SanDisk SDV1-R

There are fancier digital-photo viewers out there, but the reasonably priced SDV1-R offers an appealingly refined simplicity.

SanDisk steps into the digital-photo-viewer arena with its SDV1-R. This small, black box allows you to display images from today's most popular memory media--Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard/CompactFlash, SmartMedia, and Memory Stick--on your TV in slide-show fashion. You simply plug the power adapter into the box, attach the box to your TV via the included composite video or S-Video cables (we recommend S-Video if your TV supports it; the video quality is far better), and insert a media card into the appropriate slot--you're good to go.

SanDisk included an IR remote in the package, so you can control what's on the screen from the comfort of your couch. From the setup menu, you can choose the pause time between pictures during a slide show, as well as whether to display picture info (date, time, image resolution) or to frame shots for 4:3 (standard) or wide-screen sets. There's also a Preview mode that allows you to look at several thumbnail-sized images at once, as well as a zoom function that blows up shots. With the press of a button on the remote, you can delete or rotate pictures. The images, even high-resolution ones, appear on the screen fairly quickly, with minimal delay. This device can handle up to 6-megapixel JPEG files taken with cameras. Low-resolution shots (640x480) appear almost instantly.

More-advanced digital-photo viewers are hitting market, including ones that allow you to add music and visual effects to slide shows. But if you're just looking for a simple, easy-to-use viewer that has a couple of nice extras for a reasonable price, the SDV1-R fits the bill. We only wish SanDisk would add a USB connection so that this gizmo could pull double duty as a computer-card reader.

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