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Summary:

Dayframe’s newly-updated Android app is the best way yet to cast personal photos and other imagery to the TV screen.

chromecast feature art

Ever since Google first introduced its Chromecast streaming stick, people have been wondering how to replace the device’s default photo background with their own snapshots. Now you can — sort of, anyway: Android picture frame app Dayframe just published an update that brings photo slideshows to Chromecast.

Dayframe originally launched with the idea of turning your Android tablet into a kind of customizable picture frame, complete with the ability to play photos from Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram or Google+ as slideshows. Now, those very same slideshows are also playable via Chromecast — if you unlock the “Prime” version of Dayframe through an in-app payment, which will cost users $3.

I had a chance to play with the Chromecast feature of Dayframe a little bit this week and liked it, even though there is some room for improvement. As it stands, Dayframe will either display the entire photo on your TV, which leads to big black bars in the case of a snapshot taken in portrait orientation, or it will zoom in and animate photos in a Ken Burns-like fashion to fill the entire screen. At least when I tried it, those animations were kind of choppy.

But what’s great about Dayframe is that it also scours a number of Tumblr blogs, Flickr accounts and even Instagram feeds for curated takes on design, fashion and other topics that look great on your big screen. There is even a feed for screengrabs from films by Japanese animation god Hayao Miyazaki, which can be a great way to switch things up if you are starting to get sick of Chromecast’s default homescreen HDR imagery.

Check out a demo video of Dayframe for Chromecast below:

  1. My Failed Attempt at Paying for the Olympics:

    I’ve been a cord cutter for two years, and really the only time I miss it is during the Olympics. A few days into the Olympics, I had a lot of trouble getting NBC to come in over the antenna in our attic. After working really hard on fixing it, I decided that if I wanted to make sure I could see the rest of the Olympics I was going to have to pay Time Warner Cable. I was also curious to see what TV network apps were capable of these days. The disaster unfolded as follows.

    My original intention, given TWC’s advertising, was to watch the Olympics over TWC’s TV app on my Roku. I don’t see why I would need a cable box, since the app should work (300+ channels, right?).

    1. TWC advertises $40 Standard Cable, but it becomes clear during my call that, whether you want it or not, you need to pay for a $10 cable box. Otherwise you have to pay $80. I figure out I can rent a $2.50 cable-card and choose that option.
    2. TWC notifies me that I have to wait 24 hours for my service to turn on. That seems ridiculous, but whatever. They also aren’t kidding about the 24 hours part. It’s like I’m trying to buy a handgun or something.
    3. Once 24 hours passes, I pull up the TWC TV app on my Roku. The TWC website advertises over 300+ channels, but I only count 20. None of the major networks like ABC, NBC, or FOX. No TBS, AMC, or FX. Just a few junk channels are allowed in my area. I am shocked and realize I’m going to need the cable box.
    4. I test out some of the network apps that require authentication. The NBC Live Extra app refuses to work, claiming I don’t have the proper package. Even though other apps do work. So the one part I was sure would work for viewing the Olympics, doesn’t. I’m not looking forward to calling TWC to try to get it working.
    5. I show up at a TWC shop (40 minutes away) to pick up the box. They tell me there is a cable trap on my line. Someone will come out sometime next week to take it off. Until then, no cable even with the cable box. I courteously cancel the entire thing.

    In the end, the antenna started working again (maybe because I used a space heater to melt the snow off the roof) and I borrowed my brother’s TWC password for the Olympic’s app, which works fine. Over the past few days, TWC and NBC have made it clear they don’t want me paying to watch the Olympics. They want me to steal it. I cannot conclude anything else from how hard it is to pay them for it.

    I am also shocked at how terrible cable is. There is no way to watch most live channels on your smartphone, tablet, set top box, or laptop. I’ve been living in a cord-cutter world for so long, it seems unfathomable that almost everything is restricted to a junky cable box. I also realize Aereo (not available in my area) is actually providing a service that you can’t even pay the networks for if you wanted to. How is that even possible?

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