Question: What is the smallest and cheapest way to play video or GIFs


I was wondering what would be the smallest and cheapest solution for a board with an attached little display that could play video or GIF’s from an attached SD card.

I could see how a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 could do it, but would this be overkill?

for minimal work involved, any pi zero would do, and shouldn’t have trouble with any display size. It is a bit overkill, but a good starting point if you’re new to electronics and/or coding.

for absolute minimal cost, a pico or even a tiny2040 is probably fast enough to do small gifs, not so sure about video (in theory, yes). and you’d need to add an sd card slot (a breakout increasse the cost, hacking one from an micro sd adapter is near free if you have one laying around, same for making a clip for large sd cards from bent header pins). and of course more coding than using the zero.

for absurdly tiny size, an rp2040 chip would work just as well as a pico or similar, but you have to make your own circuit board. definitely the most work involved, and more expensive if you don’t already have a setup for making PCBs

Ah, thank you!

I recently saw this kit and wondered if I could make my own similar solution cheaper and better:

Do you think that would be possible with the methods you suggest?

Possible to do similar size, cheaper making it yourself? yes.

Using the above methods? it wouldn’t be as as cleanly integrated and depending on your experience it might take quite a lot of time to get it working. What you pay for something like that isn’t as much parts as it is time, expertise, and stability (both of hardware and software). The same is true of things like the Tufty, Inky, Badger, etc…

If the goal if to learn how they work and how they (and other things) are built, or to be able to make your own custom fit solution, it’s absolutely worth all the time to build them yourself assuming you can stick with it. If the goal is the just to have the end product ready to go, it’s actually not a bad price for all the time you’ll save.

Thank you very much for all of your help :)