The Pictures feature by default ignores folders and displays auto-generated thumbnails for everything that it finds on local drives (Figure 12). You can change the view via the options shown by pressing the Menu button. But selecting Browse Folders dumped me at the top level of the local file browser. And since I had three thumb drives attached (unhelpfully labeled C: D: and F:) it took me awhile to find my way to the desired folder.
Figure 12: Thumbnail view for locally stored Pictures
You can change the default A-Z sort and the FAT+ will remember it. But I wasn't able to change the default-to-all-thumbnails view.
If you have your photos on a NAS or other network share, you can't get a thumbnail view. Instead, you just get the list view shown in Figure 13. Note that the complete path to the current folder is shown at the bottom of the screen.
Figure 13: List view only for networked pictures
The FAT+ handled auto-rotation of images just fine and you don't need to access the submenus to zoom in and pan around pictures, since there are handy buttons on the remote for that.
If you need to rotate a photo, change the slideshow timing, transition effect or loop mode, though, the options are there via the Menu button. You can choose among seven slideshow transition effects or an eighth All Effect Shuffle mode. Most everything except the Crossfade Effect wasn't my taste, however. I only looked at JPG files, but Seagate says the FAT+ handles BMP, JPEG (up to 20 megapixels) PNG, GIF and TIFF formats.
Maybe it's me, but I have a hell of a time starting slideshows on media players and the FAT+ was no exception. Clicking on a picture displayed a Play arrow icon, so you'd think that the slideshow would be underway. But after staring at the same picture for more than the two minute maxium slideshow timing, I decided to press the Play button on the remote. This, of course, flashed a Pause icon, which was news to me that I'd been watching a slideshow.
A trip to the submenu and selecting a 2 second slide timing seemed to get things going, however (after an additional press of the Play button). But I found that if I changed my mind and hit the Back arrow on the remote while in the Slide Timing menu, I got thrown back to the thumbnail view and not the point in the "slideshow" that I had been at. My slide timing didn't appear to be remembered after I left the slideshow, either.
You can have music with your slideshow if you like. But only if you start the music before starting the slideshow.
The FAT+ Music feature is similar to Pictures in the way it treats local and network files. The default view dumps all of your music into a single view, with cover art shown for each song. If you change to a more useful Album listing, you lose the cover art and get generic icons instead (Figure 14).
Figure 14: Music Album view for local files
Figure 15 shows the rather plain Album view when browsed to files served up by the TwonkyMedia server on the QNAP NAS.
Figure 15: Music Album view for Media server
PLS, and M3U playlist formats are supported, neither of which I tried. AAC, MP3, Dolby Digital, DTS, ASF, FLAC, WMA, LPCM, ADPCM, WAV and OGG formats are supported. I tried only no-DRM M4A iTunes and MP3 files, both of which played fine.
Figure 16 shows the Music play screen for a local file. Playback from a SMB share or UPnP AV / DLNA server would look the same, but with a generic icon in place of the cover art.
Figure 15: Music file playing
If you have a plasma flatscreen, you might need to be careful with extended music sessions, since the screensaver never kicked in and you don't get any synchronized lightshow effects as you do with more sophisticated media players.