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How to Transform your Nixplay Digital Photo Frame into a Video Screen

If you’d like to generate a more action-filled window into your past, here’s the trick to get your Nixplay digital photo frame to play video files.

If you own a digital photo frame, I now is an especially important time to feed it with all of your great photos that can remind of you of your normal life.

You can also take it one step further and feed your frame with videos. That will create a motion-filled window into your past to look through. And that can go a long way to help you stay tethered to some sense of normal.

Nixplay’s iPhone App is the Video Path to your Frame
As you may recall, my family and I have enjoyed our Nixplay digital photo frames for the past few years. Recently, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the video playback capabilities of my newer Nixplay Smart Photo 10.1 Black” frame.

But, that experience has quickly reminded me that it takes more than a click to load video content onto a Nixplay photo frame.

If you’re also looking to put video clips onto your Nixplay frame, the only way to do it is via your iPhone. The trick is using the Nixplay iPhone app. Here’s how…

Move your Videos to the Nixplay Ecosystem
If your video was not shot on your iPhone, you must first transfer your video to, and save it, on your iPhone. I do that using Apple’s native Photos app:

  • Create a shared Photos album on your Mac that your iPhone can also access.
  • Drop the video file in the shared Photos album on your Mac.
  • Next, find the shared video file on your iPhone.
  • Save the video file.
  • Assign it to a ‘Nixplay Videos’ folder in the Photos app to use for the following steps.

The App will Do the Rest
Next, go to the Nixplay app on your iPhone. That’s where the real action happens:

  • From the Nixplay app’s home screen, click on the ‘plus’ icon on the bottom.
    (The Nixplay app then accesses your Apple Photos albums to choose from.)
  • Search for your new ‘Nixplay Videos’ album under ‘Collections.’
  • Open the album and select the video file(s) you want to upload to your Nixplay account.
    (You can only transfer ten at a time.)
  • Select the specific Nixplay playlist you want to move the video files into.
  • Tap ‘Send.’

These ten steps aren’t exactly an efficient process, but it does work. If your video is already natively on your iPhone, it’s a lot easier. Clearly, the Nixplay designers envisioned this video upload process as a shoot-and-immediately-transfer-over-via-app experience. As you move further away from that, the complexity grows exponentially.

Fifteen Seconds is All You Get
By the way, your videos can’t be more than fifteen-seconds long, unless you upgrade to the $49.99/year Nixplay Plus plan. Among other benefits, this ‘Plus’ plan allows you to upload videos that are up to one minute in length.

If you’re using the basic plan and choose a video to upload that’s longer than fifteen seconds, the app will automatically trim it for you and keep the first fifteen seconds.
(The app also gives you the option to trim out more if you’d like.)

If you do want to upgrade to get the flexibility of displaying one-minute video files, Nixplay will give you 50 GB of storage vs. the 10 GB of the standard plan. (You’re going to need it!)

Background Imagery Works Best
You can actually show a lot in fifteen seconds. I believe the experience you should try to create is a video tapestry of moving images that you can enjoy from any point in the playlist.

Your viewer shouldn’t feel forced to consume longer ‘clips’ with a clear beginning and end. Otherwise, you’re effectively trying to turn your digital photo frame into a TV. That shouldn’t be the user experience with a digital photo frame. A television dominates the environment. A photo frame sits in the background.

And even though a newer Nixplay frame can play video files with audio, it still can’t get you deep into a video immersion with a one-minute cap.

So you should think about the kinds of videos that will work best with these limitations. For me, I’ve been focusing on displaying my recent outdoor timelapse videos I’ve been shooting with my DJI Osmo Pocket camera.

They’re ten-seconds each. Short. Snackable. Yum.

Video Treats from your Photo Frame
I’m quite satisfied with these reminders of normality via these short video moments.

Thank you, Nixplay.

Why Nixplay Smart Photo Frames are Better as Screens for Video

Nixplay’s new smart digital photo frames can handle HD video files transmitted via your iPhone. Here’s why that’s a game changer.

I picked up one of the next-generation Nixplay Wi-Fi digital photo frames over the holidays to support my ongoing quest to provide more exposure for my recent family photos. I’ve generated thousands of family images over the years, and most never get any screen time, let alone make it to the physical print stage.

Yes, I know that many folks use their smartphones and shared cloud photo albums for this purpose. Or they just email pics around. But that design requires an action from both the sender and receiver. A Wi-Fi digital photo frame only needs the recipient to glance over and see what’s on the frame.

Plus digital photo frames have the huge advantage of being able to cycle through many photos.

My new frame is the Nixplay Smart Photo 10.1” Black.
$152.99 at Amazon Prime

HD Video Capability
But a funny thing happened while I set up my new Nixplay frame, which was a snap… and an entirely different experience than earlier generation Nixplay frames that I had to wrestle with.

I finally processed that these current Nixplay frames now have the capability to playback HD video files.
(Older Nixplay frames could only handle SD videos, which required you to first convert your native HD MOV video files to lower-resolution AVI files. Ugh.)

So, this improvement instantly sets up a simple distribution pipeline for all of my family video clips that have had an even harder time finding an audience than their photo cousins.

But before I was able to get too excited, I read the fine print:
The length of videos is limited to a mere 15 seconds.

Well, how Vine of them!
(I expect this is not so much a creative choice as a limitation of the hardware handling huge video file sizes.)

Still, you can do a lot with 15 seconds.

Straight Out of Hogwarts
And once you put together a playlist of short video clips using the Nixplay iOS app, it creates a whole new visual experience on the frame that a sequence of digital photos simply can’t compete with.

I immediately set up a series of video clips for my Nixplay highlighting our day’s fun sledding during a light snow storm.

I felt like I was transported to the middle of a Harry Potter movie where photos and paintings come to life. Watching the videos on the frame was really that cool!

For the record, I kept the frame’s audio functionality off. Sure, it would be great to hear the sound, but I think only when you’re actively showing off your videos. Otherwise, it would be too intrusive as an ongoing environmental background element.

15-Second Videos for your Photo Frame
To simply throw your clips into a playlist for easy viewing and not have to edit together a finished video… that’s so quick and easy!

Plus, video files fit perfectly in this HD 16×10 aspect-ratio frame.
(The screen resolution is 1280×800, which is essentially 720HD. That said, my 1080p video files have been playing back fine.)

Sure, there are still some drawbacks.

The 15-second video limit is depressing, but it also respects people’s limited attention spans. If you want to show off the ten-minute school chorus performance that your child was a part of, you’ll simply need to tether your viewer to another screen.
(If you’re interested, I be happy to set up my video for you.)

And the restriction to load videos only via the Nixplay iOS app means you’ve first got to get your video onto your iPhone. So that could mean another step or two if you’re not working with native iPhone videos.

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately shooting time lapse videos with my new DJI Osmo Pocket.
Snowy Day at Cranbury Park
Still, a digital photo frame that can easily play your HD video files is a big step forward in functionality.

Every day, we’re evolving further into a world dominated by video. Digital frames that show off photos are nice, but that trick is so yesterday.

Smart frames that can handle HD videos isn’t magic anymore. It’s the only way to go.

Thank you, Nixplay!

How to Tell Your Story with a Photo Playlist

Music playlists are everywhere. But what about photo playlists? Not sure what I’m talking about? Great! This is really how you can put your digital photos to work. And it involves using digital photo frames…

I’m a fan of digital photo frames for how they unlock the countless pictures you’d otherwise not be sharing with your family and friends. Sure, you can post your pics to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online family photo folders, but those are one-offs, individual images that describe a moment in your life. And you’ve got to hope that nobody misses any of your photos as they fly through their social feeds.

That’s not at all the same as a larger grouping of photos you can control on a digital photo frame that you’ve given out. These always-available images rotate through to tell a larger and every-changing story about your family and its ongoing adventures.

And if you think that digital photo frames are a pain to update, you’re behind the times. Many models can pull their pics from the cloud via WiFi, and you can update your displayed images anytime from any location in the world.

The Photo Playlist of Your Life
But I think the opportunity to maintain an ever-changing photographic ‘playlist’ is the big “aha moment” that lots of folks still haven’t discovered. Do you want to rotate through photos from your past vacation? Maybe your last few weeks of weekend fun? How about some family archival photos? It’s all as easy as a few clicks away…

Whatever the topic, photo playlists give you the opportunity to display a much richer story.

Everyone makes photo books, right? But these books often just sit on a shelf. Why not use those same images to add to your life’s photo playlist that’s always rotating through on a digital photo frame?
(If you’re twitching about the idea of ‘always,’ don’t worry… These frames have sleep modes.)

Loving Nixplay’s Dynamic Playlist Feature
I’ve been using Nixplay digital photo frames for the past few years. Originally, I uploaded my pics to Nixplay’s cloud and then synced the photos to my frames from there. Truthfully, it was a bit cumbersome. So, when Nixplay began linking to cloud services like Instagram, Flickr and Dropbox, that was the upgrade that made moving my photo files to my Nixplay frames almost effortless.

Here’s why…

I simply created a Dropbox photo folder on my iMac’s desktop. I linked that folder to my Nixplay online account and digital frame. Then, I simply drop my photo files into the folder to add to the frame’s playlist.

Just as importantly, I regularly delete older photos in the folder to keep the frame’s content fresh. This is how I maintain my “dynamic playlist.”
(You can have as many playlists or dynamic playlists as you want.)

I know I’ve said this before, but you absolutely don’t want to keep older pictures hanging around when you’ve got fresh content to share. There will be exceptions, but I find this rule generally holds.

How Illuminating is Skylight?
If you’re in the market to pick up one of these visual portals to your recent past, congratulations! Is Nixplay the only choice out there? Not at all…

In fact, a friend asked me the other day about digital photo frames made by Skylight. I did some research, and here’s what I found…

Skylight’s big trick is you can upload photos its frames it via email. No cloud storage. And no extra steps to slow you down. Operationally, viewers manage all of the photos locally on the frame and delete them when they want.

That may sound easy, but consider this… If you give out Skylight frames to relatives, you can’t manage the photo playlist from your own computer once you email the pics out.

For me, that’s a deal breaker.
(I need more control.)

That said, Skylight’s one really cool feature is its touch screen. Your viewers can swipe through your photos and ‘heart’ them much like they would on a smartphone.
(And you get an email informing you of the ‘heart’)

The Skylight frame even displays a “New Photos Have Arrived” button. That can be especially useful to give your viewers a heads-up.

The only model is the Skylight 10″ Plus frame, and it costs $159.00, which is in line with the competition.

I appreciate that Skylight originated from a Kickstarter campaign through the Harvard Innovation Lab, but the design doesn’t give me the kind of control I’m looking for to maintain my playlists.

So, I recommend you check out Nixplay…

Sticking with Nixplay
My ongoing relationship with my Nixplay frames hasn’t exactly been perfect. I’ve occasionally had delayed syncing problems, but Nixplay has ultimately come through for me.

  • Again, I really love Nixplay’s dynamic playlist feature through Dropbox. Nixplay also gives you 10 GB of free online storage. (You can pay for more.)
  • And the Nixplay ecosystem keeps getting better. Now there’s a mobile app, which give you on-the-go control of your frames. Plus, you can snap a photo with your smartphone and almost instantly add it to your photo frames. (Sorry, Skylight.)

There are a variety of Nixplay digital photo frames and sizes to choose from:

Nixplay Seeds are WiFi-only frames, which is just fine with me. But if you also want the old-school ability to upload pictures via SD cards, there’s the Nixplay Edge model.

Use this Visual Storytelling Strategy
I’ve talked previously about ways to maintain your public brand online.

But you also have a personal brand to feed that’s uniquely positioned for your family and friends.

And with distance often challenging the continuity of extended family units, displaying your photo playlists on WiFi digital photo frames is a wonderful way to communicate your family’s ongoing story.


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