Friday, December 7, 2007

Making the Most of the Omnitech 11.3 Digital Frame

I was at Staples for the BF 2007 sale and picked up the bigger digital frame for my mom. The Omnitech 11.3 appears to be a rebrand of the same unit sold by Smartparts for its SP1100. Getting pictures to work was fairly straightfoward. Plug in a card or load something into its internal media and away it goes. The slideshow is default at 5 seconds. One thing to watch out for, the slideshow menu doesn't give you any setup options. You have to be at the photo/video/music menu then press Menu on the rear of the display or Setup on the remote to get to all the options. But even with the Optimal scaling option activated it doesn't scale portrait pictures as nicely as I'd like. But if you resize your images it works well as long as a scaler isn't involved. The LCD likes 16:9 resolution and its 800x400 screen is decent enough.

The tough part was getting video working correctly. I have a Canon S410 and its AVI files play okay on the unit. The 4:3 video was stretched to the 16:9 screen and the audio played fine. But getting my own HDV/DV/WMV/MP4 to playback wasn't straight forward. For one, the unit needs the video to be in an AVI container. And MPEG-4 codecs are not recognized. It seems the software was optimized for the kind of video recorded by digital cameras. So after editing via Sony Vegas I had to pass the video through SUPER(c). 640x360 video with M-JPEG and PCM in an AVI container worked.

There's a music function but it doesn't appear to playback MP3 files. It will take WMA audio files (ironically it doesn't play WMV). I had to install Windows Media Encoder and VCM to convert the music. I'm not sure how Mac users would be able to get around this. And I like how slideshow will play the WMA concurrently but wish that it would playback my AVI files as part of the shuffle. Oh well, can't have everything.


Introspect said...

No sound. The video plays but haven't been able to get the sound to work. Has anyone been successful?

Mike said...

My mom's unit works with sound, it could be quite loud that I wish there was a mute button. If you're viewing an AVI, the sound might be encoded in MP3 or another sound codec that it doesn't recognize. Also check the volume level.