Digital Photo Frame

One of the wonders of 21st-century technology is digital photography. In 2006 alone, a mind-boggling 72 billion digital photos were taken, with most of them stored away in computer CPUs and camera memory cards. One product that has been invented to retain and display these images and which is finding its way to more and more homes is the digital photo frame or DPF.

Coming in a variety of sizes, DPFs retains the traditional photo frame look, but instead of still pictures, they display digital or JPEG images, MPEG video files, MP3 audio, Internet RSS feeds, and photo sharing site images, all in slideshow format. Other less common supported formats include BMP, GIF, PNG or TIFF. They also come in either wired or wireless format.

DPFs consist of three main parts:

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panel – This is the thin, flat display device that projects the chosen images. Seven-inch or smaller panels normally use analog thin film transistor (TFT) LCD panels, while bigger models usually use digital panels with higher resolution resulting in better picture quality. Available resolutions usually range from 640 x 480 to 1280 x 1024 pixels, but image quality decreases as the screen gets larger since the available pixels become less compact.

Printed Circuit Board (PCB) – This is where the DPF’s software is stored, which enables use of different file types and memory cards. Many DPFs pictures come from a camera memory card, while other pictures can be accessed via a USB connection. Some DPFs have built-in-memory, but such memory can only allow small storage amount and is relatively expensive. Also, DPFs with internal memory allows permanent storage of images that can be displayed/played even without a memory card. The amount of images that can be stored in a memory card is also the same for the DPF that utilizes it.

Framing– This is the part of DPFs that adheres closest to basic photo frame features. While many models are in plastic or resin, others still utilize the more common wood, metal and chrome. Some frame styles allow different frame options (known as bezels). Most DPFs are meant to be placed on a table, desk or counter top, but a few DPFs can also be hung on a wall.

Ceiva Logic, a company established by former Disney executives in 2000, pioneered in the production of DPFs, which brought about a totally new market sector. Along with DPFs, Ceiva offered a regular service plan that allowed customers to share photos. Another pioneer DPF is the Kodak Smart Picture Frame, which allowed downloading of images via dial-up connection to the Internet and also regular digital photo service.

Current DPFs are a lot more sophisticated, allowing a wide variety of features once considered unlikely. A good example is the MemoryFrame 8104 Premium brand. Its Internet-friendly applications integrate the new multimedia features of Microsoft Windows Vista and can support other Windows capabilities such as Media Connect and Connect Now. It also fully supports the features and capabilities of Windows XP when used with Windows Media Player 11.

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