Is the Ceiva digital photo frame’s PicturePlan subscription worthwhile?
Ceiva digital photo frames seem to have been designed to encourage people to purchase the PicturePlan premium subscription. At $99 per year, it’s one of the most expensive digital photo frame subscriptions on the market.
Unfortunately, without the subscription, a Ceiva digital photo frame is severely limited. The non-subscription frames are so restricted that they’re near pointless to buy without the subscription.
A PicturePlan subscription lets you receive a minimum of 40 photos every day from other subscribers around the world. It also gives you access to sending and receiving options for loading pictures onto a Ceiva digital photo frame. Without PicturePlan, you won’t even be able to load photos from a memory card or PC onto the frame. This function and many other similar ones are locked behind the paywall. You’ll need to subscription if you want to use the website and app to send pictures to your frame.
There are some features still available like the weather and calendar app, and you still have control over how photos are displayed in slideshows. You can control transitions, slideshow speed, and some style elements like brightness. Beyond this though, almost all other functions and features require the PicturePlan subscription to be of any use.
In summary, without the subscription, Ceiva digital photo frames are nowhere near worth the price they command. You don’t have a choice when it comes to paying up for PicturePlan. Given that it’s one of the most expensive plans on the market, it’s hard to justify its value. Competing frames like the Pix-Star offer essentially the same functionality (and more), but the frame’s price is the same and there aren’t any recurring fees. Ceiva digital photo frames struggle to find their place on the market and even struggle to stand against competitors like the Skylight frame that also has a premium subscription.
How does the Ceiva digital photo frame compare to the Pix-Star?
Due to Ceiva digital photo frame’s high price, it’s hard to justify buying this frame in place of a top-of-the-line frame like the Pix-Star. The initial price is the same as Pix-Star’s 15” frame, and more expensive than Pix-Star’s 10” frame. You then have to factor in the high recurring cost of Ceiva’s PicturePlan premium subscription to unlock basic features (offered for free on the Pix-Star).
Pix-Star’s frames have larger screens (10” and 15”) with a higher 1024×768 resolution. Ceiva’s digital photo frames only have a 640×480 resolution. The result is that Pix-Star’s frames will display pictures much sharper and with better quality color representation.
Pix-Star’s frame is packed with features that make it as easy as possible to send media to the frame. You can use the mobile app to send media to multiple frames at once, link web albums through the web interface (from social media accounts and photo-sharing platforms), send pictures via email, and even connect a USB/SD card directly to the frame. Almost all of the features and functions are locked behind Ceiva’s premium subscription paywall – yet are completely free on Pix-Star’s frame.
When you consider usability and how easy the frames are to use for elderly users – Pix-Star takes the lead again. Their frames specifically cater to elderly users that aren’t very tech-savvy. The instruction manual is much better than Ceiva’s, and the user interface is much smoother. Add in features like Pix-Star’s remote control capability and it makes Ceiva’s digital photo frames feel outdated.
Pix-Star’s multimedia playback, higher resolution displays, versatile features, and free-for-life cloud storage with no recurring fees at all make it the better choice. This isn’t to say the Ceiva’s frames are useless. With the premium subscription active, their frames aren’t bad at all – it’s just hard to justify spending all that extra money to get the same features that frame like the Pix-Star offer for free.
Can Ceiva digital photo frames play videos?
Ceiva digital photo frames do not support video or audio playback. You can only send, receive, and view pictures on Ceiva digital photo frames.
How to send pictures to a Ceiva digital photo frame?
Without the Ceiva premium PicturePlan subscription, the best way to send pictures is to load them onto a compatible USB drive. Insert the drive into the back of the frame to view the pictures. Note that you can’t load pictures via a memory or SD card onto the frame without the PicturePlan subscription.
If you have an active PicturePlan subscription, you can send pictures to a Ceiva digital photo frame like most other digital frames. You can use the website and mobile app to send pictures directly from your camera phone to the frame. Alternatively, you could use load the photos onto a memory card and view them on the frame.
Another way to view photos from other people and friends/family is with the premium subscription’s photo-sharing function. You will automatically receive a minimum of 40 photos daily to the Ceiva digital photo frame. These photos can come from all over the world from all of the other subscribers, and friends and family.
It’s worth noting that almost all sending and receiving options require an annual subscription to work. Unfortunately, there are no workarounds for this, which is quite disappointing considering that competing frames like the Pix-Star offer these functions for free.
Do Ceiva digital photo frames need Wi-Fi?
Ceiva digital photo frames are Wi-Fi capable, but you have to buy the official Ceiva wireless adaptor to connect to home networks. This adaptor costs around $30-$40 and further adds to the already high price of the frame and its premium subscription. You need to be connected to Wi-Fi to save photos from a memory card or USB to the Ceiva network.
One of the biggest drawbacks of Ceiva digital photo frames is that they need to have access to consistent phone networks with a strong signal. This is due to the phone-in function that’s used to let the frame receive photos every day.
This is a huge drawback and means that these frames are far more difficult to use (especially for elderly users). It also means that they don’t work well in areas that don’t have good mobile network access with good signal. Ceiva digital photo frames seem to be the only frame with this requirement; whereas frames like the Pix-Star only need access to Wi-Fi – though they can work offline and display slideshows without internet.
It’s worth noting that the only way to send media to the frame is by memory card or via the phone-in function. Both of these require a premium subscription. Wi-Fi is only used to save existing photos to the Ceiva network.