Mustek PF-A700B Picture Frame

So, I bought one of these digital frames a while back and just got around to trying it out. The frame has a roughly16:9 aspect ratio screen, so I was expecting to have to crop some of my images to that ratio so that they’d display nicely (it does also support a 4:3 mode, but that leaves black bars left & right on the screen).

Problem was that when I converted the images to the 480 x 234 resolution that the manual states the screen is, I ended up with black bars above and below and the image squashed down. Took me a while to work out what it was really doing… even in 16:9 mode it is expecting to be given 4:3 photos (which is what most digital cameras take). All it does is stretch them out to fit the screen, which distorts them.

My solution, after a little trial and error, was this process:

  1. Scale the image to be 960 pixels wide, preserving the aspect ratio. In my case, I got iPhoto to export them at that width, but you could do it afterwards too.
  2. Crop the image so that it is 960 x 468 pixels. I have this set up as a Photoshop action to take the centre slice, but for some images that is not the best crop and you’ll have to do those manually.
  3. Finally, scale the image to be 624 x 468 not preserving the aspect ratio in this case (so you effectively squash it horizontally). This will make it look very strange on the PC, but the frame will stretch it back out.

So you can see what the effect of the processing is, here’s a before and after pair from one of the photos I took in Mexico:

Before After

When the frame stretches this out again to the 16:9 ratio it will look normal. The reason for the additional resolution, despite the recommendation in the user guide not to exceed 480 x 234, is so that it has more pixels than it needs. When I tried the smaller images, they came out looking blurry. The 624×468 resolution seems to look OK unless you study it close up (and who does that with a framed snapshot?).

I have the steps above stored in an action in Photoshop so I can apply it to a batch of photos, store them on a CF card and then have them run as a slideshow. The quality of the screen is not stunning, but then I didn’t expect it to be for the price. What was disappointing was that I couldn’t just load native resolution images into it and have it just render them directly, but my simple image processing trick works around that problem nicely and I am happy with the results.

17 thoughts on “Mustek PF-A700B Picture Frame

  1. Thanks for figuring this out!! I just purchased one of these frames from Compusa today, and was trying to figure out how to fill the screen with Photoshop, and you’ve already done the work for me!!

  2. Hi,

    I tried your cropping routine and I still get black bars on the sides. The picture frame will not strectch them out. Any ideas?

    Thanks for the help.

  3. Mike,

    The trick is not to crop in the third step, but to scale, and to do so in a way that doesn’t preserve the original aspect ratio.

    What application are you using to perform the scaling? Does it have a check box somewhere that allows you to scale the X

  4. You rock! I was just starting to work on this when Google directed me to your page. Great job 🙂

  5. If you’re still getting black bars make sure the frame is set to 16:9 mode. Can be changed in the menus somewhere, don’t remember off the top of my head.

  6. Worked perfectly! I just got a couple of these for father’s day gifts and wanted to pre-load some images. Great job. More of a pain than the frame I have (poloroid), but the Mustek is a lot less $$

  7. Awesome advice. Worked like a charm. I was about to throw this thing out until I stumbled upon this ideal solution. There’s quite a few suggestions on how to deal with this frame, but most posters prefer to bluster about their own expertise and leave out crucial, useful advice.
    THANKS!

  8. Works awesome!! Thanks for taking the time to lay down all the steps. VERY helpful!!

  9. Thanks!

    I tweaked your settings a little…. crop to 960 x 536 and then resize to 624 x 46 (don’t constrain proportions). Using these numbers delivers a more accurate aspect ratio on the image.

    But you post put me on the right track. Thank you!

  10. Guys all good and well, I cant even get mine to do anything 🙁 All it does is switch on and the screen turns white, I have pressed the buttons, inserted USB stick before and after switching it on to no avail, I am a sad man 🙁 – HELP

  11. Hi,

    I am looking for a Philips 10FF2CMI digital photo frame but am currently struggling to find one anywhere, or to find anywhere that has a good review. Do you know anywhere you can point me to that will provide one of these please?

    Many thanks

  12. And nine years on, this is still helping out folks who have one of these old 480 x 234 frames kicking around. Mine happens to be a Nextar N7-202, and your original instructions to crop to 968 x 468 pixels are perfect for my frame.

    Thank you from the future! 😉

    Andy

  13. Ha! Found one at the thrift store today for $3.00. Definitely worth it to screw with it, especially with its MP3 player, which rocks with some volume!

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