Digital Frames

01/08/08 These frames are selling faster than you can say cheese.

Marianne Chao has lots of pictures of her family and friends throughout her home. "I love to have them around the house. I love to have them up on the refrigerator. I love to have them everywhere and it's just, that's where all the memories are kept," says Chao.

But if you're running out of room to display your photos, you may want to consider a digital frame.

Consumer Reports just tested a dozen digital photo frames. They range in price from $100 to $280.

With most of them, you simply insert a memory card and you can watch your photos on the screen. But some, like this Parrot Photoviewer for $240, are a bit more high-tech.

You can only display pictures sent to it via Bluetooth. Like the Parrot, some frames offer pictures in a wider format, but Consumer Reports' Rich Fisco says that's not necessarily a good thing.

"Most digital cameras shoot in a four-by-three format which gives you a 'squarish' picture. On the wide-screen digital frames, you end up with black bars on either side," says Fisco.

So how do digital photos look in these frames? Great if you view them head on, but look at them at any other angle and the picture fades.

And this $280 Mustek frame, that doubles as a mirror, has a big drawback. When you turn the frame on, the reflection doesn't completely go away making it tough to see the photos.

But if the idea of a digital frame seems picture-perfect to you, Consumer Reports top-rated the Smartparts frame for $180.

Its picture quality is very good. And you can play music with your slideshow. Plus, a motion sensor shuts it off when no one's around.

Another good choice is the Westinghouse digital frame, model number dpf-0802, for $125.

While it doesn't have as many bells and whistles as the Smartparts, it's a good overall frame that displays quality photos.

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