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Author Topic: ePaper photo frame  (Read 4714 times)

deiruch

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ePaper photo frame
« on: February 01, 2013, 05:30:21 AM »

Hi everyone

I'm a longtime reader of this site (and even these discussion forums). I'm interested in creating an digital eInk photo frame, because I want one myself and I couldn't find anyone else doing one. I'm still in talks with various vendors, evaluating technologies and writing a business plan. Don't get your hopes up, this is nowhere near ready.

There are three open questions that I would *love* to hear your opinion about. If there was an eInk photo frame...
  • ...would you be interested?
  • ...what size would it have to have? (10", 30", 50")
  • ...would you still buy it, if it could only show monochrome/grayscale images? Or would you rather have a color version (with faded out, gray-ish colors)?
  • ...how much would you be willing to pay?

Benefits of eInk photo frames include:
  • Uses very little power, can run for months on a single battery
  • Good grayscale reproduction
  • Does not glow, looks like paper
  • Can be made very thin, like a regular print

Cheers and thank you very much,
Simon

BTW: Is this post more suited for the "Digital Projection Tools and Techniques" subforum?
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grzybu

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 06:26:43 AM »

Great idea :)
Frames could be just e-ink without any electronics, just with connector to some docking/loading station for choosing/loading image to display. Then you can make them really thin and sell them without any frames so customer could frame itself.
The only problem I see right now is really low contrast of current e-ink. When I look at photos displayed by Kindle they look dull and flat.
You will need electronic and driver supporting high resolutions for dithering if you want good greyscale reproduction. E-ink has quite high native resolution, the only problem is to control this as I remember well. But in case of frame it could refresh several seconds, so it won't be a problem.
I have no idea how much i.e. 10" e-ink panel will cost, but if price isn't high, such dumb frame with just connector should cost much more than e-ink itself.  Even with simple card reader and system it shouldn't cost much more.
Anyway, I like this idea, but I'm not sure if it's possible right now because of low contrast of current e-ink.
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deiruch

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 03:36:48 AM »

You are right. Contrast is a major problem with the current technologies - but that is improving (like everything else in that sector). The Kindle Paperwhite for example has a quite nice contrast ratio already. Have you looked at one of those, or a previous model?

When you say "cheap", what range are you thinking of? You wrote about 10" displays - is this the size you'd be most interested in?
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kikashi

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 03:40:45 AM »

I wish you well but I think that in reality you don't stand a hope in hell of selling your device in any commercially-viable volume until it can deliver rich, saturated colour. The technology will doubtless emerge in time but it's nowhere near there yet.

Jeremy
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grzybu

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 03:56:00 AM »

AFAIK Paperwhite has exactly the same contrast as previous generation. This is the same e-ink with lamps and higher resolution controller. It looks better because of light, but when you disable light it look the same as old one.
Contrast is about 1:10 for Pearl, so it still need some work.
Probably 1:100 will be good enough. Still lower than photo paper but should be quite usable.
And I'm not really sure if companies think higher contrast is priority, because current solutions are good enough for book readers. Even if they double the contrast it won't be enough for versatile frame.
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deiruch

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 11:33:58 AM »

The current generation of Kindles has slightly higher contrast than the first Paperwhite generation. But it is correct, that contrast could be better. Today, good color reproduction is not possibile with eInk. There are other bi-stable technologies that can solve this problem - but they aren't ready for mass markets. That's why I'm focussing on B/W displays.

@grzybu and @kikashi: You're telling me that you wouldn't buy such a product, because of a) low contrast ratio and b) it doesn't do color. That's ok. Thanks for the feedback!

Cheers,
Simon
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kikashi

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 02:12:45 PM »

@grzybu and @kikashi: You're telling me that you wouldn't buy such a product, because of a) low contrast ratio and b) it doesn't do color. That's ok. Thanks for the feedback!

Simon, I wasn't saying that I wouldn't buy it (although I probably wouldn't); I was saying that IMHO very few people would, because it's b&w. We like it, because we like "artistic" stuff. The Public like loud, vibrant colour: just ask the people who sell their photos which ones go best.

Jeremy
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SunnyUK

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 09:55:20 AM »

Best of luck with the endeavour.

I'm firmly in the colour camp, so probably not a prospective customer. But if I was, I'd like it 20" or 30".  If the display was stunning (bright, contrasty, punchy) I could see myself paying a fair amount for such a device.
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dmerger

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Re: ePaper photo frame
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 10:55:09 AM »

+1
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Dean Erger
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