By Greg Illes
Most of us take pictures of the places we’ve been. Although few of us make a lot of pro-quality photos, many of our snapshots are well worth keeping, and worth displaying for that matter. The picture below, for example — it’s just a sandpiper in flight to most people. But to me, it’s that bird that I caught on-the-fly, low over the shoreline of Mann Lake, during a memorable excursion into the lonely, remote reaches of southeastern Oregon.
Everybody has a collection of these fond memories. But whereas we used to have to thumb through tiny 4×6 prints, handing them around, now we all can easily view our (digital) treasure troves on our computer.
Once upon a time, you could buy a dedicated “photo frame” to display pictures from an SD card. But these were small, and fairly expensive; they are all but gone from the marketplace these days.
But wait!! There’s still a way to share digital photos, an even better way, in a continuous slideshow, at home or on the road, using that oh-so-common appliance, the television.
In the last few years, most TVs have been equipped with USB ports, and all the ones I’ve experimented with (admittedly only a few) have had embedded slideshow firmware. Put your photos on a USB hard drive, plug it in, and power up. The TV (if so equipped) will come up with a simple selection/activation sequence, and before you can say “whadayaknow,” you’ve got a bunch of photos sequencing across your TV screen. Now you can have that photo-frame slideshow at any size you want (assuming available space and money).
Obviously, this isn’t too appealing if you’re boondocking and trying to save power, but if you’re hooked up, or at home, running a TV is no big deal, power-wise.
TIPS for TV SLIDESHOWS
- Make sure your TV is slideshow-capable; if it has a USB port, it probably is
- Transfer your favorites to a USB drive; these are made very small these days, you can buy them on Amazon less than an inch long for ten bucks or so
- Plug in the USB drive, turn on your TV, and follow the prompts
Many TVs have settings for how long to pause on each slide, what kind of sequence/fade to use, whether to go random or sequentially, and so forth.
If you have a USB drive that won’t quite fit your TV or is hard to insert, you can also purchase a USB extender cable, which will always solve that problem.
I have over a thousand photos in my “frame.” We have a LOT of fun with our slideshow setup, and it will often stop or disrupt a conversation — in a very pleasant way.
Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his excellent blog at www.divver-city.com/blog