How to Make Your TV Display Art (or Family Photos)

Josh Hendrickson

Samsung TV frame is beautiful and expensive. When not in use, it displays works of art. But if you already have a Smart TV, you can do something similar with an app or Chromecast. Here's how.

Of course, your TV will consume more power if it displays pictures instead of being turned off. This is also the purpose of the Samsung TV Frame: rather than showing an empty black screen or a garish home screen, you can display illustrations or photos instead. Whether it's a Roku, Chromecast or Fire TV, you can approximate the Frame TV experience.

Choose your images

An image of the Milky Way taken by NASA telescopes
This image works well on TVs, thanks to its wide aspect ratio. NASA

Before you continue, think about what you want to show on your TV. Some of the solutions below offer built-in art gallery modes which will automatically provide you with beautiful works of art, so you won't have to worry about the pictures.

If you're using your own photos, remember that selfies, photos you took in portrait orientation, and old film photos that you scanned with a scanner probably wouldn't look blown well. on your 40 inch and larger horizontal TV.

But if you are sure that you have many horizontally oriented images taken in high resolution, you should go through them and choose the best of the lot. If you're using a Chromecast, you upload your photos to Google Photos. For FireTVs, you will download them from Amazon Photos. Roku TVs can use images from your phone or Google Photos. And Apple TVs use iCloud storage for their screen savers. Whatever the platform, we recommend that you create a dedicated album called “TV Slideshow” so that you can easily remember and find it.

Keep in mind the storage limits you may face when loading high resolution images into Google Photos, ICloud Photos, and Amazon photos. Google Photos offers unlimited storage for photos if you let it reduce the size of the image. If you want full resolution, you don't have 16 GB free. Amazon Photos Offers Prime Subscribers Unlimited Storage And Everyone 5 GB of space. iCloud offers five GB of free space and charges $ 1 per month for 50 GB of space.

If you're looking for inspiration, check out the Chicago Art Institution, which hosts high resolution images of famous works of art, or you can use NASA images. Family photos that suit everyone in the frame will work great too.

How to display images with Roku

Roku screen saver settings dialog, with PhotoView selected.

We think Roku is one of your best options for a Smart TV. If you have one, you can easily view Google Photo albums on your TV, and even configure a screen saver effect to start the album slideshow after a period of activity .

You have two options with most Roku TVs: choose photos on your phone or install the Photo View channel.

If you want to use photos on your phone, open the Roku iOS or Android and tap the Photos + option at the bottom of the screen.

Roku app with box around Photos + option.

Choose the screen saver option and then the album you created with the photos you want to view. Once you've selected the images you want the screen saver to display, you should start seeing them immediately on the screen. The downside is that you will have to update this group of photos manually with the Roku app every time you want to make changes.

You can also use Google Photos to power your Roku screen saver. The advantage is that you can edit the displayed photos from any computer, tablet or phone. You just need to add or remove photos from the connected album.

To view a Google Photo album screen saver, you will need to install the Photo view channel. Open it and follow the prompts to sign in with your Google account (via the sign in with Google feature).

Once you've installed Photo View, you can choose an album from which to extract images, set Photo View as your Roku screen saver, and even set the delay before the screen saver starts. 39; screen, all from the Roku settings. Go to Settings> Screen Saver> Change Screen Saver. Then choose the PhotoView option. Settings> Screen Saver> Change Standby Time allows you to change the length of time before starting a screen saver, check again that it doesn’t is not disabled.

Roku screen saver time settings dialog, with 5 minutes selected.

We recommend that you create a dedicated album in Google Photos and upload images of the illustrations you like or some of the NASA images amazing space shots. In all cases, you must organize an album specially for your television. Portrait-oriented photos, selfies, etc. probably won't display very well on a large TV. Family photos, on the other hand, can work well as long as they are oriented horizontally.

How to display images with FireTV

FireTV display and sound settings dialog.

Unfortunately, Amazon's FireTV does not have access to Google Photos. But it has its own easy-to-use options. If you like the idea that nature photos are showing on your TV, Amazon already has everything you need in place. All you have to do is activate the screen saver option and accept all the default settings.

But if you want more control and prefer to create your own personalized album of illustrations or family photos, just download Amazon Photos. iOS or Android app. Or connect to the web. Amazon Photos offers unlimited storage for Prime users or 5 GB of space for everyone.

Once connected, download the photos you prefer and create a folder for them. On your FireTV, go to the screen saver settings and change the source of your album. Customize any other desired settings, such as timing, and you're all ready to enjoy the art on your TV.

How to display images with Chromecast

Google Home ambient mode settings, with Google Photos selected.

Chromecast may be the easiest option if you want to display illustrations, and it's also relatively easy to personalize with photos. Chromecast's screen saver function works just like Google Nest Hub ambient screen (formerly known as Google Home Hub) and uses the same commands.

To view artwork, open the Google Home app and find your Chromecast device. Tap it, tap Ambient mode, tap Art Gallery, then you're done.

If you prefer to display family photos or pictures you have taken, you will want to upload them to a specific gallery in Google Photos. Then choose this Google Photos album in the ambience settings.

Whichever method you use, displaying illustrations or photos on your TV will only be good if your TV is up to par and the images you choose are superb in large formats. As long as you have covered these two aspects, any method you choose should lead to great results.

How to view photos with Apple TV

If you have an Apple TV, you're in luck because the device natively supports screen savers created from your iCloud photos.

Once your photos are in iCloud, you will want to activate iCloud integration in the settings options of your Apple TV. When you activate iCloud, it will ask you if you want to activate Photo Stream and use it as a screen saver. You can choose yes, but if you have created a specific album as we suggested above, then you will want to choose not to use Photo Stream as your screen saver.

Instead, you go to the screen saver options in your Apple TV settings dialog, choose Photos, and then choose iCloud. Here you will have a choice of which album to use.

Use USB or Plex

Plex interface on screen saver options.

Many Smart TV platforms have USB ports or Plex apps that you can use to display screen savers. You will need to upload your photos to a USB drive or to your Plex server, then add them as an option for a screen saver.

If your main interface is your Plex server, you will want to configure a personal album to be defined as screen saver. But depending on the smart TV, you may need to access the TV's screen saver settings and find an option to use USB or Plex as the source of the photos.

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