What Is A Digital Photo Frame And How Does It Work?

Wooden picture frame

If you’re looking for a device that’ll make photo storage, display, and sharing more fun and convenient, a digital photo frame should be on top of your shopping list. Here’s the lowdown on this product.

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Everything You Need to Know About Digital Photo Frames

What Is a Digital Photo Frame and How Does It Work?

Younger millennials might consider photo frames passe. The same is probably true with the kids from Gen Z.

This is the very reason why digital photo frames came into existence. Think of digital photo frames as a cool reimagining of those wood or plastic picture frames that litter your grandma’s house.

Aside from that, some businesses also use digital photo frames as digital signage.

The big difference is this: a digital photo frame doesn’t display a single, static picture. It displays an entire catalog of photos, like an uninterrupted powerpoint presentation.

As magical as it seems, what makes a digital frame work is quite down-to-earth. These are the parts that make up this device:

  • Operating System (OS) – A digital photo frame has an embedded operating system. One example is the PSOS, which is the same operating system that runs various electrical testing equipment and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), among others.
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU) – The frame’s CPU is responsible for downloading photos from the product provider’s dedicated website or server.
  • Controls – Most of these frames have basic controls. Usually, there’s just the main power button for the initial boot up and another button for adjusting display brightness.
  • Memory – Typically there’s ROM memory for the OS and Flash memory for storing settings and downloaded pictures.
  • Display – Digital photo frames vary in terms of display size and resolution. Usually, they are as slim as old-school picture frames. Dimension-wise, they follow the size spectrum of tablets.
  • Modem – This makes the frame Wi-Fi ready, which, in turn, allows for photos uploaded to the product provider’s server or website to be downloaded on the device.

All these parts are neatly packed in an almost lightweight and portable device.

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What Should You Consider When Shopping for a Digital Frame?

Here are the things you should consider when shopping for a digital photo frame.

  1. Display – This is probably the most crucial factor. After all, we are talking about a visual-driven device. Here, big isn’t enough. A large digital photo frame should also offer top-notch photo quality. A 10-inch frame should be enough to accentuate the most prominent countertop in your living room. As for photo quality, you can’t go wrong with at least a 12-bit color display in 640×480 pixels.
  2. Photo Storage – Is the frame equipped with internal storage? Or does buying a specific digital photo frame require you to sign up to your product provider’s cloud storage system and store pictures online? Maybe you have the option to choose both. Here, photo storage is critical since you’ll need to know where your files are being stored and where (and if) you can recover them in case a problem arises.
  3. Photo Transfer – There are basic frames that allow manual photo transfer via a memory card or flash drive. Meanwhile, you can also opt for a digital photo frame with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for fast, efficient, and wireless photo transfers. The latter also ensures your photos are safe and recoverable in case something happens to your storage device.

These are just the basics. To level up your digital photo frame game, you may want to look for value-added features, too.

What Other Features Add Value to a Digital Frame?

Here are other features common to digital photo frames. Some of these are premium features, which are only available to pricier models.

  • Personalized Settings — A digital photo frame is usually supplemented with an online product, which can either be in the form of an app or a web site. Through these platforms, users can personalize their frame and slideshow settings, such as photo display schedule and transition type and speed.
  • Audio Compatibility — Most frames are MP3-ready, with built-in speakers. This allows users to stream music on top of photos, with some brands even offering Spotify-integration.
  • Social Media Compatibility — This feature benefits active Facebook and Instagram users. This means that photos posted on these social media platforms are automatically linked to a digital photo frame.
  • Control Options — Most of the basic frames come with buttons or a touchscreen that allow you to control the frame’s settings, but some of the more expensive ones come with remote control. This may seem like a minor feature to add, but it actually goes a long way in keeping your screen clean.
  • Motion Sensing — Some frames have built-in motion sensors that allow them to power up only when it detects motion. With this, you don’t need to worry about manually restarting the slideshow or video playback if you have guests around.

Can You Play Videos on Digital Photo Frames?

Yes, for some. If a digital photo frame has a built-in speaker, chances are it plays videos, too.

Similar to how you’d load photo files, videos would also need to be loaded onto your storage device or from the Cloud. Typical video formats that are supported video formats include MP4 and MPG.

MPG Definition: This refers to a video file that follows the format standardized by MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group).

What Are Some of the Best Digital Photo Frames?

Here are three of the best digital photo frames on Amazon at different price points. All of these have been tagged as an “Amazon’s Choice” product, which means they’re highly-rated, at a good price point, and is available for immediate shipping.

Under $100: Camkory Digital Photo Frame — If you want to test the waters and see if a digital photo frame is for you, check out this starter Camkory digital frame. It features a 7-inch LED display and compatibility with both photo and video files. It doesn’t offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, but it comes with a 32GB SD card.

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Between $100-$150: NIX Advance 15-Inch Digital Photo Frame — If you have a bit more to spare, consider this 15-inch NIX Advance digital frame. It offers a display more than twice the size of the previous frame and boasts of a modern black finish that’ll look good in any home. It also has comes with a Hu-Motion Sensor, which automatically turns the display on and off.

Above $150: Pix Star 15-Inch Digital Photo Frame — If you want to invest in a frame that offers premium features like Wi-Fi connectivity and Cloud Storage you might want to check out Pix Star’s 15-inch digital frame. It also comes with a remote control, which keeps your display fingerprint-free.

Digital photo frame revolutionizes how we store, display, and share photos. This cool invention allows us to safeguard our memories and cherish them at any time of the day and with the exact people we want to share them.

How are you planning to use a digital photo frame? Which brands are you considering, and why? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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