How Digital Picture Frames Work

Creating a Digital Gallery

Once the frame has been plugged into a phone line and a power outlet, it starts to display the pictures that were originally stored on the frame. If the user presses and holds the white button on the back of the frame, it dials up and connects to the Internet.

The $50-per-year fee for the Ceiva service includes access to the Internet by way of a local phone number. The connection to the Internet is used only to download the new photos and settings to the frame. There is no interactivity, no Web access and no e-mail. The device is designed to behave like a picture frame, not a computer.

Once the frame is connected to the Internet, it logs on to Ceiva's servers using a unique serial number. Once logged on, the frame compares the pictures already on the frame to the ones waiting to be sent, downloading any new ones. It also downloads any new settings.

When it is finished downloading, the frame hangs up the phone line and starts displaying the new photos one after another. It turns itself off at the set time in the evening, and back on at the set time in the morning.

Now let's take a look at the Web side of this device.