The Samsung frame TV is beautiful and expensive. When not in use, it displays works of art. But if you already have a Smart TV, you can do something similar with the app or Chromecast. Here’s how.

Of course, your TV will use more power if it is displaying images instead of being turned off. This is the essence of Samsung Frame Frame: instead of showing a blank black screen or a bright home screen, you can display images or photos instead. Whether it’s Roku, Chromecast, or Fire TV, you can get close to showing Frame TV.

Selecting your images

A picture of the Milky Way taken by NASA telescopes
This image works well on TVs due to its wide aspect ratio. NASA

Before you continue, think about what you want to show on TV. Some of the solutions below offer built-in art gallery modes that will automatically provide you with beautiful artwork so you don’t have to fiddle around with images.

If you’re using your own photos, be aware that selfies, photos taken in portrait orientation, and old movie snaps digitized with a scanner most likely won’t look good on your 40-inch horizontal TV.

But if you are sure that you have a lot of horizontally oriented high-resolution images, you should look through them and choose the best one from the many. If you’re using a Chromecast, you’ll upload your photos to Google Photos. For FireTV, you will be uploading to Amazon Photos. Roku TVs can use images from your phone or from Google Photos. And Apple TVs use iCloud storage for their screensavers. Regardless of the platform, we recommend creating a dedicated album called «TV slideshow» so that you can easily remember and find it.

Just be aware of any storage limits you may encounter when uploading high resolution images to Google Photos, iCloud, and Amazon Photos. Google Photos offers unlimited photo storage if you allow the image size to be reduced. If you need full resolution, you only have 16 GB for free. Amazon Photos gives Prime subscribers unlimited storage space and 5 GB for everyone else. iCloud offers five GB of free space and pays $1 per month for 50 GB of space.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the Art Institution of Chicago, which holds high-resolution images of famous pieces, or you can use images from NASA. Family photos that fit into the frame are likely to work too.

How to display images from Roku

The Roku screen saver settings dialog with PhotoView selected.

We think Roku is one of your top smart TV options. If you have it, you can easily display Google Photos albums on your TV and even set up a screen saver to start an album slideshow after a certain period of activity.

Most Roku TVs have two options: select photos from your phone or set the photo viewing channel.

If you want to use photos on your phone, open the Roku iOS or Android app and tap the Photos + option at the bottom of the screen.

Roku app with frame around photo + option.

Select the splash screen option and then the album you created with the photos you want to display. Once you have selected the images to be displayed on the splash screen, you should immediately see them on your screen. The downside is that you will have to update this group of photos manually using the Roku app whenever you want to make changes.

Alternatively, you can use Google Photos to enable the Roku screensaver. The advantage is that you can change the display of photos from any computer, tablet or phone. All you have to do is add or remove photos from the connected album.

In order to display the splash screen from Google Photo Gallery, you need to set the photo viewer channel. Open it and follow the instructions to sign in to your Google account (via the Google Sign In feature).

Once you’ve installed Photo View, you can select an album to extract images from, set Photo View as your Roku screensaver, and even adjust the amount of time before the screensaver starts, all from Roku’s settings. Go to Settings > Screen Saver > Change Screen Saver. Then select the PhotoView option. Settings > Screen Saver > Change Timeout To change the start time of the screen saver, double check if it is disabled.

Roku screen saver time setting dialog with 5 minutes.

We encourage you to create a dedicated Google Photos album and upload images of your favorite artwork or some of NASA’s amazing space shots. Either way, you should curate an album specifically for your TV. Portrait-oriented photos, selfies, etc. probably won’t display very well on a large TV. Family photos, on the other hand, can work well if they are oriented horizontally.

How to Display Images with FireTV

FireTV Display & Sounds settings dialog.

Unfortunately, Amazon FireTV does not have access to Google Photos. But it has its own easy-to-use options. If you love the idea of ​​displaying nature photos on your TV, Amazon already has everything you need. All you have to do is enable the splash screen option and accept all the defaults.

But if you want more control and prefer to create your own album of illustrations or family photos, you just need to download the Amazon Photos app for iOS or Android. Or sign in. Amazon Photos offers unlimited storage for regular users, or 5 GB of free storage for everyone else.

Once you’re logged in, upload the photos you prefer and create a folder for them. On your FireTV, go to the screen saver settings and change the source to your album. Adjust any other settings such as time and you are ready to enjoy art on your TV.

How to display images using Chromecast

Google Home Ambient Mode settings with Google Photos selected.

Chromecast might be the easiest option if you want to show artwork, and it’s relatively easy to set up with photos. The Chromecast screensaver feature works exactly like the external screen of the Google Nest Hub (formerly known as the Google Home Hub) and uses the same controls.

To display graphics, open the Google Home app and locate your Chromecast device. Click on it, click on Ambient Mode, click on Art Gallery and you’re done.

If you prefer to display family photos or images you’ve taken, you’ll need to upload them to a specific gallery in Google Photos. Then select this Google Photos album in the Ambient settings.

Regardless of which method you use, displaying art or photos on your TV will only look good if your TV is up to the task and the images you choose look great in large formats. As long as you have these two aspects, whatever method you choose should produce great results.

How to display photos from Apple TV

If you have an Apple TV, you’re in luck as the device natively supports screensavers created from your iCloud photos.

Once your photos are in iCloud, you’ll want to turn on iCloud integration in your Apple TV’s settings. When you turn on iCloud, it will ask if you want to turn on Photo Stream and use it as your screensaver. You can choose yes, but if you’ve made a specific album, as we suggested above, then you’ll want to not use Photo Stream as your screensaver.

Instead, you’ll go to the screen saver options in the Apple TV’s settings dialog, select Photos, and then iCloud. Here you will be given a choice of which album to use.

Using USB or Plex

Plex interface for screensavers.

Many smart TV platforms have USB ports or Plex apps that can be used to display splash screens. You need to upload the photos to a USB stick or Plex server and then add them as a splash screen option.

If your primary interface is a Plex server, you’ll need to set up a personal album to use as your splash screen. But, depending on your Smart TV, you may need to go to your TV’s screen saver settings and choose to use USB or Plex as your photo source.

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