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Five Easy Steps to Create a Family Slideshow for Your Smart TV

Five Easy Steps to Create a Family Slideshow for Your Smart TV

by Joshua Sherman

At your next family gathering, instead of breaking out the photo album, why not impress everyone with a fancy slideshow of your last vacation? If you're afraid that might be too complex, follow these five easy steps and you will be sharing your holiday stories in no time. This process will be particularly easy if you have a smart TV or a separate media device, such as an Apple TV.

1. Organize Your Photos. Choose wisely. After a fabulous vacation in Savannah, it's easy to show every picture taken. An hour later and you're only on day 2... out of 7! Quality over quantity is key for an entertaining slideshow experience. Showcase pictures that best feature you and the people you were with. Highlight the fun and interesting activities you took part in, but don't show every selfie. Plus, the length or size of your slideshow may be limited by your device's storage capacity.

2. Edit Your Photos. We all have some pictures that would be so much better if they were a bit brighter or if a stranger in the background making a funny face was cropped out. This is made easy thanks to a number of simple apps, such as Picasa, a free tool for PCs and Macs that allows you crop, brighten or add effects to your images. With Photoristic HD, you can also edit pictures on your iPhone or iPad just as well as more professional and complex desktop programs, with neat features like color control, split toning, and preset filters.

3. Select Your Hardware. After you've selected and edited your photos, the next step is to decide how you want to display your memories. The simplest method is to use your smart TV; most models come equipped with a slideshow feature. Some smart TVs will even allow you to create your own screensaver with your images, breathing life into your living room when you walk away from the TV.

If you prefer to set up a stream between your computer and your TV, you can use a media center such as an Apple TV or Chromecast instead. These devices are easy to set up, don't take up much space, and come with a number of other apps and features. Some of these devices can be controlled with a dedicated remote from anywhere in the room.

Photos taken with almost all cameras, including smartphones, will still look crisp and detailed on a 4K TV's ultra-HD display. The higher resolution photos also show more detail when viewed from close range on screens 40 inches or greater in size.

4. Load Your Pictures. Once you've picked out your photos and chosen your hardware, transfer the files from your computer onto a storage device or prepare them for streaming. If you're using a smart TV, transfer the files onto an SD card or USB flash drive and insert it into the proper slot on your TV. Once connected, use the TV's "settings" menu to select how the slideshow will play. Smart TVs often let you choose whether to play them on demand or when the TV goes to sleep.

If you're using Chromecast or Apple TV, you can quickly configure your computer to stream the files via your home's wireless network. Both manufacturers provide online guides detailing how to use the devices. In most cases, all you have to do is switch to the correct input channel with your TV remote and start the show from the computer or the device.

5. Play Your Slideshow! Be sure to give your slideshow a test drive before everyone arrives to make sure it doesn't run too quickly or include any upside-down images. You may want to practice setting up the correct input channel or device on your TV so they aren't any delays. Now for the fun part! All you have to do is relive your vacation and share your memories with your loved ones while watching your pictures stream.