Sunday, October 28, 2012

Displaying digital media on an older HDTV - Dad Approved


CC attribution: by Daniel Oines (dn1967b) on flickr.

Being a child of the 70’s and 80’s, one common family event was family “slide show” time. Dad, being a hard-core amateur photographer (we had a dark room, chemicals, print paper, etc.) took lots of SLR photos. So naturally we had lots of slides.  That meant after trips or for family get-togethers, down would come the project screen, up would go the slide projector, and out would come the boxes upon boxes of slide carousels.

Hummm…and in the next slide…ca-chuka-chucka…we can see…first young Claus proudly showing his tiny perch caught on his bamboo fishing pole…and in the next…ca-chuka-chucka…Claus has fallen off the pier into the lake. See how the pole floats? Alas, Claus does not. Ha-ha, dad.

Ain’t technology grand?

Fast forward to 2012.  Dad is now well into the transition from 35mm SLR photography to DSLR photography. That is generating a lot of digital photos from his vacation trips and amateur anthro/paleo field-work. Not to mention digital photos from iPhones and point-n-shoot cameras he and his wife both have and use for the daily life and family events.

Up to now, he has been able view them quite successfully on his desktop PC at home. However when there is a large family gathering at his house, he has to fetch the correct camera, connect it to his Sony Bravia KDL52W4100 HDTV via a low-quality video-in (yellow RCA) plug. While serviceable, Dad’s got a sharp eye and the high quality of his digital shots isn’t done justice with the low-quality of the input method.  This older HDTV doesn’t have any slots for USB/memory cards like his PC does. Bummer.

So he asked me for advice.

I needed to find a dead-simple solution to bring him the ability to show his great digital photographs as close to HD as possible on his older HDTV.  Maybe move the desktop PC to the living room or use a super-long D-sub VGA output cable from the den to the back of the TV?  Well, yes…but…

Here’s what we did.

Part 1 - IncrediSonic Ultra Play IMP150

I advised him to pick up a IncrediSonic Ultra Play IMP150 (Amazon link) multi-media player. It has a USB port and supports HDMI output. (The same model is on  There is the unit, a remote, an A/C adapter, and some low-def audio/video cables in the box.

I recommended this one to him for few reasons. First the Amazon product page has a mini-review video. I wanted him to be able to view the video to make sure the operation seemed logical and non-techy to use for him. The sub $40 price was great. It had an HDMI output that supported 1080p. Dad isn’t using all his HDMI ports on his Bravia TV so connecting it in HD output would be supported.  Not only would it support his digital image files, but it also could support many video file formats as well. It supported SD media sticks (from the point-n-shoot cameras). It has a USB port so media on a non-supported memory card format could be copied to a USB stick for display. Finally, the menu-interface and navigation seemed pretty intuitive.

More videos of that product in action:

IncrediSonic Ultra Play HD Media Player - MyKeyReviews - YouTube

Vorstellung des Incredi Sonic Ultra Play IMP150 - HD TV Digital Mini Media Player (HDMI,USB,1080 p) - YouTube

Note, there are quite a few other similar products that have pretty much the same features if you like this solution but want to explore other products, take your pick.

Part 2 - Patriot Xporter XT Rage 32 GB USB stick

Patriot Xporter XT Rage 32 GB USB 2.0 High Speed Flash Drive - Amazon product link

Patriot Xporter XT Rage 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Model PEF32GRUSB - NewEgg product link

Dad does have a number of USB sticks that could have been used, but I recommended he use a new dedicated stick just for showing his digital photos/media on this unit.  There were probably even faster USB sticks than this one, but I have been pleased with my Patriot Xporter flash drive for many years. This 32 GB model has lots of storage room over his 4 GB models, and the smaller format would (hopefully) mean it wouldn’t stick out of the USB port on the IncrediSonic device like a standard USB stick would and risk over-torque/breaking of the USB port connection soldier points to the device system-board if dropped/banged/etc.

I could have found an even smaller USB micro-plug but then I was worried about possible loosing of it, or it being hard to manipulate on the desktop system.

The storage size and physical size of this unit seemed the best balance for his particular needs; adjust accordingly.

Part 3 - HDMI Cable(s)

So here is where my plan came together.

I pointed Dad to this AmazonBasics 2-Pack, High-Speed HDMI Cables 6.5 feet cable set. NewEgg also has more than a few HDMI cable picks as well.

This would so be easier and better quality than continuing to use that silly yellow video out/in RCA plug connection!

I went with the 6.5 ft length so he could leave it plugged in on the back input panel of the HDTV display and then tuck the cord away when not in use. Then there would be enough length to allow it to stretch to where he could put the IncrediSonic device close enough to a A/C source and high-enough for the remote signal to reach it.

The 2-pack was recommended so he could leave one permanently attached to the back of the TV as mentioned but the “spare” could be kept in the box/bag with the IncrediSonic so he could take it on the go when he visited other family members who also had a HDTV with HDMI inputs. This way the show could conveniently go on the road!

Dad ordered the set the next day from my recommendations and a few days later had the whole thing running perfectly. He was beyond pleased with the quality of the display.

I reminded him that according to the reviews, it defaults to 720p HD format but if the HDTV supports 1080p, he can change a setting on the device to get even better display quality for his DSLR digital photos.

This or a similar “kit” might be really valuable for ForSec and/or other digital media users who need a standby for showing digital media presentations…just in case that laptop doesn’t work, or that TV/display provided isn’t what they said it would be, or if the one cable you need to use your standard setup goes bad. This particular combo came in a just under $100. Not bad.

Definitely Valca Sr. approved.

--Claus V.

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