What’s possible with digital photo frames?
February 12, 2020 5:42 AM   Subscribe

I’m been daydreaming about a setup involving 5-8 screens/frames fixed to a wall. When I pressed a button on a remote, they would all shift to whatever is on that ‘channel’, (i.e. all showing images of different sunsets when I press the 'sunset' button), which could be an image or a loop of images. Ideally, I'd be able to adjust what’s on which ‘channel’ for each screen without having to take them down off the wall! Is this currently possible? And how can I learn more about setting it up?

I don't mind having a dedicated minicomputer for all this, and I'm fairly tech-literate, but I really know nothing about this field. It seems as though this should be a fairly common use case, but I haven't really been able to find the right terms to google!
posted by wattle to Technology (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can get x screens of the same product/producer. They all come with remotes. You just need one, that remote will control them all simultaneously and since they will all have the same file system/menu system, whatever you do on the remote will happen exactly same on all of them.

Put your desired files/photos on the USB stick or memory, every folder system the same, if you want the same image everywhere, then let Sunset01.jpg be the same on all, if not change the image for Sunset01.jpg as you wish, for Sunset02.jpg and so on, you figure this out its not hard.

Set them on the wall. Turn on and navigate all simultaneously with the remote, they will all show the same file / folder / movie / whatever at the same time. I have 15-20 screens for a live performance, and they all respond to the same remote. I don't even need the remote, I just turn them on at the same time, they all start playing what they should, and this is how i keep them in sync. If I need to skip, they all skip at the same time. It looks really complicated but its so mindlessly simple. ;)
posted by gmm at 6:10 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]

Things aimed at consumers don't generally get complicated like this, because the number of consumers that are going to do something along these lines is small. Many of the consumer picture frames barely function for reliably playing what you want off the internet on a single frame.

The digital signage market does do things like this and there's some open source products you might play with.

You could also put something together with multiple Chromecasts.
posted by Candleman at 7:19 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

What is your budget?

The most straightforward way I can think of is getting a massively multiheaded video card (or two!) and stick them in a cheap PC. Random roundup of cheap (older) multiheaded graphics cards.

You can probably find small flatscreen monitors for really cheap - make sure they are VESA mount capable. Hide the cables/ power cords in the walls.

Lots of consumer remotes for PCs.

Can't think of any off-the-shelf software, but looking into "kiosk' might be useful - or maybe a wallpaper application that can change wallpapers and set independent wallpapers for each discrete monitor.
posted by porpoise at 4:13 PM on February 12

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