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Slipping into a Slideshow

Showing individual pictures is great for that "pass the picture of your dog around the restaurant table" experience, but when you're ready to tell the complete story, a slideshow's the only way to go. Follow along and I'll show you how to present one of your own.

Slideshow Settings

The key to the perfect iPod slideshow is the iPod Photo's Slideshow Settings screen. To access the screen, choose Photos from the iPod's main screen, and press the Select button. In the resulting Photos screen, you'll find the Slideshow Settings entry, along with a list of all the photo albums on your iPod. For now, select Slideshow Settings, and press Select again ( Figure 3.6 ).


Figure 3.6 The iPod Photo's Slideshow Settings screen.

You've arrived at the Slideshow Settings screen, where you can configure such important settings as how long each slide will play, the music that will accompany your slideshow, and the type of TV signal the iPod will output. Let's run through all this screen's commands.

Time Per Slide

Simple enough. You have six choices: Manual, 2 Seconds, 3 Seconds, 5 Seconds, 10 Seconds, and 20 Seconds. It's none of my business how you go about your business, but I might offer a couple of hints here.

The first is that if you plan to narrate your pictures, choose Manual. This option allows you to decide when to advance to the next slide.

If you won't be narrating your slides, and you want to give your audience a reasonable amount of time to ooh and ahh, choose 3 Seconds or 5 Seconds. The 2 Seconds setting gives the crowd barely enough time to know what they're looking at before the next slide rolls in.

Ten seconds is a long time to look at a picture unless you're really interested in the subject. And 20 seconds is darned near an eternity unless that picture is of your latest newborn or that hottie from Chemistry class. Before choosing one of these longer settings, be sure that your audience will be engaged for the length of each slide. And if you're showing a lot of slides, be very, very careful unless your intention is to move your guests out of your home as quickly as possible.


Another simple one. From this screen, you choose the playlist you'd like to accompany your slideshow. What's that? You say you just want to play one song, not an entire playlist? No problem; just use the iPod's On-The-Go feature to create a one-song playlist. On-The-Go is the last choice in the Slideshow Music screen. And if you'd like a silent slideshow, just choose Off.


This is a simple binary command: On or Off.

Shuffle Photos

Here's another either/or command. If you'd like the pictures from the selected album to be displayed randomly, switch Shuffle Photos to On.


Making this command plural is slightly deceiving to the extent that it may lead you to believe that the iPod Photo offers more than one transition. Currently, it doesn't. When this command is set to On, a left-to-right wipe transition is placed between each slide.

TV Out

You have three options here: Off, Ask, and On.

Off means that no slideshow will display on a TV attached via the iPod's A/V cable or the Dock's S-Video port. When you play a slideshow, that show displays normally on the iPod.

Choosing Ask causes the iPod to display the Start Slideshow screen, where you'll see one of two messages:

Slideshows can also be started by pressing the center button on any full screen photo.


Slideshows can also be started by pressing the play button on any highlighted photo or album.

Useful as all get-out, I agree, but the most helpful things about these screens, from my perspective, are the TV Off and TV On commands at the bottom of the display. If you have a TV attached to the iPod, choose TV On. If there's no TV present, choose TV Off.

Finally, On lets the iPod know that you'd like it to project its slideshow on an attached TV. If you haven't connected a television and leave this option on, you'll see a different sort of display on your iPod when you play a slideshow. A slideshow with TV Out off does what you'd expect—shows a series of full-screen pictures. With TV Out on and no connected TV, you'll see a preview screen—one that shows the current slide in the center of the screen, the previous slide in a smaller view to the left, and the next slide in a smaller view to the right. Yes, this is a way to preview your slides, but it's almost completely useless when you're watching the show on the iPod alone.

TV Signal

This is the command you'll likely have to set exactly once in the iPod's life unless you're a jet-setter. You can choose between NTSC and PAL output. NTSC is the television standard used in North America and Japan. PAL is the standard just about everywhere else. Choose the setting that makes sense for your television.

Projecting Pictures

You've packed your iPod with the photos of your latest tour of Okeechobee, you've primed your audience with caffeine, and you're ready to rock. Rather than pass the iPod from hand to hand (and risk never seeing it again), why not put your pictures up on the big screen? Here's how:

  1. Plug 'er in. The iPod can project to a TV either through the included A/V cable or via the S-Video port on the iPod's Dock. The A/V cable's yellow connector is for composite video; the red connector is for the right audio channel; and the white connector is for the left audio channel. (Note that this cable bears a special three-ring miniplug sleeve—the end that goes into the iPod's headphone port—that's designed to work specifically with the iPod. Other A/V cables are unlikely to work with the iPod Photo.) If you have the option to use S-Video, do so. It will produce a better-looking picture, plus it gives you the option to use a really long cable. The iPod's A/V cable is just under 5 feet long, and if you plan to narrate over a manually controlled slideshow, you're going to be tethered fairly closely to your TV. Fifteen feet of S-Video cable will allow you to sit comfortably on the couch and control the show from the iPod planted in its Dock. If you've configured your slideshow to be accompanied by music on your iPod, be sure to make an audio connection—either from the two audio RCA plugs on the A/V cable or via the Audio Out port on the Dock, if you're using the Dock's S-Video connection.
  2. Switch on TV Out. Your iPod won't play on the television unless you tell it to.
  3. Know what to expect. If you have a picture on the iPod's screen, don't be surprised when it doesn't flash up on the TV screen the moment you plug in the iPod. Video from the iPod won't appear on the TV until you start a slideshow.
  4. Start the show. Choose an album from the iPod's Photos screen, and press Select. On the subsequent screen, you'll see thumbnail images of the pictures in the album on a five-by-five grid. Use the scroll wheel to move to the first picture you want to display, and press Play. Pressing Play again will pause the slideshow.
  5. Stop the show. After everyone's fallen asleep, there's no need to tax your iPod's battery further. Press Menu to stop the slideshow and return to the thumbnail screen.
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