Using TV to Display Photos

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TwoWheels, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    For the first time in years, I've recently gotten large prints made of several of my photos. While I enjoy them, I tend to get bored looking at the same prints all the time. I also despair when I see our old artwork (that we used to really like) cluttering up our storage space and wonder if someday these new photos will just add to the clutter. Meanwhile, we have a little 8"x10" digital photo frame with some of my wife's old family snapshots that seems to captivate friends when they visit.

    This has led me to thinking about the possibility of getting a dedicated large screen tv to use to display photos. What I imagine doing is putting a few hundred of my favourite photos on it, hanging it in our main living area and having them display for 10-30 seconds each. This would require getting a new TV as we don't have a TV in that area, but it seems like it could be done for the cost of nicely printing and framing several photos.

    Have any of you done this and how has it worked? Are there reasonably priced TV's that can do justice to photos? What resolution is required to maximize the photo quality? What size would work well and be suitable for m4/3 photos? Do you have a smart TV that you can just plug in a USB drive or do you have a computer somehow connected that drives everything? Pros and cons? Other considerations?
     
  2. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    Yep. It works great. We picked up this 24" TV and a wall mount and hung it in the dining room. Now we can run a slide show for our own benefit or show photos to our friends while we sit around the table. No need to haul out the big guns and relocate to another room. Just pop in the thumb drive and hit play. Now I resize all of my photos to 1080 ht to fit the TV. I could stream photos to the TV via wifi if I figured out how. Recommended.
     
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  3. RickinAust

    RickinAust Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Feb 9, 2013
    Australia
    Just buy a chromecast, dirt cheap, and cast what ever is on your PC screen to the TV.
     
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  4. Eternal Newbie

    Eternal Newbie Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Nov 2, 2011
    Wakefield, UK
    Paul Hardy
    I have a NAS drive with my pictures on it; I also scanned a variety of photos of my mother in law from throughout her life into their own folder, and after her funeral played them for family at the house as a slideshow on the TV. A fairly entry-level Blu Ray player with wi-fi connectivity was able to do this. So it might be a way to achieve the same effect. Although I realise this assumes you already have a TV so it may not be as appropriate

    Sent from my SM-A300FU using Tapatalk
     
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  5. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    What about resolution? I look at my photos and see that they're roughly 4500 pixels horizontally. It seems that 4k TV's are roughly 4000 pixels horizontally. Does that mean that a 4k TV would be beneficial (vs a 730 or 1080) or is it more complicated than that?

    What size would be optimal, balancing resolution and viewing size? I have a 42" that's 720p in another room. I tried that with a Chromecast and it looked ok but not outstanding.

    Does your smart TV allow you to vary the time a picture is displayed? Show them randomly?
     
  6. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    640
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    I use an amazon firetv or firestick attached to the TV and installed flickfolio. This just slideshows my flickr stream or albums or you can use the remote to flick quickly through them to find a specific photo. That way I just need to put my best photos on flickr, I don't really want to show people 10 shots of the same thing. I put a lot of my family type shots on flickr but just have them visible to only me or my friends etc. For the best experience its better to crop 16:9 but you do have options to fill the screen (zoom) or to add letterbox type bars. I find this easy to maintain. No swapping or updating usb sticks etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  7. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    Yes it does but the slideshow options are very limited but fine for us. Now set at the 30sec minimum which is pretty short. The TV will resize but I edit to the height of the display which is 1920x1080. I could also stream from the NAS or any attached computer or any online source like flickr or netflix. However I prefer the thumb drive. Just create a folder for each subject and select from the on-screen menu. It is independent of the network and/or PC and works when they're off. It's a basic "smart" TV. But check the specs if you buy one. B&H tech answered my questions before purchase.

    We could use our main TV but it's in the living room and we don't spend a lot of time there except to watch movies. Everyone hangs out in the dining room/kitchen. We got this small TV after the last digital frame went TU. Like yours, everyone liked it and the TV is bigger, better, and cheaper and hopefully more reliable. The frames lasted about a year each. We chose the 24" size so it doesn't dominate the room but is plenty big for close viewing. Turn it off, push it back and it isn't imposing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  8. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Sep 17, 2012
    UK
    I've used several devices over the years to display photos on my TV screen. A problem I've found is that many try to fill the display with the image, which often results in cropping of the image along it's longest axis if the aspect ratio of the image does not match that of the screen. I've also found screen flicker to be an issue on many devices, such as Xbox 360, PS3 and my blue-ray player.

    I haven't exhausted all the possibilities with a Chromecast, but I don't think it's straight forwards to stream local content from a PC to one. It should be easy if you have your photos on an Android device, Google photo account or an online sharing site such as flckr, where you can access your images via the Chrome browser. To stream local files from a PC, you'll need to find a program that supports chromecast, which seems to be a bit 'hit and miss'.

    The best device I've found so far is Apple TV (And it's not often I recommend Apple products). It does it so well. On my TV, there is no screen flicker, the images are displayed beautifully. Slideshows have a lot of customisation and can include itunes music. There are many default themes to chose from, many of which display the images smaller than the full screen resolution, so there is no image cropping and many show multiple images on screen at any one time, which keeps it interesting. It connects to the TV via HDMI and to the PC via wifi. I have a folder on my PC called Apple TV, I simply drop the photos in there and they are included in the slide show. I have the 3rd generation Apple TV that doesn't have on-board storage, so the PC has to be on with iTunes running. The latest version has built in storage so may not need the PC during playback, but I've not used one and I'm unsure.

    Edit: Example >
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
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  9. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    We shoot to a 42" screen if we have clients in the studio during the shoot.
    It's a great distraction tool, and stops them messing with the set or props.
     
  10. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Good topic. I haven't printed photos regularly in many years. We always view and show our pictures via TV.

    We store all of our pictures on a Windows file server (just a PC with a raid array) in the basement. For TV we use Tivo throughout the house. Tivo has a desktop app which we've installed on our server PC that enable picture and video folders to be "published" so they are viewable by any tivo device on the home network. It's very easy and works great. Pictures look great on our 55" tv. Videos scale but still look fine at sofa distance.

    The big benefit if a setup like this is that I don't have I synch or copy files to a device. As soon as I load files to the file server, they can be viewed on the Tivos.

    4K tv will be in our future but haven't bothered yet. I bet it will be great and TiVo just released the TiVo Bolt, a 4K version of their dvr.

    Apple TV would be my next choice, but we're all iOS for mobile devices so the ease of echoing our phone bad tabker screens to the TV is a nice function.

    Not sure how all of the other options work, but I'd look for options that can access your photo libraries directly so you don't have to deliberately synch things over.

    Ha Inf said that though, the simplest two-birds with one stone option that we used was to periodically synch photos to my iPad. When big in use I'd put the iPad on a charger and stand in our family room with a slideshow app which made the iPad into an electronic picture frame showing a new picture every few minutes. The charge cable was also part of an hdmi adapter (an official Apple product) which was connected to our HT receiver. If u wanted to view pics on the TV all I had to do was turn it and the receiver on to that input and they would display just fine on TV.

    Neither of these are as complicated as the description may sound. Very easy in fact if you have a TiVo or iOS devices.

    One thing about the TiVo is that it's supported by Netgear's Readnas NAS servers which works very well also.
     
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  11. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    whatever method you use the time consuming part is selecting the photos to stream or in my case transfer to the thumb drive.. Also helps to resize to fit as the CPU's in the TV are pretty slow and algorithms not very good.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  12. Generationfourth

    Generationfourth Mu-43 Regular

    172
    Sep 11, 2015
    If you have apple tv and use flickr you can have the apple tv use your photo stream, album, etc as a wallpaper. The flickr app is really good as well- it'll allow you to view the photos, slide show etc. It's nice to see photos on a huge tv screen! Whenever I have friends over and they want to see photos I show them through the TV and they are always impressed.
     
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  13. franklyadam

    franklyadam Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 3, 2014
    We do this with our AppleTV only with the apple photostreams instead of flickr. It works great and looks good at 1080p, I have it set to pick a random layout from the photostream and come on as a screensaver at the 1 minute mark. It's very captivating for our family when they are over.
     
  14. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    Thanks for all the input. I'll have to spend some more time looking at which specific option will work best for us, but everyone sounds positive about it in general. At this point, I think I'd lean more toward a smart TV and a usb drive just so that I don't have to go turn on or wake up some other device before it starts. But on the other hand, there would be some significant advantages to having new photos automatically stream to it.
     
  15. franklyadam

    franklyadam Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 3, 2014
    My advise on the smart TV is don't bank on it for long. I got a samsung one a couple years ago, it worked ok for a few months ( not super fast even in the beginning ) Samsung abandoned software updates on it pretty quick and we ended up getting the AppleTV. Maybe the new sets are better but overall I think the separate boxes are the way to go since they're cheap and getting faster each generation, upgrading a TV every year is expensive :)
     
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    TCL brand TV's often come with Roku built in. There is a Roku app for flickr. You could set it to just slideshow through your photostream or a given album. That would make updates easy and painless.
    I don't think you need 4k, but it is getting cheaper. Smaller TVs wouldn't benefit, though.