FROM THE TUSTIN NEWS, THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2005


THE DOC IS IN...

He wants his digital pictures on TV

I hate to admit how frustrated I sometimes get with computing, but since getting my new computer I decided to resume my two year quest for what should be a simple task.

All I want to do is take digital pictures, compose them into a slide show and show them on my television set. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

For a number of years we have been hearing about “convergence.” All of our digital media is magically going to come together into a single home entertainment center. Internet, video on demand, email, pictures and television are going to be displayed on a single large screen in startling detail while we sit in our easy chairs and press a simple remote. If this is true, why can’t I see a slide show on my television?

Almost all of us have DVD players attached to our television sets. This allows us to play movies. We also have computers that have either CD or DVD burners installed. These allow us to make our own Compact Disks or DVDs. How do these come together so I can produce a video CD or DVD on my computer and see the results on my television?

First of all, I must do something so that what I show on my television makes some sort of sense. This is the slide show.

There are a number of computer programs that allow us to produce slide shows. Each program has slightly different features. One free program is Microsoft’s Photo Story 3, downloadable from www.microsoft.com. Another is Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker 2.1, also a free download. There are more slide show programs that can be found searching on Google.

I want to be able to arrange slides, and add titles, transitions and background music. All this is easy with almost any of these programs. Photo Story 3 does a nice job of producing a slide show. It plays beautifully on my computer using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, another free download. But I want to see it on my television or be able to send it to others to see on theirs. Not easy.

The problem is with the CD/DVD burning programs. I have Roxio 7, Sonic (that just bought Roxio), a trial version from NTI (a small Irvine company) and just downloaded a trial version of Adobe Premiere Elements 1. Each purports to produce a slide show and burn it to VideoCD or DVD. Unfortunately the slide show features are not very extensive in any but possibly the Adobe program, but the trial version will not allow me to burn a DVD, so I can’t report on its end product. And few will burn slide shows produced by other programs.

So I still don’t have the type of slide show I want, burned to a Video CD or DVD that can be shared with others.

With tongue in cheek, I might suggest that Microsoft buy one of these companies and force some compatibility, but this opens up a whole other set of possible problems.

Maybe one of these days true convergence will be with us and our computers will be hooked up to our television entertainment center and my slide show will travel seamlessly from computer to tv. But then I still can’t send my kids a DVD they can see on their tvs. Oh well.

I intend to keep trying and will let you know if I find a satisfactory solution to my quest.

If you would like to hear more about DVDs, VCDs and other frustrations, or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

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Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: www.arholub.com. This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at: doc@arholub.com.


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