CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare Digital Frame Reviews

My Goal: The CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare help to Connect My Family

Connecting the members of my family together, no matter how far apart they are, is a very important objective for me. My family is large and most of us are on the East Coast.

Our daughter, Nasha, lives on the West coast and has not been able to come back home to visit in many years. Calling her is really "hit and miss" because of her work schedule and her struggle with a chronic illness (let alone the time zone difference between us.)

Emailing has not worked well because her access to the Internet is through a very slow dial-up connection. Even "snail-mail" hasn't been effective.

The Question: How to Easily Stay Connected with a Family Member on the Other side of the Continent?

I needed to find a way for our whole family to be able to keep in touch regularly with Nasha and be really excited about sharing their lives with her. It had to be a way that didn't necessarily involve her using a computer. I also wanted it to be fairly effortless for the family members to connect with her in real time. I envisioned family gatherings and events in which we could take pictures and she could receive them almost immediately, just as if she was right there!

The Answer: CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare!

Because of my research on digital frames for my website, I knew I had found the answer when I discovered CEIVA Digital Frames, especially the CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare. I would be able to set up Nasha's frame before sending it to her. When she received it, she would just plug it into her phone line and into a wall plug and she would be able to receive pictures and content without having to do another thing!

Invited family and friends would be able to send photos to her frame from their photo collections and from camera phones and iphones as well! Options for customizing photos with text, stickers and borders and even digital stationery are all available to send unique messages wirelessly to Nasha's CEIVA frame.

Paid Subscription to CEIVA's PicturePlan for the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare: Is it Worth it?

Also because of my research, I knew that the latest frames from CEIVA require a paid subscription to the CEIVA PicturePlan. However, frames do come bundled with anywhere from 3 months to 1 year of PicturePlan included with purchase. After checking out the website thoroughly, I decided that the benefits offered by membership in the PicturePlan far outweigh the time wasted on any concern over a small monthly fee. I also feel that the initial cost of the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare frames is extremely reasonable.

Why connecting via the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare Digital Frames Will Work for our Daughter.

I spoke with Nasha and we both decided I would manage Nasha's frame for her until (or if) she feels she might like to manage it herself. Frame settings, from slideshow interval times to programming off and on times, can be adjusted by Nasha from the frame itself or by me from the website. I can give her full access if and when she wants to go forward with such functions as changing the content herself, managing her stored photos and albums, sending photos and greeting cards to another CEIVA frame herself, etc.

Her frame can be set to download pictures from the CEVIA website in the middle of the night through a toll-free number and it will not interfere with her phone line. If she has to use her phone when the frame is dialing in, it will disconnect and try again at a different time.

I believe a CEIVA frame, specifically the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare can be an excellent choice for any relatives and friends who are far away and have limited or no access to the Internet.

The CEIVA Frames: the 8" CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAshare Digital Frames:

I had in my possession 2 CEIVA Digital Frames. I planned to send the 8" CEIVAshare to Nasha in San Francisco and I keep the 8" CEIVA Pro 80 for myself.

Before I actually set up the frames, I went to www.ceiva.com to register them. I also decided to call CEIVA customer support to see how responsive they would be. I asked the question about how to give Nasha access to her frame if she decides that is what she wants in the future.

The answer was given to me immediately by a very polite and patient young man. I got through to him after only a one minute wait @7PM (my time). He told me that I would not be able to change the user name but I could give her all the account details so that she can go in and manage her frame that way. I can actually unregister the frame at any time and allow my daughter to register it herself if she prefers. The process is also explained thoroughly on the website.

Setting up Nasha's Frame-8" CEIVAshare:

I opened the CEIVAshare first so that I could set it up and get it ready to be sent to Nasha as soon as I found out what it was all about.

CEIVAshare Digital Frame

Just a peek into the Quick Start Guide of the CEIVAShare and I was able to set up the frame with the telephone connection with no problem at all: CEIVAshare Digital Frame

CEIVAshare Digital Frame

CEIVAshare Digital Frame

I just removed the back (very easy), attached the included USB modem, then the included phone cord, then the adapter.

When I replaced the back panel and attached the back leg stand (very intuitive), the frame has a really clean and neat look. It is very sturdy but the stand is not adjustable and the frame is not wall-mountable.

CEIVAshare Digital Photo Frame

The included remote control can be stored in its own space on the right side of the frame. CEIVAshare Digital Photo Frame

I love the glass that covers the front of the screen and matting of the CEIVAShare. I think this will provide just the protection needed from the claw swats of Nasha's very inquisitive cat!

Setting Up My Frame (8" CEIVA Pro80) to Connect Through my Wi-Fi Connection:

I opened the CEIVA Pro 80 next.

CEIVA Pro 80

I decided to use the included CEIVA Wi-Fi Adapter. Setting it up was also a cinch. The stand is part of the frame itself so there was nothing to assemble and the adapter fit right into the back of the frame the same way a thumbdrive would fit into a computer.

CEIVA Pro 80 Digital Frame

I only needed to know the security password for my connection (which I had in a safe place.) If the security key is needed, it can be obtained easily from the router manufacturer.

I pressed the Menu button, navigated to Settings and then to Connection Settings and proceeded to put in my information. When done, I got an error message that there was no dial tone. That was my first clue that I had not completely followed the instructions, since I wasn't even connecting by phone! So back to the CEIVA we site! I found I had skipped the very important, "How to Connect" step! I went through the process again, this time checking the "wireless" box. As soon as I did that, I was able to connect effortlessly. (But I did feel a little silly.)

Setting Up My Frame to Connect Through a Broadband Connection:

Even though the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare frames are wireless and broadband ready, the broadband adapter was not included (only the Wi-Fi.) I was curious as to how to set up my frame through a broadband connection so I ordered the CEIVA Broadband Adapter (the only one that will work).

I have an extra port on my router and an extra cable to connect the router and the frame. I found the setup as easy as the Wi-Fi setup had been. I have dynamic addressing (DHCP). If I had static addressing, I would have had to contact my Internet service Provider to obtain the needed information.

Connecting Nasha's Frame via a Phone Connection:

Plugging in and connecting Nasha's CEIVAShare frame to a phone line was a different story. We do not have a landline phone anymore. I checked the CEIVA website and found that a fax line will work. I took the frame to my office and sure enough, all it took was plugging the telephone wire into the fax line (with the included dual adapter jack) and the power adapter into a wall plug. The frame was up and running immediately. Now I was certain that Nasha would be able to do the same at her apartment.

The CEIVA Website

The CEIVA website is a must for the full functioning of the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare digital frames. I am extremely pleased with the CEIVA website. There is a wealth of information and the site is very easy to navigate.I found that everything about these two frames is very intuitive. I had downloaded both manuals for the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare but I really did not need to access them.

One trick I have found that works very well for me is to scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on "Site Map." Pretty much anything you want to know can be found there. The website also has a search bar. The Customer Care section is also a good place to go to find answers to questions. And, of course, email or phone contact with a CEIVA support person is also readily available.

CEIVA Pro 80 offers built-in Media Server connectivity to allow streaming of photos instantly from a computer to the frame. (The frame still needs to be connected wirelessly.) I wasn't able to use this method because my computer refused to allow sharing, even though it recognized my digital frame. This is definitely a problem with my computer, not the frame. In the near future, I will contact my IT person to try to fix the problem.

Uploading Pictures and More...

To check out how both the CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare frames work, I uploaded some pictures to the CEIVA website from my computer and a few directly from my camera phone. I found it takes quite a few minutes to upload photos. The website suggested downloading CEIVA Sender (free) and to make uploading faster. I found that to be true.

I had fun putting text and borders on some of the pictures. I also played with the greeting card feature. Sending photos to either frame or both at the same time took one click of a button. Pictures can be rotated, names can be changed, etc., before sending.

Pictures and greeting cards can even be scheduled to be sent at a future time, such as a birthday or holiday! CEIVA members also have the ability to actually compose a letter on a wide selection of digital stationery to be sent to a CEIVA frame. Want to send an entire album of photos? Easy! Just a click of a button!

Can the CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare Frames Read from Memory Cards?

Both the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare frames can read from memory cards and display the contents on the frames. This was important to Nasha because she would like to use the card from her digital camera to see those pictures on the frame.

Please note that in order for these frames to be able to read from memory cards, a CEIVA PicturePlan subscription must be in place.

Button Platform for the CEIVA Pro 80 and the CEIVAShare:

The button platform for each of these frames is well thought out and very easy to use. There are only 6 buttons for either frame. They are Up, Down, Left, Right, Menu and Select. The on-screen menus are easy to navigate with either the remote of the CEIVAshare or the buttons at the bottom of the CEIVA Pro 80.

There are only 2 buttons on the back of each frame: a white and a black one. The white one can be used to force connections to the frame or to stop a slideshow and then start it again. The black one allows control of the brightness. What could be easier?

TECH SPECS:

8" CEIVAshare Digital Frame

CEIVAshare Digital Frame



STYLE:

Frame Appearance of the CEIVAShare:

A sleek black wooden frame with charcoal matting outlined in white with a glass cover over the screen and matting. A black and a white button are on the back of the frame. The left side has built-in card readers. The right side has space for storing the included remote control. 8.5 inches high, 10 inches wide and 3 inches deep. 3 lbs.

Display Options:

Can only be displayed on a flat surface with the included frame stand. Stand not adjustable and the frame is not wall-mountable.

IMAGE DISPLAY QUALITY:

Screen Resolution:

800x600. High resolution, 8" active matrix digital LCD screen.

Aspect Ratio:

4:3 Portrait.

Brightness:

Can be controlled from the frame.

Color Depth:

Thousands of colors.

Viewing Angle:

Very wide angle with little distortion.

Screen Backlighting Display:

TFT LCD

Screen Surface:

Covered with glass. Viewing area is approximately 4 1/2 inches high and 6 inches wide within an 8 inch diagonal.

METHODS OF CONNECTIVITY:

Wi-Fi and Broadband ready with connections that can be accessed by removing the back panel. For connecting through a phone line a modem adapter, phone cord and dual jack adapter are included. Connecting through Wi-Fi and broadband require the additional purchase of CEIVA Wireless or Broadband Adapters.

SUPPORTED FILE TYPES:

Memory Card Formats:

Compact Flash, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Secure Digital, SmartMedia, Multimedia Card, Microdrive, xD-Picture Card, miniSD Card. (Some cards require an adapter.)

Picture Formats:

JPEG, TIFF, GIF, BMP and PSD.

Audio and Video Files:

None at this time.

Text and Messaging Files:

Ability to add captions, borders, messages, etc. to pictures and cards as well as adding many different text fonts and styles to a large selection of digital stationery.

PICTURE FUNCTIONS and ADVANCED FEATURES:

Auto slideshow, programming on and off times, revised free software downloads and all others are listed and instructions are thoroughly documented on the website.

ACCESSORIES INCLUDED:

Six button remote control, AC power supply, dual phone jack adapter, phone cord, CEIVA modem adapter, quick start guide, quick tips.


8" CEIVA Pro 80

CEIVA Pro 80



STYLE:

Frame Appearance:

Sleek with interchangeable black and wood grain plastic faceplates. Both seem to be pretty smudge-proof. I prefer the black myself but both tend to make the frame look a little like a TV or a monitor, rather than a digital frame. Other skins are available through PicturePlan's partner, Skinit.

Connections can all be found at the back on the bottom of the chrome and black stand which is integrated as part of the whole frame. Facing the back of the frame, the memory card slots are on the left and the wireless adapter, mini USB C port, power port and phone connection ports are on the right. A black and a white button are on the back of the frame. Six buttons to control functions on the frame are located at the bottom of the front of the frame. 8.5 inches high, 10 inches wide and 3 inches deep. 3 lbs.

Display Options:

Can only be displayed on a flat surface. The frame itself is a part of the frame. The stand is not adjustable and the frame is not wall-mountable.

IMAGE DISPLAY QUALITY:

Screen Resolution:

640x480. High resolution, 8" active matrix digital LCD screen.

Aspect Ratio:

4:3 Portrait.

Brightness:

Can be controlled from the frame.

Color Depth:

Thousands of colors.

Viewing Angle:

Very wide angle with little distortion.

Screen Backlighting Display:

TFT LCD.

Screen Surface:

Viewing area is approximately 4 1/2 inches high and 6 inches wide within an 8 inch diagonal.

METHODS OF CONNECTIVITY:

Wi-Fi and Broadband ready. The CEIVA Wireless Adapter is included. A dual phone jack and telephone cord are also supplied. Connecting through broadband requires an additional purchase of a CEIVA Broadband Adapter.

SUPPORTED FILE TYPES:

Media Server Support:

PC with Windows Media Player, Vista or Macintosh with additional media server software.

Memory Card Formats:

Compact Flash, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Secure Digital, SmartMedia, MultiMedia Card, Microdrive, xD-Picture Card, miniSD Card. (Some cards require an adapter).

Picture Formats:

JPEG, also TIFF, GIF, BMP and PSD.

Audio and Video Files:

None at this time.

Text and Messaging Files:

Ability to add captions, borders, messages, etc., to pictures and greeting cards as well as a large selection of digital stationery with ability to add many different text fonts and styles.

PICTURE FUNCTIONS and ADVANCED FEATURES:

Auto slideshow, programming on and off times, revised free software downloads and all others are listed and instructions are thoroughly documented on the website.

ACCESSORIES INCLUDED:

AC power supply, dual phone jack adapter, quick start guide, quick tips, media server instruction book, CEIVA Wireless Adapter, 2 interchangeable plastic frame faceplates in black and wood grain finishes.


KUDOS FOR BOTH CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare FRAMES:

    Extremely easy to set up, connect and use for almost all skill levels.
    Can connect by Wi-Fi, broadband and analog and digital phone.
    Can send photos from CEIVA website, Internet, email, camera phones, iphones, Facebook, Picasa, etc.
    Most functions are available for the Mac Operating System.
    Content from the Internet (not RSS) is available.
    Can read and display memory cards. (PicturePlan subscription required).
    Functions can be pre-programmed and frames can be pre-loaded before sending.
    Sharp, clear picture with good viewing angle.
    Brightness can be controlled from the frame.
    Can "force" a connection to the frame at any time simply by holding down the white button on the back of the frame.
    Remote control on the CEIVAshare is very responsive, has a good range with only six buttons and a place for its storage on the frame. Same six buttons are located at the bottom of the CEIVA Pro.
    PicturePlan allows for an ever-growing number of options for receiving, customizing and sending pictures, messages and greetings.
    Can order prints and photo-related gifts directly from the frame.
    Website is informative and easy to navigate.
    Customer support is responsive and available by phone or email.
    Software updates free and ongoing.


CAVEATS FOR BOTH CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare FRAMES:

    PicturePlan paid subscription is required, even for reading memory cards.
    If subscription lapses, you cannot access any of your photos beyond the last ones displayed.
    Does not have audio or video functionality yet.
    Content from the Internet is not RSS feeds so is not continuously updated.
    Both models are broadband and Wi-Fi ready and both come with phone cords. The Pro80 comes with a Wireless Adapter. In order to connect by broadband for the Pro 80 and by Wi-Fi or broadband for the CEIVAshare, an additional purchase of a CEIVA Wireless or Broadband Adapter is necessary.


I have to admit that at this point in time, I cannot find much to not like about the CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare frames! I wish they had audio and video capabilities but since CEIVA continually updates the functionality of their frames, I expect these features will eventually be available to the CEIVA community.

I am planning to send another CEIVAshare to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Arizona. My brother-in-law refuses to have a computer in his home. So I have a pretty good feeling that a setup like Nasha's is going to work perfectly for them, too!

I am now about to package up Nasha's frame and send it to her. I have already sent out her invitations to family members and I have sent hundreds of pictures to be available to her when she plugs in her frame. I will be happy to report back on our family's experiences with these CEIVA Pro 80 and CEIVAShare frames after the holidays.


UPDATE: Proof Positive that CEIVA Frames Connect People!

Above is a scan of a note my sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Arizona sent to me after having the CEIVA Pro 80 in their home for the last month. Unfortunately, the scan is difficult to read, so I will translate exactly:

Harriet & Ken, We really like Ceiva! It was super nice of you guys to get us this and also taking the time to program it. We love all the pictures. However, did you two find the fountain of youth referring to picture of you & Ken! Tell us what you did to look so young. Maybe we can do it! ha ha Love Nora & Paul

P.S. We look at at you every morning. It helps to keep us closer to you & we share you with our firends!

I believe that last sentence really says it all!

Update on Nasha's CEIVA:

Our daughter, Nasha, is loving her CEIVASHare which she has had for almost a year! She has told us that it really is so heartwarming to her to know that we care enough about her to continuously send her pictures of the family back home. She is always able to be part of every family gathering and event.

My Family's Newest CEIVA!

I have just sent a CEIVA Pro 80 frame to my son, Keith, in Atlanta, GA. I am really excited that I will now be able to update him on everything that is going on here with our family and also receive his photos on our frame!

Keith has never been a real fan of photo-taking. But as he follows along with me and this site, he has begun to take quite a few pictures and has even posted some of them on his Facebook account!

My special present for him is the large number of scans I processed from a trunk full of memorabilia that he had left at our house. Now we can finally clear out that trunk because he will have all of those memories on his frame to look at whenever he wants.


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