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Methods abound for viewing vacation's digital memories

By Mariah Smith
Extension Center for Technology Outreach

Smith click to enlarge

Having recently returned from a family vacation, I am all set to show off the more than 800 digital photos I took. In days gone by, we would have hooked up the slide projector and clicked through the carousel in a darkened living room. Today, we have more options.

The easiest way for me to show off the hundred or so photos I took of bison is to connect the A/V cables (audio and video) from the television to the digital camera. If you try this at home, be sure to connect the cables before turning on the TV and camera. Next, change the video input on your TV with the remote control. Use the buttons on your camera to navigate through the photos.

While on the winding trails, I noticed many tourists snapping pictures of Old Faithful with their iPads and iPhones. Of course, no self-respecting tourist would use that sort of equipment to document a special trip or event, but it is relatively simple to connect an iPad to a TV to showcase photos.

The Apple Digital AV adapter cable (which runs about $39) lets you connect your iPad to your HDTV. Whatever you see on your iPad will be displayed on your TV. Be sure to change the video settings on your iPad to widescreen to maximize viewing. If you don’t have an HDTV, try the Apple VGA Adapter ($29) to connect your iPad to a TV or computer. The iPad Camera Connection Kit ($29) lets you download photos from your digital camera or SD card directly to your iPad.

If you really wanted to get fancy, you could purchase the Apple TV ($99) and use AirPlay to transmit your photos and videos from your iPad to your HDTV wirelessly. I’m not sure that my bison photos warrant a $99 investment, but I might be willing to spend the money on it for family reunions or 50th wedding anniversaries.

There are many DVD creation software packages on the market that will burn your photos to a DVD-rom, but it is tricky to find software that will burn a DVD that plays in a standalone DVD player. Windows DVD Maker comes with Windows 7, CD BurnerXP is a free version, and NERO Burning ROM is available for around $30. The settings may need to be tweaked a bit. A common setting that has to be changed is the Book Type Bit Setting. In non-technical jargon, this setting basically tricks the DVD player into thinking it can play the digital video.

If you have the old 35mm slides, do not fear; they can be converted as well. There are several do-it-yourself options, but they do require a great deal of time, effort and energy. Many companies, such as Walgreens (using YesVideo) and WalMart (YesDVD), can convert the slides to DVD for $20 for the first 40 slides and 46 cents for each additional slide.

Next time you are in the neighborhood, stop by and I will pull out the vacation photos and some popcorn. Your favorite family memories are as close as your television set.

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Released: September 27, 2012
Contact: Mariah Smith, (662) 325-3226

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