It's not really a fair comparison, as the older frame (KSPF-2000) was more expensive than the new, wider one (SV811). It is interesting to be able to compare similar devices from the same brand, seven years apart. I actually prefer the industrial design of the older frame. Plus if I display the entire digital photo in its proper aspect ratio, I don't actually get any more usable display on the widescreen frame than I already had on the old frame. However, the newer frame has a brighter display, with a wider face-on set of good viewing angles.
I will have a followup review comparing four current digital picture frame models.
Kodak was early to market in the digital photo frame space, with the KSPF-2000. Courtesy of Internet Archive, you can see what their site looked like on October 19, 2000: KODAK Smart Picture Frame. There was even a telephone modem based network called StoryBox (that required a subscription), for sending images to frames. You could also order prints from the frame itself. The frame is 6.4" diagonal, 640x480: a good match for the aspect ratio of digital photos. It supports Compact Flash cards only.
The frame was not successful, probably a combination of the market not being ready for it, and the price (U$350 - roughly U$410 in today's dollars, plus a subscription fee). The situation was however good for those few savvy buyers who understood the product, as they were able to snap the frame up at fire-sale prices after it was discontinued. (You may still be able to do the same these days, as old frames occasionally show up on eBay.)
It's unfortunate for Kodak that they weren't able to stay in the market, as they could have been a lead player. Now that they are back in digital picture frame business, they are just one player amongst many brands large and small.
They have a 7" widescreen model, the SV710, but I will look at the larger one, the widescreen 8" SV811 (Kodak SV-811 8-inch Digital Picture Frame at Amazon.com) The frame resolution is 800x480.
An Aspect of Digital Photos
Aspect ratios: digital camera images are typically 4:3 (1.33...), so e.g. 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1600x1200, 3072x2304.
So it is puzzling why the digital picture frames are all adopting 16:9 (1.77...) aspect ratios, which would be 640x360, 800x450, 1024x576, 1600x900, and so on. It means that the display is simply not a good scalable match to the image. I suppose it is probably because most of the small LCD screens being manufactured these days are for DVD players, which do need a 16:9 widescreen ratio, so screens in that form factor are probably cheaper.
So if you set your widescreen frame to "fit entire picture" rather than "fill entire screen", you end up with the rather ridiculous situation of only using the centre of the screen, with black bars on both sides.
Here's what they look like side-by-side, the older KSPF-2000 is the one with the wooden frame on the left.
I have to say, I think the styling has gone downhill. The new model has a wide black frame (which is 1.25" larger than the actual body of the display, I guess to make you feel like you're getting a big step up from a 7" frame).
However, the newer model has a noticeably brighter screen, the older KSPF has an almost matte effect on its screen, with a narrow range of good viewing angles.
I had a tough time to capture any images that give a good representation of the frames side-by-side in terms of image quality, sharpness, brightness etc. There's a lot of complexity with the screens glowing and dependencies on light angles and lighting conditions. I can certainly say that in terms of sharpness the screens are basically indistinguishable. In terms of colours, the KSPF shows quite a bit darker than the SV811, and the newer frame is probably the more colour accurate of the two. Take the next set of images with a grain of salt - slightly different lighting conditions or angles would give different results.
Here are two macro shots of the screens, first the KSPF-2000
There are other features of the KSPF that I prefer: the controls are simple, with shapes recognizable by touch, and easily accessible, and it has rubberized feet at the back, so it doesn't slide around. The SV811 has quite complex controls that are at the back of its deep frame, so (unless you are using the remote control), you have to lean quite far over to look at the labels in order to select which of the identical black circular buttons to press. As well, both the front and back edges are just hard plastic, so it tends to slide easily on a hard surface like a wooden table.
KSPF controls, with blue Menu button and arrow buttons, versus black circles of the SV811
The SV811 built-in controls lack left and right buttons, it only has up and down buttons, so some functions, such as setting the time, appear to only be possible using the remote control.
The firmware that came with the SV811 was 2007.3.27 Worldwide, I upgraded to 2007.7.03 Worldwide
Kodak provides software support for both Windows and Mac, including for frame firmware updates, which is very nice to see. The firmware update is possible because the frame can mount as a USB drive, so you just attach it to the platform of your choice and copy the firmware update over, and then just run Settings->Upgrade Firmware.
SV811 Mac Firmware upgrade - issues
1. The instructions are written mostly for a Windows PC.
2. The Mac will show drive icons for both the 128MB internal frame memory and the memory card. The internal memory doesn't have a name assigned. When you try to unmount these drives, before disconnecting the USB cable, they just automatically remount. If you just disconnect the cable as the instructions direct, you will get an "unexpected disconnection" message on the Mac.
More on software and features
Almost all the information about the KSPF is gone from the Kodak site. There are two old FAQS: "Registered, Network-Connected KODAK Smart Picture Frame" and "Non-Network KODAK Smart Picture Frame".
The SV811 frame came with EasyShare 6.2, but version 6.4 is available for download for Windows (version 6.1 for Mac).
The SV811 adds a number of new capabilities beyond what the older KSPF frame can do: the new frame has a built-in speaker (and can play MP3s), it can play movies and it can be mounted on a computer as a USB drive. It can read directly from digital cameras or USB memory keys and storage devices.
As well it reads multiple card formats, including the ability to support the insertion of both a small-format card (e.g. Memory Stick) and a CF card - it will display both in the interface.
You can also copy between all storage options - between cards and from cards to internal memory. Copying card to card in this way is pretty darn slow though (of course it will depend on the card read/write performance as well) - I wouldn't doing this unless it is your only option, it doesn't provide any information other than a progress bar, and in my case it failed after a partial copy with an "unable to create file" message.
It can print directly from the frame (over USB) to a PictBridge-enabled printer.
It comes with a remote control that can be used to navigate the interface as well as stop and start slideshows.