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Digital Picture Frames Bring New Life to the Same Old Walls

By David Langs

Let's be frank, flowers and chocolates followed by Sunday brunch has become as passé and ubiquitous as a necktie on Father's Day, and Moms appreciate a well-thought out, useful and entertaining gadget as much as anyone else would. That said, digital picture frames are hot new items any mother can use to show off her library of digital snapshots in a unique and easy to use device.

In this new digital era, we all have an ever-growing library of photographs that unless you're the curator of the Guggenheim, are becoming increasingly difficult to showcase around the house. Printing, online galleries and leaving a home computer on all day have obvious limitations, and all three make questionable gifts for Mom. Thankfully, there are plenty of low to mid-priced digital picture frames that allow for a large, customizable gallery of photos to be displayed with a minimal amount of fuss.

Admittedly, digital picture frames have a rather vague and often awkward way of being described. In most cases, the frame itself is the least import factor when choosing one. What are the important features you should consider? Screen-size, resolution and file compatibility are the trifecta of base parameters. Extras include: Wi-Fi, multi-card readers, interchangeable frames and battery power. The following is a small sample of digital picture frames we have available with screen sizes ranging from 1.1 to 19 inches.

We begin with the most heartwarming (pun alert) digital frame in the lot, the Tricod DigiFrame 1.1" Heart Shaped Mini Digital Photo Frame ($39.95). This inexpensive, high-tech bit of
bling has a 1.1” diagonal screen that can store over 50 JPEG images and present them as a slide show. Moms may also choose to carry the pendant around the neck with the included neck chain, or in their purses with the included keychain loop. Since this is a gift for someone you love, the DigiFrame comes packaged in a heart shaped box, which, if you're the lazy type, can save you the hassle of gift-wrapping the box.

The Digital Spectrum MF-575 ($77.95) is a 5.6” LCD screen surrounded by an elegant wood frame that can be replaced with any 5 x 7” picture frame you might have to match the living room décor. The MF-575 has a memory card slot, which can accept media from digital cameras using CF, SD/MMC or Memory Stick cards. So after a day of picture-taking, your Mother can simply take the card from her camera, then place it in the frame for all to enjoy.

If you are in the market for a larger screen and more features in a digital picture frame, Phillips 7” Digital Frame with Four Interchangable Frames ($159.95) fit's the bill. Specifically designed for Mother's Day, it not only comes with the four standard interchangeable snap-in frames (white, silver, red, and black,) but also has a lovely floral pattern printed around the screen. The crisp 800 x 480 image display is able to run off AC power, or its built-in battery for roughly one hour.

The Media Street 10.4-inch eMotion Digital Picture Frame ($189.95) is sure to evoke a few sweet emotions of its own. Not limited to JPEGs the Media Street eMotion Digital Picture Frame can also present AVI and MPEG video. MP3 music can also be played in conjunction with photo slideshows; the sound is output from the eMotion's stereo speakers. Mom can take control of the viewer with the included wireless remote and watch on its high-resolution 800 x 600 screen, or she can connect to a secondary display with its TV out port. All of Mom's multimedia files can be housed in the eMotion's 128 Megabytes of internal memory, externally on a memory card, or via a USB drive that can be linked to the eMotion's USB 2.0 port for external storage. Mom no longer has to run up to the attic to break out your embarrassing baby photos from dusty family albums; now she can keep them running 24/7 on her new display! (Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all?)

If your mother is hip to this brave new digital world and tosses around terms like “gigaflop” with aplomb, she may find the Momento 70 Digital Picture Frame

($199.95) to her liking. Even if the word 'gigaflop' sends her scurrying to Wikipedia (as a good number of you are doing right now), the Momento 70's most outstanding feature will certainly be appreciated. This 7” frame with onboard Wi-Fi adapter, can establish a cable-free connection to any Media Center PC enabled with Microsoft Sideshow. This connection lets a PC and the Momento share photo, video and audio files, as well as streamed data like: stock prices, news or weather reports. Additionally, MomentoLive, an accessory software package, lets this digital frame share pictures through the internet.

Clearly, there is a broad spectrum of digital picture frames on the market but what is listed here illustrates some features and prices of useful gifts for your mother. A useful Mother's Day tip; you can give the gift of a digital picture frame an extra nice touch by taking the frame out of the box and preloading it with some special photos before you give it away, but be forewarned, all of your most embarrassing photos will eventually end up displayed on the screen, after all - Moms will always be Moms even in this new digital era.

Please note: All prices are subject to change based on current market prices. The prices contained in this newsletter reflect current prices at the time of publication.

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