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Looking for device to convert Memory Card images to VGA output

Posted on 2007-12-02
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I'm looking for a piece of hardware I can put a memory stick in to and have the images on the memory stick displayed on a VGA monitor.  I'm looking for functionallity similar to a Digital Photo Frame, but want to be able to plug my own screen into it.
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Question by:akb
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garycase earned 750 total points
ID: 20392913
The problem is that digital photo frames don't use near the resolution that your VGA monitor most likely supports (depending on the size) unless you buy a 15" photo frame (which has the same 1024 x 768 resolution that a 15" monitor uses).   So even if they had a video output, it would not be at a resolution that would look as good when expanded to a larger monitor size.

There are a couple of options to do what you'd like:

(1)  Build or buy a mini-ITX system ... or if size isn't that important just a small form factor micro-ATX based system and use this as your dedicated photo display system.   I built a similar system using an Asus Pundit that works very nicely for this purpose (that wasn't it's only function ... but that's what it's used for when not being used as a PC).

(2)  Buy any of the popular handheld video/photo players -- i.e. a Creative Zen Vision ... and simply use the video output to display the photos on a TV screen.   This works well ... but does not support VGA output, so you won't get VGA quality, and can't use a VGA monitor unless you buy a video-VGA convertor.

... obviously neither of these will be less expensive than just buying a digital photo frame => so if saving $$ is your goal, you're better off just buying a photo frame.   But the custom options will let you use any size screen you want ... or even change screens whenever you choose.
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by:akb
ID: 20392995
Thanks Garycase.  I am really hoping to find a small stand-alone unit to do the job, if they exist. I'm not too fussed about the cost, but I don't want anything as big as a PC, albeit a mini-ITX system.
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by:garycase
ID: 20393050
Take a look at the nano-ITX [12cm x 12cm] or pico-ITX [10cm x 7.2cm] boards.   The pico-ITX in particular could be built into a VERY small chassis that could easily be mounted behind an LCD screen.

... of course even the mini-ITX motherboards can make a pretty small system => you can buy complete systems in a 7" x 9.25" x 2" case.   Although a pico-ITX system could be quite a bit smaller yet [about 4" x 3" x 2"].    I don't think you'll get much smaller :-)

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by:garycase
ID: 20393060
... as an example, here's a pre-built system that uses a nano-ITX board:  http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/dsm1.jpg

Note that a pico-ITX-based system could be even smaller :-)
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by:akb
ID: 31412233
Thanks Gary
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Expert Comment

by:ohoeflein
ID: 22973216
Did anyone ever find a standalone solution for this? i too want a stand alone version i don't want to have to run linux or windows on this device
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Expert Comment

by:SilntBob
ID: 23145415
I have had this thought in my head for a few years now as well....looking for a simple device to do this task.
One that I have recently considered is the Kworld SA290 which is actually marketed as a TV tuner device for all types of displays..

But in the product description on NewEgg it sounds like it does just that...
http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815260022

$85, free ship.  It isn't is low a price as a simple purpose-built device could be, but it would get the job done.  However, I think that it only supports USB input, so you would have to be willing to put your pictures on a USB stick vs. having memory card support.

While doing a Google search I just found this....LifeView DigiMedia Album or Dream Player model LR232
http://www.lifeview.com.tw/html/products/ia/digimedia_album.htm
http://www.lifeview.com.tw/image/PDF_Data_sheet/LR232.pdf
Which seems to do EXACTLY what I want, but I can't find it for sale anywhere....
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by:garycase
ID: 23145626
The LifeView DigiMedia player had a lot of problems ... wouldn't sync with many VGA devices; had PAL/NTSC selection issues; wouldn't recognize many MPEG/JPEG variants on the media cards; etc.   In any event, it's a discontinued product ... that's why you can't find it for sale.   I don't see any at the moment, but there are occasionally units for sale on e-bay.
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