Digital picture frames have evolved a great deal in recent years and can be a very nice way of displaying pictures. Of course, with so many frames on the market there is significant variation as far as quality, features, and cost. Here are a few things to think about when shopping for a digital picture frame:
The size of the viewing screen can vary from just a few inches to up to about 19 inches. The bigger the more expensive in most instances. The average of course, is around 7 inches; these are popular because they display the typical 4x6 image readily.
The quality of the image that the frame is able to display is also critical and probably the primary factor to consider. Similar to a television, if a person is unhappy with the quality of the picture, they will never be satisfied with the purchase. More pixels generally means higher resolution but it needs to be kept in mind that more pixels are also needed to maintain picture quality as the size of the display area increases. Thus, although 800x600 pixels is probably the minimum resolution desired on a 7 to 8 inch display, more would be recommended for a larger display.
As with any screen, seeing is believing. Thus, taking the time to view an image on the display is important prior to selecting any given frame. Is the picture clarity and brightness adequate, is color accurate, and is the viewing angle acceptable?
Obviously, for many individuals it is important to determine how much they wish to spend. The price range for a digital picture frame spans from around $60 to over $1,300.
There are many features to consider, and like most electronics devices, digital picture frames can possess a variety of other functions that can enhance the experience of enjoying photos.
Digital photo frames vary as far as how many photos can be displayed. The majority are now capable of displaying multiple photos via a slide show type set up. Many have on/off timers and others are more sophisticated with motion sensors that power the display on after sensing movement.
Some of the handier photo frames will orient pictures vertically or horizontally so that they are consistently displayed in the appropriate format. Many will also re-size pictures automatically to assure that they fit on the screen to display the full image, while others allow the user to zoom in on an image when desired. Some digital picture frames also allow manipulation of the image via a remote control.
Another convenience feature offered by many frames is one that digital camera users should be accustomed to; the ability to display thumbnails of images to allow the user to sort through photos prior to setting up a slide show. For those who are more artistically inclined, filters are also available on some frames to allow the display of photos as black and white, sepia, or some other tinted presentation.
For a more complete entertainment experience, some digital picture frames allow not only the display of photos, but also accept movie and music files.
The Technical Aspects
Just as when purchasing a DVD player or any type of display device, buyers need to assure that they understand what types of files will be supported and how they will be transferred to the device. JPEG is of course a common format, but perhaps a user will also want TIF or some other type of image to display. Some digital picture frames have more storage than others; a potential user has to assure that a frame can accommodate the larger file sizes if needed.
As indicated above, some digital picture frames will also play movies and audio files so if such features are desired, it is important to be sure the appropriate format is supported.
Many digital picture frames have a slot for a memory card, in which case it is wise to assure that both the picture frame and the digital camera being used to capture images can accept the same format. Certainly, any device that can work with multiple formats is recommended.
Images can also be transferred via USB port, wirelessly, or via Ethernet connection.
A final technical aspect that a first time buyer might want to consider is the power source. Some digital photo frames get their power from wall outlets only. This can be economical as no batteries have to be purchased or replaced, but it does limit where the frame can be displayed. Batteries on the other hand are more versatile. Again, the ideal situation is to select a frame which is able to operate with either AC power or batteries.
Choosing a digital picture frame should not be a complicated process with a list of the right questions to consider. However, the color and design of the frame around the display should not be the sole consideration as the market has grown to be quite diverse as far as quality and functionality.
Christine Peppler is the webmaster of homemedias.info, an online home electronics store. Visit the site to learn more about a digital camera, camcorder, television or other electronics.