Friday, December 22, 2006

Trutech 7" Digital Photo Frame Tips


I finally decided what I wanted to by my parents for Christmas -- a Trutech Digital Photo Frame. But now I realize how hard it is to find those things (not nearly as hard as a Nintendo Wii or PS3 though).



Through a random occurrance, a bunch of TruTech Digital Photo Frames were just put on the floor at a random Target I was shopping at. So I picked one up without doing any research. It turns out - that a lot of people are not happy with this particular frame due to its poor resolution and image quality. But it's the best (and only one) I could find.

So I opened to inspect the frame - uploaded some photos -- and sure enough -- the image quality was pretty bad. But after a lot of experimenting - I collected some tips that should turn that lump-of-coal into a really nice digital photo frame.

Resolution: The manual says its 480x234 (a 2.05:1 ratio). I tried inserting a card with images set to 480x234 - and they left a border on all 4 sides (and this occurred with either the 4:3 or 16:9 settings). Eventually - I found a resolution that filled the screen nicely: 640 x 360 (a user on the dpreview forum also found that 480 by 270 works well). You will want to crop/resize your images ahead of time in your favorite photo editor for 2 reason: maximize quality of the photo frame, without distortions and borders. And to shrink your files-sizes, a 640x360 photo is much smaller than a 5 megapixel JPG image. So you can move between photos very fast.

Aspect Ratio: Pick a ratio and stick to it. 16:9 is perfect for 640x360 images

Image Quality: Image quality using default factory settings is awful. Colors are over-blown, faces are washed-out, and highlights are cropped. People on the internet compained that there is no brightness control -- there is..but its hidden in a menu. Press the Setup button on the remote and move to the "System" settings. I've found these settings produce a fairly correct balance of color, detail, and brightness:

* Brightness=5
* Contrast=1
* Saturation=2


I'm very picky about image quality -- and these tips changed my opinion from take-it-back-now, to that-thing-looks-pretty-good.

42 comments:

Tom Dalton said...

This is *great* information. I just bought one of these and had to laugh at the lame instruction manual. The 480x270 looks perfect and fills the screen just right. I even used your image settings and found them to be a great improvement over the factory defaults. Thanks!

Joseph said...

Thanks for this information...BUT, my question is this: I am trying to use a USB flash drive instead of the memory card, and no photos are loading at all! I've tried calling the 800 number but receive no answer. Any suggestions?

fwong said...

>>I am trying to use a USB flash drive instead of the memory card, and no photos are loading at all! I've tried calling the 800 number but receive no answer. Any suggestions?...

Sorry -- I've never tried using a flash drive with it.

McDowelle said...

Thanks for the info, my photos look much better with this frame now.

I also had problems using USB.
The only USB drive I was able to use with this frame was an older one that did not attempt to load any software when it is inserted (sandisk cruzer 128Mb). All of my newer flash drives would not work.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me how to change the date on the calender so it reads 2008 instead of 2006?

Sam said...

I can't believe I finally found a blog about this product! Joseph said that he couldn't get any pictures to install on the frame from his flash drive, and you said you didn't use a flash drive to download them. Did you go straight from your computer to the frame then? Because I've tried both ways and nothing's worked yet. A tech-savvy friend said something about the flash drive not working b/c it has software on it that keeps trying to self-install on the frame, and screws it up. That sounds really screwy itself, but I honestly have no idea how to get pictures on this stupid thing! I even bought a male/male USB cord to hook the frame up directly to the computer, but nope. Can Mr. Wong help me? Thanks!

fwong said...

>>Joseph said that he couldn't get any pictures to install on the frame from his flash drive, and you said you didn't use a flash drive to download them. Did you go straight from your computer to the frame then?

Now I should point-out that I bought this item back in Christmas 2006 (not 2007)...so this is a very old blog post. But just to clarify, I'm using a CompactFlash memory card with my frame...not a USB Flash Drive. It's possible we have different models because the one I bought is now 14 months old and no longer sold by Target.

Joseph said...

We purchased this product to give to my wife's mother. Thought it would be a neat way to keep grandma updated on the children with photos. I have a feeling that Sam may be right regarding the flash drive and not working b/c of software trying to load. Unless we have a solution soon it will be returned to Target. BTW I called the 800 num. and they promised to get back to me in 24-48 hours. No call yet; that was 4 days ago!

Anonymous said...

If you are trying to use a new flash memory card in your frame try using it in your camera first. Then once the file folders are setup on it copy your pictures into the files where you camera normally stores them. Then
use it in the frame. It worked for me.

Sam said...

When you say flash memory card, do you mean a flash drive, or memory card for a digital camera? I'm not sure if my camera's memory card will fit in the frame's memory card slot, but I'll check. I don't have any pictures on my camera that I want on the frame; they're all on my computer. How could I, if it's even possible, get the pics on a memory card that fits in the frame? I'm still baffled as to why it's so difficult to transfer pictures onto the stupid thing. It cost like $70, so it should be fancy enought to be able to hook straight up to a computer or a flash drive without any trouble! I'm thinking it's just an O.E. or a defective product...I'm hoping for an O.E. lol

Anonymous said...

A memory card for a digital camera.

Darlene said...

I am having the opposit problem. I can get photos using the USB port with a flash drive or putting the memory card into the reader/writer I bought to load pictures onto the memory card, but it won't read if I put the memory card directly into the card slot. I returned the first frame thinking it just wasn't working, but now the second one does the same thing. The card also works if I plug it directly into the card reader slot in my computer. I can't figure this one out. Any suggestions?

Sam said...

crap that's what i thought lol

Sam said...

I was wondering something, and this is for anyone on this forum topic that has successfully loaded their pictures on the frame. Could one of yawl email me one of your pictures that loaded so I can see all the details on it, like format, size, everything that might be helpful. What someone on another forum suggested I do is try to download a pic on the frame that someone else was able to download onto their frame. That may tell me it's the frame and a big O.E. I'm sure this goes w/o saying, but just make sure it's a pic you wouldn't want a complete stranger seeing, like a picture of your nuclear bomb :) Thanks!

Sam said...

oops sorry i forgot...my email is samplank@hotmail.com...plz if you could put something about "trutech" in the subject line, as my junk mail filter is set on "seek and destroy with no mercy"

Bruce Arnold said...

Has anyone had any luck getting movie (AVI?) files to play on their frame? And if so, what settings & software were used to get it working?

Also, thanks for all these blog tips! As far as I can find, this is the only place on the net you can get really useful info about these frames. It saved mine from just gathering dust unused at the back of a shelf!

Anonymous said...

how do you do a slide show

Sam said...

got it fixed! broke down and bought a new memory card, and it works great. thanks for all your help, wong & others! :)

Lydia said...

Would anyone be willing to scan a couple of pages from the users manual for me? I lost mine-thanks!

lydia dot acheson at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

When I turn my 7" Trutech Digital Photo Frame on it has color and then reverts to black pictures with a dark gray background. When I call the toll free they hang up on me all the time. Any help would be appreciate.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me how to change the time and date .... I've wasted alot of time trying to figure it out. I was given this digital photo frame as a gift without a manual

Anonymous said...

correction.... I know how to change the time but not the date/year thanks for your help

Anonymous said...

I also need help with changing the date. I've worked on this this for an hour and haven't been able to change the date from January 2006. Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

To set the time, go to Set Up --> Custom Setup --> Set Time--> Press Enter on the remote. Use the left/right buttons to highlight the hours, minutes, and seconds, then use the up/down buttons to adjust. Press Enter to exit.

Anonymous said...

yes, thank you, the time is ok. It is the DATE that I can't change.

Anonymous said...

To set the DATE, use the navigation buttons to select the Calendar icon. Press Enter. To set the date, press the Stop button then use the left/right to adjust the year and use the up/down buttons to adjust the month. Press the Stop button. Use the up/down/left/right to select the current date. Press Enter. To exit, press the Menu button. LG

Marc said...

How do you guys change the aspect ratio on this thing? All of my pictures are stretched to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio and they look goofy. Does anyone know how to change the aspect ratio so they aren't stretched?
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

To use the USB Flash drive you'll need to quick format the drive first. That will remove the problem file, and you're off and running.

Anonymous said...

My wife has a Trutech 7 inch digital photo frame model no. :056 13 0998, and has lost the book. We have an SD card inserted but when turned on the first picture is displayed and I have to scroll thru the pics manually. How do I get it to go to slide show mode? Also the pics look distorted (streched horizontally) how do I adjust?

Anonymous said...

To fix those short squaty pix goto setup, photo, fullscreen, default.

Anonymous said...

You need the remote to change the date - cannot be done without it. go to calender hit stop button - then use arows

Anonymous said...

I have successfully changed the date to 2008. You have to go back and forth between the main menu and the calendar setting, but this worked for me:

Go to the calendar and use the arrow up/down buttons on either the remote or the frame itself. Then when you have the right year, go back to the main menu. Then return to the calendar, select the day and hit enter. Then you should be set.

I too am having difficulty loading my photos from a memory stick. My memory stick is automatically trying to download it's desktop user menu onto the frame. I'm going to attempt to disable that on the memory stick itself and then try it. I'll let you know how that works.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I will be bookmarking this.

Get event photography at Megacameras.com

Anonymous said...

Great info. My works great but I have only one problem. I use a USB flah drive with about 50 meg worth of photos on it. When I use the slide show option it works OK for awhile but then hangs up after about and hour or so. Could the file be too large or ??
thx

Anonymous said...

i just picked up one of these frames used off ebay so i don't have a manual but i have managed to figure out how to use an sd card with relative ease, but i can't figure out if its possible to put a shuffle on the slide show option. it keeps showing the photos i added in order.

Anonymous said...

I want to know if it is possible to use some internal memory or if I have to leave the USB flash in the frame when it is working?

Janneke said...

anyone know where to get a remote for this? i got the picture frame free. apparently someone didn't like it.

Paul said...

You don't need the remote control to change settings. The small buttons on the top work great, but the arrow keys are very difficult to read, so I relabeled them using a white sticker. I used VuePro to crop and resize my photos (and change brightness and contrast when needed). I copied my photos from my PC to the root directory of a 1Gb Sandisk SD memory card and then inserted it into the picture frame and it works fine.

Anonymous said...

My frame will read some .jpg files and not others. Anybody know why

Anonymous said...

i have lost my remote and i am trying to use the slideshow option, is there any way to do this?

Anonymous said...

I have a remote for this frame, but no manual. How in the world do you get the back off? I have been trying to pry it off and nothing is working. I need to change the battery.

Anonymous said...

I lost my remote for this Trutech unit. Did anyone figure out which alternate universal remote control to use?