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#303715 - 02/11/2007 17:44 Wireless Digital Photo Frames
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I want to buy my parents a wireless digital photo frame for Christmas. It seems like a great way for me and my brothers to be able to share our photos with them (my Mum is always complaining that she doesn't have enough photos of the family).

I'm guessing there are empegers out there who have researched this already, so I thought I'd "rub the lamp" as tonyc put it.

- must be very, very simple to use day to day (my Mum doesn't get on with technology, ideally she should never have to touch it)
- must be able to be pointed at my own RSS feed (or equivalent) on my own server
- must be able to cope with the Internet connection disappearing for days at a time (my Dad turns his router off when he isn't going to be using it)
- needs to keep displaying photos when the Internet connection is down (either by showing photos it has downloading before or falling back to a memory card)
- needs to be as big and have as high a resolution as possible
- needs to be available in the UK

Nice to have features:

- it would be handy if it could download from more than one RSS feed (would simplify me and my brothers pushing photos to it)
- 3:2 aspect ratio


Edited by andy (02/11/2007 18:02)
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#303716 - 02/11/2007 18:11 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I quite like the look of the eStarling 8 inch frame, but I can't seem to find anywhere in the UK that sells them.

http://www.estarling.com/products8w.html
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#303717 - 02/11/2007 18:19 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
It seems that the frame has to get pictures from the company's web site in order to work. What's the deal with that?
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#303718 - 02/11/2007 18:30 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: wfaulk]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Yeah, I am just playing with their demo software that emulates the frame on a Windows PC.

In a way it is very flexible, in that it can get photos from any RSS feed, email address etc

But all the flexibility is built into their website, so their web server fetches the images from RSS, email etc and the frame gets them from their website.

That makes me very nervous, if they go bust or decide to make it a pay website the frame becomes a piece of junk unless it can be hacked in some way.
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#303719 - 02/11/2007 18:44 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3976
Loc: Manchester UK
http://www.udiggit.com/ claim to have them in stock, they're in Gainsborough, but don't let that put you off.
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Andy M

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#303720 - 02/11/2007 19:20 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andym]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Thanks, I had seen that site but thought they only had the 7 inch (as they don't have an 8 inch category).
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#303721 - 02/11/2007 22:15 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
I've looked for a picture frame with similar features and most of them are either crazy expensive or actually really clunky once you actually use it. Most of the cheapo ones are actually composite video LCDs bolted to some crappy DVD player chipset that also displays pictures off a SD/CF card.

The only thing that can do exactly what you want seems to be a laptop...

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#303722 - 02/11/2007 22:32 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: tman]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I'm probably going to give the eStarling one a go, if I don't like it I'll send it back, the Distance Selling Regulations are one bit of government red tape that I do like
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#303723 - 02/11/2007 22:57 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Bad review at gizmodo *shrug* Complains about really bad resolution on the panel.

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#303724 - 02/11/2007 23:37 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: tman]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
That is the 7 inch screen, the 8 inch has 800 X 600 pixels, which is a much higher pixel density than the 480 X 234 on the 7 inch (and also a more useful aspect ratio).

All the complaints on that site appear to be for the 7 inch one, but who knows if the 8 inch is that much better ?

I think I might still give it a go, if I buy it on my credit card then it is pretty risk free even if the supplier gets antsy over the Distance Selling Regs.

I also figure it can't be that hard to hack if they go bust. All it should need is a local DNS entry to point the frame to a local server and some code to simulate what there webserver does. Unless they have gone to the trouble to properly protect the frame-server exchange.

I can't see any other frames that promise the same level of flexibility.
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#303725 - 02/11/2007 23:49 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Quote:
That is the 7 inch screen, the 8 inch has 800 X 600 pixels, which is a much higher pixel density than the 480 X 234 on the 7 inch (and also a more useful aspect ratio).

Oops!

I wonder why nobody else actually makes a digital picture frame that does what we want. I mean it can't be that hard. An embedded Linux board + big LCD + photo frame. Only limiting factor would be price...

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#303726 - 03/11/2007 00:04 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11787
Loc: Sterling, VA
By far the best one I've seen so far is the I-Mate Momento. My godmother gave us one for the wedding, and I like it a lot. The resolution makes the photos look great. You can set it up to track any RSS feed, though I'm still working on getting it to work with an Apple Airport Extreme (it seems to have some issues with the wireless security that Apple incorporates).

If you just use the frame with an SD card like we are, it works perfectly fine. It's also very easy to use and has a nifty RF remote that stores in the back of the unit.

The main issue with the frame is the styling. Your parents might not like the modern styling, but it looks pretty good in our place. Plus the build quality is far better than I've seen from your average display unit in Best Buy.
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#303727 - 03/11/2007 00:07 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: tman]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Quote:
That is the 7 inch screen, the 8 inch has 800 X 600 pixels, which is a much higher pixel density than the 480 X 234 on the 7 inch (and also a more useful aspect ratio).

Oops!

I wonder why nobody else actually makes a digital picture frame that does what we want. I mean it can't be that hard. An embedded Linux board + big LCD + photo frame. Only limiting factor would be price...


Practically *all* of them out there *are* using Linux, and *not* releasing source code. Too small fry for most developers to fuss about, though.

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#303728 - 03/11/2007 00:30 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: mlord]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Quote:
Practically *all* of them out there *are* using Linux, and *not* releasing source code. Too small fry for most developers to fuss about, though.

Ugh. That sucks

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#303729 - 03/11/2007 06:53 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: Dignan]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Quote:
By far the best one I've seen so far is the I-Mate Momento.


I was looking at the Momento ones, but was put off by the yearly subscription that they seemed to need.
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#303730 - 03/11/2007 08:04 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
adavidw
addict

Registered: 10/11/2000
Posts: 497
Loc: Tucson, AZ USA
http://www.photovu.com seems to be what you're looking for.

* They're simple to use
* They're wireless
* They fetch multiple RSS feeds directly
* They're big (17, 19, and 22 inches) and very high resolution

Only problem is that they're ridiculously expensive compared to something like that e-starling. Also I can find nothing on their website regarding any availability in the UK.
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#303731 - 03/11/2007 08:22 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: adavidw]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
They do look interesting and I wouldn't rule them out purely on the basis of the cost. The lack of UK availability is a problem though.
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#303732 - 03/11/2007 11:31 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
Quote:
They do look interesting and I wouldn't rule them out purely on the basis of the cost. The lack of UK availability is a problem though.


You should be able to get them from one of the resellers -- perhaps from the one in Canada.

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#303733 - 03/11/2007 11:38 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: adavidw]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
WEP only, no WPA -- that's a deal killer.

They claim it might appear in a future software update, but an annual "Software Maintenance plan" (feeware) is required to even find out about possible future upgrades.

Duh.

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#303734 - 03/11/2007 11:42 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
One of us should really get our act together, and make/sell a tiny (gumstix size) Linux gizmo to drive generic PC LCD displays over DVI-D (or an HDTV screen over HDMI via adapter..).

It would easily sell tens of thousands of units, and wouldn't need to be priced more than $100-$200. The idea is that it would supply the "digital photo frame" smarts, and drive just about any single-link LCD display of the customer's choosing.

I want five of them here.


Edited by mlord (03/11/2007 11:43)

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#303735 - 03/11/2007 11:47 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: mlord]
LittleBlueThing
addict

Registered: 11/01/2002
Posts: 604
Loc: Reading, UK
This is a popular request - I know I'm interested

I wonder what could be done to make an opensource picture frame? Open hardware? At the very least different component builds with a list of components and instructions on how to assemble?

This guy used an old laptop but that needs people to find just the right second hand hardware - not the right approach.

* supersmall super lowpower svga/lan capable motherboard with wake-timer/wol
* or a *really small* PC (5W apparently) :
* low power lcd screen with tiny bezel suitable for picture-framing
* connectors
* nice hardwood picture frames (I knew there was something Mark could do)

The software is probably easy by comparison...

Sod it
I just registered openpictureframe.org + com - lets see...
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#303736 - 03/11/2007 12:06 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: LittleBlueThing]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
Quote:
* nice hardwood picture frames (I knew there was something Mark could do)


Ah, good. Thanks for remembering me.

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#303737 - 03/11/2007 12:07 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: LittleBlueThing]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
Quote:
I wonder what could be done to make an opensource picture frame?

It would certainly help if we could inspire PCA to get involved..

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#303738 - 03/11/2007 13:17 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: LittleBlueThing]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Quote:
This is a popular request - I know I'm interested

Oooo... Me too!

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#303739 - 03/11/2007 13:24 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11787
Loc: Sterling, VA
Quote:
Quote:
By far the best one I've seen so far is the I-Mate Momento.


I was looking at the Momento ones, but was put off by the yearly subscription that they seemed to need.

You only need that for their "Momento Live" subscription. It has nothing to do with RSS feeds or your ability to use the device with flash memory or other mediums.

So basically, you don't need it at all. I don't have it.
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#303740 - 03/11/2007 14:13 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: mlord]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Quote:

It would certainly help if we could inspire PCA to get involved..

One of his ARM boards that he was demoing in Manchester this year would be ideal and allegedly in the $100 range.

I was thinking about contacting him about it, but never got round to it.

It would be relatively easy with such a board and a small Linux distro to get something that worked. Taking it to the point where it was bullet proof and saleable would take a lot more effort.
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#303741 - 03/11/2007 14:41 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: andy]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Quote:

It would certainly help if we could inspire PCA to get involved..

One of his ARM boards that he was demoing in Manchester this year would be ideal and allegedly in the $100 range.


Yeah. I have (probably) that board here, and that's what I may use it for (someday). It has built-in control for raw LCD panels, and the possibility of adding video-out onto that.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (03/11/2007 14:41)

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#303742 - 03/11/2007 14:57 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: mlord]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5652
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Quote:
Quote:
They do look interesting and I wouldn't rule them out purely on the basis of the cost. The lack of UK availability is a problem though.


You should be able to get them from one of the resellers -- perhaps from the one in Canada.

That isn't really the same as available in the UK though. I don't want to have to be shipping it back across the pond when it doesn't work.
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#303743 - 03/11/2007 15:16 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: mlord]
LittleBlueThing
addict

Registered: 11/01/2002
Posts: 604
Loc: Reading, UK
Hurricane?

Available in batches of 100 - that's 5 for Mark, 3 for me and 92 going begging...
Hmm, I'll keep looking

ah...
this looks better

oh wait ....
That's the one

A bit pricey if you go for their case but looks like a viable starting point...
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#303744 - 03/11/2007 15:28 Re: Wireless Digital Photo Frames [Re: LittleBlueThing]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4138
Loc: Cambridge, England
Pico-ITX IA32 is way overkill for this application. What those of us with home servers probably want is more like the Displaylink stuff, where it's not much more than a wifi-attached framebuffer and the smarts are on the PC. Not that that would suit Andy's parents, but even they would be better off with some little ARM board. Some of the commercial photo frames probably have Sigmatel chips in, but they're done by Sigmatel Waltham (i.e. not Cambridge or Austin) and I've no idea what the software is like.

Peter

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