all digital picture frames come with support for your digital camera's memory card. Compact Flash, Secure Digital, MultiMedia Card and Memory stick formats are readily supported with some offering support for xD-Picture Card format as well. In the most basic models, all you need to do is plug in your memory card and the frame will display your photos either as a single image or as a slideshow.

A nice feature to have in your frame is internal memory. This will allow you to transfer your digital photographs to the memory of the digital picture frame and to continue displaying your photo's even after retrieving your memory card to fill up with more photos. A USB interface is also handy to have in this case. You can transfer images from your computer (or a USB device like a thumb drive) to your frame's internal memory. If you have a large digital photo collection, this will save you messing around with memory cards, transferring the images piecemeal.

As you go up the price scale, you can expect to see features like built-in speakers and support for various video and music formats.

At top end of the digital picture frame range you will find WiFi enabled models some of which even offer integration to photo sharing sites like Flickr. This way, you can share your photos with friends and family no matter where they are - even if they don't have access to a computer. This is obviously subject to WiFi access.

So as you can see, a digital picture frame has many benefits not only for the more technically minded - but also for the rest of us. And as the technology advances and market penetration improves, digital frames are likely to become more affordable.

Photography
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