First digital frames appeared on the market around the mid-2000s. They quickly gained popularity, especially as a gift for parents or grandparents. Many young couples would give their parents a digital frame and then would regularly upload new pictures of a baby – this way the grandparents get to see their grandchildren grow even if they live hundreds or thousands miles away. A digital photo frame loaded with gorgeous pictures from your last vacation could also work as a beautiful piece of decor. And a frame loaded with family photos sitting on an office desk or in the corner of a living room makes you relive those special moments every time you glance at the frame.
The digital picture frames, however, never became a huge commercial success. There were some issues with the first generation of the product, that prevented it from becoming a hit.
Problems of the early digital frames:
- display quality was sub-par, since manufacturers often used cheaper LCD panels
- screen resolution was very low, which, combined with point 1, meant the pictures never looked good on the screen
- the frame had to be turned on and off manually, if you wanted to save electricity
- nobody could be bothered with updating the pictures, once they were loaded into the frame
- frames were expensive, with the price of even a smaller frame often exceeding several hundred dollars
Add to that the fact that many frames looked cheap and cheesy, and it becomes clear that digital picture frames are a perfect example of a brilliant idea and poor execution.
Manufacturers did not seem to pick up on this for quite a few years, though… There have been no major updates in the industry for many years with most competition happening on the price alone. Several major players (e.g. Kodak) have either went out of business or stopped producing digital frames altogether.
In the past few years, though, there has been some development in the digital frames world. Several new companies started producing digital frames. And it seems they’ve finally addressed some of the issues that plagued the product for years.
Benefits of modern digital picture frames:
- they look much better than the old ones, making them much simpler to fit into your interior
- the resolution and screen quality got a much-needed bump. In fact, some frames now even feature the IPS screen, well-known for its accurate color reproduction and great viewing angles
- a few taps on the phone or a few clicks on your computer is all it takes to update the images on the frame
- a motion sensor makes sure the frame will only turn on when there’s somebody in the room
- some frames can now play video and audio
- depending on the model, you might be able to send your latest Instagram, Facebook, Flickr and other pictures to the frame automatically