Digital Frames 

Digital frames or digital photo frames are popular nowadays due to the widespread use of digital photographic cameras. With traditional photography, pictures were taken on film. In order to see the pictures, the film was developed, the pictures were printed and then placed in frames or most likely in albums for viewing.

Although digital photographs can be printed as well, this is not done as regularly as it was with film photography. Unfortunately, this means that many of the digital photographs taken are not easily viewable and often not viewed at all after being taken. Initially, in order to view most of the digital photographs in a collection, a person needed to sit at a computer. However, with the popularity of large format cell phones and tablets, viewing digital photos became a bit more convenient. In addition, digital frames are another method of viewing digital photographs.

Digital photo or picture frame from Insignia. This is an 8 inch frame in 4:3 format, 800x600 resolution, 256MB internal memory, and many other features.

What are Digital Frames?

A digital picture frame is essentially a mini computer in a frame and it displays digital pictures in a slide show format. The procedure to load the images on the digital photo frame is simple and usually performed via a USB memory stick or memory card. This would depend on what the frame can accommodate.

Photos from a digital camera can be transferred from the camera to the frame and then the undesired images can be deleted or selected to not display, or the digital photos can be downloaded to a computer first. This latter method works best because it is easier to select and arrange the photos on the computer rather than on the digital picture frame. From the computer, the digital photos to be displayed are saved on a memory stick and then loaded into the digital frame.

Some frames have a USB port so that the frame can be connected to the computer directly. This makes transfer of images to the frame very convenient and quick. A wireless function is another feature than may be found on these picture frames. This connection to a computer makes downloading and sharing of images even easier.

Side view of a digital frame showing connections such as the USB port, Compact Flash (CF) card slot, Secure Digital (SD) card slot and more.

Frame Sizes

Digital photo frames generally range from 7 to 19 inches in size. The screens in these frames are LCD screens and they can be widescreen (16:9) format or standard 4:3 format. It is best to choose photo frames with a high resolution for best viewing of the digital photos. A minimum resolution of 640 x 480 is necessary, although a higher resolution is most definitely better, especially when going with a larger digital picture frame. Depending on the frame, a variety of picture formats can be displayed such as JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, etc.

Digital Photo Frame Features

A number of different features can be found on these digital frames such as the ability to add video and audio. Slideshows of the digital images can be created with a number of different transition effects. Timing of the slideshow can be easily adjusted. Many of the digital picture frames also come with a remote control for easy navigation through the menus. Some frames also have touch screens in addition to the remote.

A great feature to have is a motion sensor. With this feature, the digital frame can be left powered on and only turn on when someone is in the room and activates the sensor. Frames can have a variety of different finishes such as wood or metal and can be either hung on the wall or displayed on a coffee table, bookshelf, etc.

Digital Picture Frames and Long-term Storage

Digital photo frames are great for displaying and sharing digital photos but they should not be used for long-term storage of the photographs. Many frames do possess internal memory storage of 8 GB or possibly more, which would allow the placement of many digital images on the frame, but the storage method used is flash memory. The advantage of flash memory is that the photos can be displayed fast and the photos are not erased when the frame is turned off. The problem is that the longevity of flash memory is uncertain and therefore, it is best to use these frames for display only and not storage.

Digital photos should be stored on stable CD-Rs or stable DVD-Rs and on an internal or external hard drive to have a second copy of the images.

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