HomeGift IdeasDigital Picture Frame Video Playback Explained in 5-Minutes

Digital Picture Frame Video Playback Explained in 5-Minutes


Is digital frame video playback a feature worth looking for?

While digital picture frame video support isn’t the most important feature of a digital frame, it’s a fantastic feature for families – especially if they have elderly users that they don’t get to see very often. Videos are a special way to keep in touch and share precious moments with loved ones in a way that photos and audio notes can’t.

Are you on the beach? Just capture a quick 1-minute greeting or summary video for grandma on your phone and send it to granny’s digital picture frame. That how simple the process can be – but that’s not always the case. Most of the time, digital picture frame video playback is sub-par and complicated.

With most cheap and mid-range digital picture frames, video playback isn’t even a supported feature. It’s usually limited to higher-end frames like the Pix-Star. Even then, top digital picture frames like the Skylight and Nixplay lock video playback and sending support behind a monthly/annual subscription paywall – while frames like the Pix-Star offer more support for free.

If you’re eyeing getting a premium digital picture frame, the video playback should be a supported feature. If you’re paying premium rates, this is something you should expect. Avoid paying additional recurring monthly/annual fees to unlock features that are offered for free – and more extensively – with other top frames.

Is the Pix-Star’s digital picture frame video any good?

Pix-Star’s digital picture frame with video support is an extremely versatile digital frame. It’s a premium digital frame and comes with the feature-set and real-world performance to back it up. Pix-Star’s digital picture frames can play videos up to 2-minutes long (longer than almost all other premium frames without charging any subscription fee) and support several different formats.

Pix-Star’s 1024×768 display and 4:3 aspect ratio are perfectly suited to playing videos taken on smartphones and camcorders. Videos won’t need to be cropped and distorted to fit the display as the aspect ratio natively matches most of the time (far more than 16:9 or 16:10).

You can send videos to the Pix-Star digital picture frame via the Pix-Star Snap mobile app or by USB/SD card. The Pix-Star Snap mobile app is arguably the easiest and most versatile option as you can send multiple videos to multiple Pix-Star frames at the same time. You can either capture new videos directly inside the app or select previously recorded videos from your phone’s gallery, folders, and collection. It offers fantastic functionality for families and elderly users as they don’t need to perform many actions to receive and view new videos and photos.

Sending videos to your Pix-Star digital picture frame by USB/SD card is simple and quick. Simply load the videos (in a supported format and length) to the USB/SD card and insert the card into the frame’s relevant ports. You can either view slideshows directly off the SD card or copy the contents to the Pix-Star frame’s 8GB internal storage. All videos can be viewed offline and are backed up to the cloud for further safekeeping and easier storage management.

Pix-Star has a unique feature that lets you control connected Pix-Star frames remotely. You can start slideshows that include videos, manage all the frame’s storage, adjust color and brightness settings, and more! This means elderly users don’t need to manually start slideshows or manage storage for themselves and you can do it from anywhere in the world with a reliable internet connection.

What’s the best way to send videos to a digital picture frame?

The best way to send videos to a digital picture frame is by a mobile app. This often lets you send multiple videos to several connected frames at the same time. Bear in mind that the features and functions of the app will vary between brands and are usually exclusively offered on premium digital picture frames. Some premium frames like the Skylight require an active Skylight Plus annual subscription to use the mobile app to send videos to the frame; whereas premium frames like the Pix-Star offer it for free.

If your digital frame offers video playback but doesn’t have a supported mobile app, the only other way to send videos is by USB/SD card. Make sure the card or drive is supported by the digital frame, load the videos, insert the USB/SD card into the frame’s relevant port, and copy them across to the frame’s local storage. This will let you view the video when the USB/SD card is ejected. Some frames will let you automatically play videos directly from the SD card or USB, but this isn’t universally offered and comes with several format and compatibility issues – and you won’t have control over the play order for the most part.

How to view video clips in a digital picture frame’s slideshow?

Some digital picture frames like the Pix-Star let you include videos into slideshows alongside photos. In Pix-Star’s case, this setting is changed from the settings menu (accessed from the main menu or directly within slideshows). Video clips can be played according to the play order and frequency settings set for the slideshow (also applies to photos and audio notes) and can be played with/without audio.

That being said, most digital picture frames don’t let you include video clips in slideshows. You have to view them individually or by folder as they’re often saved separately from photos and audio files. Make sure you’re clear on the extent of video playback support and slideshows before buying a digital picture frame.

What to look for in a digital picture frame with video support?

The display resolution and aspect ratio are especially important as they influence immersion and can make or break the viewing experience. For any digital picture frame above 8-inches, display resolution should be 800×600 or higher. Bear in mind that higher resolution display panels can be significantly more expensive. We recommend going for a 1024×768 pixel display as the viewing experience offers sharp and clear images while offering arguably the best balance between cost and quality. Most 8-10-inch premium digital picture frames with video playback have a 1024×768 panel or something similar.

Hunt for a digital picture frame with a 4:3 aspect ratio as it natively matches the aspect ratio of photos and videos captured on most smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras. 16:9 aspect ratios often result in photos and videos needing to be boxed in by unsightly black pillar bars (to fill in the unused space). The screen appears smaller than it is which often breaks immersion and negatively impacts your viewing experience, distance, and viewing angle.

digital picture frame
Must read