Why would anyone buy a digital photo frame when so many old tablets are already being thrown away? what could instead be reused and used for the same purposes?

With new generations of iPads coming out, and people switching to the latest Android tablets every time a new one is released, piles of «old» tablets continue to show up on places like Ebay and Amazon at the lowest prices. Maybe you even have one or two kicks around a box somewhere in your house.

If you’ve ever wanted to install a digital display in your home so visitors can see your favorite family photos then you have come to the right place. I’m going to show you how you can put this old tablet to good use, and all you need is a few connectors and a monitor for your display (any size will do).

Create your own digital photo frame

You don’t need a lot of equipment to accomplish this feat, especially if you already have an old tablet and monitor that you can use. The real secret behind this setup is the application itself, which we’ll get to shortly.

What you will need:

  • A tablet that you can dedicate to your digital photo frame. I am using a first generation Asus Transformer Prime. The only requirement is a micro-HDMI or mini-HDMI port (as shown in the picture below).
  • old monitor old computer monitors old with HDMI input port.
  • A micro-HDMI or mini-HDMI-to-HDMI converter cable, readily available through Amazon, usually for less than $10.
  • A regular HDMI cable to connect your adapter to your monitor.
  • An app for Android or iOS capable of playing photo slideshows. I chose Dayframe for Android because it connects to cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive, allowing for a remote control feature that I’ll cover later in this article.

Picking up the pieces

Once you have collected all the equipment and installed the Dayframe app on your mobile device, it’s time to assemble the equipment.

First, you need to connect the mini HDMI part of your adapter to the mini HDMI port on your mobile device. If you’re using an Android phone instead of a tablet for this project, be sure to follow Christian’s explanation on how to connect your Android phone to a big screen.

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As you can see, I bought an adapter that allows me to connect to a mobile device with a micro or mini port.

The next step is to simply connect the HDMI cable to the HDMI connector on your entire adapter and the other end to your monitor.

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When you are done you should have a setup as shown here where the monitor is mirroring the android display on your mobile device.

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Now that you have your display, it’s time to set up your slideshow software to display your favorite images.

Setting DayFrame

After launching DayFrame for the first time, you will be able to immediately connect to your favorite cloud services. Disclosure where you can submit your photos to be shown on the screen.

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You can skip the first step because further into the software you will have the option to add photos from any of these services and more.

In my case, I added my Dropbox account in the app and signed in giving him access to my Dropbox account. As you can see in the screenshot below, all you need to do to add photos to your slideshow is click on the «+» sign next to «Photos» in the cloud account of your choice.

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Of course, before I can display anything on the monitor, I have to log into my Dropbox account and actually upload the images I want to include in the slideshow.

Use your cloud account to control your slideshow remotely

In my Dropbox account, I have created a special folder that I will use to add and remove images in my slideshow.

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So far I have uploaded about ten or so family photos.
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If you choose to use your Google Drive account or any other online services you’ll want to use the same approach so that you can easily organize exactly which photos are currently displayed and change them anywhere.

The cool thing is that you can change the active slideshow on the «digital photo frame» anytime, anywhere — in your office, from your mobile phone, or while waiting in the doctor’s office.

Connection DayFrame

Returning to the DayFrame app, now that all the images have been added to Dropbox, you should see all those images automatically listed in the app.

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All you need to do to start a slideshow (and you only need to do it once) is to click on the menu button on the right side of the main Photo Streams Management screen and select Play Slideshow from the list.

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That’s all there is to it!

The data path here is basically from your Dropbox photo catalog (or any cloud service) to your web-enabled mobile device to your new «digital slideshow» display.

Here’s what mine looks like now (it’s a huge digital photo frame. !)

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Now, every time you delete or add photos to your Dropbox folder, your slideshow will automatically add them to the loop.

The beauty of this is that you only need to set up the system once and then update it from anywhere. Unlike a standard digital photo frame where you have to plug in a USB drive or otherwise «download» a fixed set of images — this particular setup lets you upload images from the cloud instead, and you can change images anytime you want!

Have you ever thought about buying one of these digital photo frames for your home? Are you considering installing such a system on one of your older generation tablets? Try it and let us know how it went! If you’ve chosen a different slideshow app, please share it in the comments section below!

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