Converting your Digital Picture frame into your personal portable MTV

October 3, 2008 – 2:45 am

Instructions on how to convert a Digital picture frame to be your own personal MTV with your collection of favorite music videos of all time.

Digital picture frames has become ubiquitously cheap and affordable to be in everybody’s home, gone are the heydays where techies with spare laptops had to hack it to create a medium to display a slide show of your digital pictures.

I had received a a Pan Digital Picture Framelast christmas, I loaded up a whole bunch of pictures, but theres only so many times you can cycle through your 1000s of pics before you bore yourself, and you cant even cycle through them once to your peers without them openly hating you.

One cool feature that seems to be underutilized in the more recent digital picture frame is its capability to play various video files.

The resolution of the pandigital picture frame is 320×234 and has slots for Compact flash and SD. With the recent plummet of SD memory cards prices, its possible to pick up a 8GB for under 30 dollars.

With the recent collection of Music Videos I created with the various playlists in my previous post, I thought it would be AWESOME to be able to watch the videos on my picture frame.

Youtube video’s native resolution is 320×240, so its pretty damn close to the 5.6 Pan Digital Picture Frame of 320×234, so playback would match the quality you view on the website.

How I did it:

<magic happens here>
There is a grey area of legalities about downloading videos on youtube, whether you plan on reselling the videos, or if youre downloading copyrighted materials that shouldnt have been on youtube on the first place etc etc. Ill let you come to your own conclusion on whether its kosher to download video.

As so far how to download and convert the videos, there are numerous tools and techniques on how you can download the youtube videos and converting them into a format that your picture frame can read them.

Here is one way:

For myself, I used them “Xilisoft Download Youtube Video program” then the “Any Video Converter” mostly because I wanted a way to batch download and batch convert the 270 video playlist I had created with Songza.com.

Although Pan Digital has the capability to play divx natively, I noticed that it stuttered on some of the larger videos, converting them all to MP4 (Ipod Format) made it the videos all play smoothly.

Once you have downloaded the youtube and converted into the appropriate format, you load them onto a SD card, I fit approximately 75 videos on a 2GB SD Card, so an 8GB would fit all 270 videos easily.

Once loaded, move the card back to the picture frame, traverse through the video files, and wala, your magical customized music video station on your picture frame.

The audio from youtube is normally is 64 kbit/s sampled at 22050 Hz, some of the videos are uploaded with Stereo, you would get 128kbit. Not that shabby, almost passable audio. The Pandigital has a headphone out, which you can hookup to a receiver and with some adjustments  to the equalizer, you can almost enjoy the low bit rate audio with you videos.

</magic happens here>

The idea of having access to 200-300 of your music videos available at your finger tips on a $50 dollar digital picture frame and a 30 dollar memory card is pretty keen.

Another plus is that youtube often ‘cleans house’ and removes copywritten materials, so your playlists that you create online will become ‘gappy’ with ‘content removed’ youtube notices. With this method, your collection is forever safe on your picture frame.

Also, having a slide show of all your favorite music videos is magnitudes more interesting to casual browsers than 100 pictures of you and your friends smiling into a camera at some random location which browsers have no desire to hear the background story to.

This would also be an awesome gift for your SO, friend, family etc of their favorite videos, especially for the more untechnically inclined, having access to all their videos without having to own or know how to work a computer, all with a setup for less than 80 dollars.

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