The 50in digital photo frame
This one's definitely at the 'and Vision' end of things, but have been playing for the past few months with a little box I spotted at last year's Hong Kong Electronics Fair, and meaning to write some hands-on impressions for ages.
It's a simple add-on for your home cinema system, and at just over £40 delivered it won't break the bank, but it is a whole load of fun, especially if you take a lot of pictures on digital cameras, cameraphones or whatever.
And with the holiday season upon us, the HD-0310 1080p Digital Photo Viewer from Hong Kong company Hi-Den Vision could be just the thing when you get back and want to relive your travels in the comfort of your own home.
Simply, this box will play just about any camera memory card through your TV, upscaling the pictures to 1080p resolution, and allow a range of transition effects to give slideshows, or even looping sequences.
It'll also play audio or video from such storage, or USB pen-drives or even hard discs, and has both analogue and optical digital audio outputs alongside the HDMI and component/composite video sockets.
You can even loop one of your HDMI sources through it – handy should you be running out of inputs on your TV or AV receiver.
Yes, I know that some TVs now offer similar facilities, and the concept of the flatscreen as art display is being pushed hard by some manufacturers, who visualise you having a Balinese sunset on display any time you're not watching the TV. And there are Blu-ray Disc and DVD players able to accept memory cards, not to mention the fact you could hook up your computer to the TV and 'stream' slideshows.
But there are few solutions this inexpensive, or as flexible or simple to use, and as an add-on for slightly older systems this is a simple way of getting more use out of your TV, by turning it into the modern equivalent of those slide shows our parents used to subject us to decades ago.
I remember all the kerfuffle of setting up a screen on its tripod, checking all the slides were the right way up and the right way round, and the pictures popping in and out of focus with the heat of the lamp in the little projector, which was called a Pixie or an Elf or a Gnome or something.
Oh, and the cursing from the old man when he fumbled loading the push-pull slide carrier and a yellow Kodachrome slide box went tumbling, scattering pictures in the darkness.
But above all I remember the impact of seeing the holiday pictures blown up huge, with every detail readily apparent – something you just don't get when you look at your snaps on a laptop or an 8in digital photo-frame.
Having spent some of the weekend just gone sorting through some pictures – old and new – and viewing them on the 50in screen at home, the memories came flooding back, not least because my sister's been converting the old family slides into digital files over the past few months.
And that alone was worth the price of the little Hi-Den Vision box...