Best way to view photos from PC on TV?
December 18, 2015 2:27 PM   Subscribe

My parents love to look at and show off stuff from their 200+GB photo collection on the big TV in the living room. They currently use a last-gen AppleTV which works fairly well once you actually get into the folders list, but getting there sometimes takes 20-30 minutes with just the "Loading" spinning circle. Additionally, there is no way to zoom in and pan around on a photo, a feature they would love to have. Would the new Apple TV improve things?

I have not been able to find any good details on the equivalent functionality in the new Apple TV. Has it improved at all? Alternatively, are there any good apps in the TV app store for doing this? Is there another device like Roku that does better?

Note that I know they could do use one of the mirroring options and do this from a laptop, but they aren't interested in that. Ditto for doing some HTPC setup. It needs to be a simple, lean-back, remote control oriented solution.
posted by SpookyFish to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From experience even doing this on a PC over the network, this is a bandwidth limited thing.

Is the PC/NAS with the photos on it connected via a wired network? Is the apple tv?

I have a feeling, also having had issues with this on the OSX finder, that it wants to index and start thumbnailing the whole thing, even the subfolders, before even letting you view a folders list.

My recommendation of something to try would be to make each SUBfolder it's own share, not just a big share that's "photos" full of the subfolders. This way it'll only try and index that one folder. And try and keep it to like, at most, maybe a hundred photos per folder. 200ish seems to be the crossover point to lag city.

The fastest tv-photo-viewer-thing i have is my amazon firetv, but it seems like they either never added or took away the ability to view local network photos and it's cloud only now? I swear either hearing about or seeing that as a feature, but it's definitely gone now. Boooo. I can give it a double thumbs up if you're willing to upload 200+gb of photos to the cloud, but i have a similar amount of photos and said fuck it to that too and wouldn't blame you for saying the same.
posted by emptythought at 3:18 PM on December 18, 2015

Do it from an iPod touch or iPad via AirPlay. It's a very simple setup.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:43 PM on December 18, 2015

The Playstation can do this. It can read a USB drive of images and display them onscreen in various slideshows along with manual zoom and pan controls. I've never tried it with 200GB but as long as the drive is formatted to the Playstation's exacting specifications it should behave. Sony sells a Bluetooth remote for operating Netflix, Hulu, etc that also works for browsing photos.

Roku does this as well, browsing photos directly from an attached USB drive through their "Roku Media Player" channel. It's less elegant than the Playstation but it works.
posted by Jeff Howard at 8:28 PM on December 19, 2015

Response by poster: Doing it from an iPhone or iPad would be fine, except I can't find a good way to access the photo collection from the PC there either. Apple's music and video apps let you access these via home sharing, but not photos. Maybe with Plex, but that's expensive for something that should be pretty basic functionality.

The point is to access them directly from the PC, without putting everything in the cloud or having to sync small parts at a time to an i device or USB stick.
posted by SpookyFish at 1:18 PM on December 21, 2015

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