So, I was strolling through Target last Friday and, being the penny pincher that I am (sometimes) I kept an eye open for that little red price tag that signifies that something is on clearance. Well, over in the electronics department, I spied this gadget sitting on a shelf in the digital picture frames aisle. Curious, I picked up a box. The box contained something really interesting and at an interesting price. The device is basically a digital photo frame without the screen. Your television is the screen. The device accepts most popular memory card formats, including the funky and little used Sony memory stick. The device can display slideshows made up of your photos and playing your mp3 files. It handles jpegs, mp3’s and video in the form of Motion-JPEG. From what I can tell, divx encoded files play as well, but with varying results. MJPEG is a funky codec that lives in AVI containers. I’ve had a hard time finding encoders that are free. I used to have one in the form of Showshifter, a DVR like software package for Windows. Showshifter used MJPEG for it’s native format. The big advantage was that it worked on low powered machinges. I used it in a VIA MicroITX based computer I put together. This thing ran at a gigahertz and less than a gig of ram, using an ATI TV Wonder. Pretty amazing. (What that meant was a crappy under powered computer with little ram and a bad tv tuner that was less than a wonder.)
The device has component video out and is, supposedly capable of 480p/720p/1080i. Composite is less than 480. Video quality is a mixed bag and depends on your source. The basic menuing system looks really bad. I thought something was wrong. However, I remember that this is Digital Decor and the menuing system is nearly identical to the menuing system in the digital frames they sell. The photo slideshow, on the otherhand, looked pretty good. Photos taken with my Nikon D40X looked great. Photos taken on my Moto Q looked appropriately bad. The few videos that I got to play on the device looked about like they would on the computer. MP3 music played just fine.
The device is small and come with a remote control. Priced at $24.95 9.95 at Target on clearance, it is a pretty decent deal. It normally went for fifty, which, I think, is a bit much for what it does.