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This tutorial focus on the Samsung SPF-85P digital photo frame. If you own another brand or model then the information here is still valid, but you may need to adapt some things on the CMD files that I will be presenting later. It seems that the SPF-85P is not being sold in the United States. As an alternative I suggest the SPF-105P, which is part of the same model series as the SPF-85P. The SPF-105P has a 10.2-inch (!) screen with support to a 1024×600 resolution. The only problem with the SPF-105P is the 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio that is not ideal for reading considering that the dimensions of a book in real life are closer to 4:3. Anyway, you can always configure the SPF-105P to not use (stretch to) the entire screen when displaying photos.
I really like my SPF-85P because of its 4:3 ratio. The 8-inch screen and the 800×600 resolution are big enough in my opinion considering that many e-book readers have tiny screens. The SPF-85P is practically equal both in software and hardware to the SPF-105P with the exception that the device is smaller and thus easier to hold as you would with a book. You can compare the screen sizes of the SPF-85P and the SPF-105P in the animation below.
Naturally, digital photo frames were designed for display of digital photos, not digital books, but you can always convert your e-books into sequences of image files, hence photos. How? There is a piece of software that you can install on your operating system known as a virtual printer that will print all kinds of data to image files (e.g., JPG, PNG, BMP). VeryPDF Print to Image does exactly what I am talking about, but it is not free. Try googling for "virtual printer driver" and see what you can find. You can also use software that will handle specific document formats such as PDF and convert all pages to images. Some PDFs are entirely composed of scanned images, and so all you need to do is extract them.
There are fundamental differences between an e-book reader and a digital photo frame. Changing pages in a digital frame may not be very comfortable considering that buttons are positioned differently. (The SPF-85P, for example, has touch buttons.) Digital frames weight more and you may not feel like you are holding a book. Also, you cannot search, highlight or resize text since the book pages are stored as images, and you may not be able to jump to a page by its number unless the photo album interface is well advanced. Mostly often, you can only browse through the pages / photos in a sequential manner using their thumbnails and file names as reference. Once you have found a page / photo you can display it and start reading / viewing from that page onward. Fortunately, digital frames allow you to store each e-book in its own folder, which obviously would correspond to an album if we were storing photos.
Popular e-book readers such as Amazon.com's Kindle have a lot of additional features including wireless connectivity to networks with national or even global coverage. You can buy (download) books from these networks or upload them from your computer. However, there are certain DRM (Digital Rights Management) limitations that may be a nuisance when you need to upload some unprotected (illegal?) content to the device and read it right away. All of this contributes to a more expensive price, making digital photo frames a much more affordable option if all you desire is to read e-books in the comfort of your home and away from your PC.
e-book reader $489 9.7" 16-level gray scale 1200 x 824 3.3 GB JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PDF, DOC, TXT, HTML, MP3, ... e-ink, USB, wireless, slim, long battery life, text-to-speech, ... e-book reader $300 6'' 8-level gray scale 800 x 600 512 MB JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PDF, DOC, TXT, HTML, MP3, ... e-ink, USB, SD, lightweight, touchscreen, long battery life, ...
digital photo frame N/A (not sold in the US) 8'' 16 million colors 800 x 600 1 GB JPEG, MP3 alarm lock, USB, SD/MS, short battery life, mini-monitor, ... digital photo frame $160 10'' 16 million colors 1024 x 600 1 GB JPEG, MP3 alarm lock, USB, SD/MS, short battery life, mini-monitor, ...
In the next pages I am going to explain step by step how to prepare and optimize your e-book for upload to the SPF-85P. The optimization steps are not needed if all you want is to get the book pages to show in your digital frame as soon as possible. Remember that you must have a virtual printer driver or similar software that can convert documents to images.
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