Epson and Philips are launching a home photo printer designed for couch potatoes. Combining a compact photo printer, a remote control and a TV screen, the PhotoViewer is a new take on getting digital photo fans to do something with the hundreds of snaps they take – other than stash them on their hard drive.

The concept behind it is fairly straightforward: you see something on your TV that takes your fancy, tell the remote control that you want that one and the photo-printing process is magically invoked. It all sounds a bit Little Britain, but we like the apparent straightforwardness of the desire and fulfilment concept here.

The PhotoViewer is a small box that directly attaches to your television via standard AV connections (the necessary cables are supplied). Pop a memory card into it and your photos are shown on your TV in standard or 1080i high-definition (depending on whether you’ve got a fancy pants HD TV, rather than any cleverness on the part of the memory card reader). A remote control is then used to cycle through photos individually or to start or pause a slideshow. Users can zoom in or rotate images onscreen. So far, so humdrum.

The twist here is in combining the TV viewing capability with the printing one. When a particular shot takes your fancy, you press the Print button on the remote to create a hard copy of it.

Epson PictureMate PM 240

The Philips PhotoViewer is designed for use with the Epson PictureMate PM240 and used to invoke photo printing via a TV remote control

A USB connection attaches the PhotoViewer to the home photo printer – Epson is plugging the PictureMate PM 240 for this purpose. We assume this won’t be the only Epson printer you’ll be able to use it with, though. The PictureMate PM 240, Epson's entrylevel dedicated home photo printer, was launched almost a year ago. Since then, other models, such as the PictureMate PM 290, have been launched.

As well as standard Secure Digital and other memory card types found in digital cameras and mobile phones, the PhotoViewer is able to read and display images from a USB flash memory drive or other hard drive. It can play MP3 music tracks from attached memory devices too, so you can a musical score providing a bit of atmosphere to your holiday slideshow.

Epson is to sell the Philips PhotoViewer as a bundle along with the Epson PictureMate PM 240 from the beginning of December for £120 inc VAT. This is a £20 premium on the standard retail price of the Epson PictureMate PM 240.

Click here for our review of the Epson PictureMate PM 290
Click here for Epson’s website.