When is a photo not a photo? When it's also a webcam. Network hardware maker TrendNet has come up with a novel take on web surveillance with its TV-M7 digital photo display.

While we can see this being used in a benign way to keep an eye on baby while you prepare his tea, for instance, the idea of a hidden camera disguised in this way will not sit well with some consumers.

TrendNet is describing the TV-M7 as the "first-to-market wireless internet camera and photo monitor". The $320 device connects to an existing wireless network and acts as a screen for wired and wireless IP cameras. This means you can view and record what's in sight of up to four network webcams without your PC needing to be switched on the whole time.

The 7in photo frame has an internal memory of 512MB and can be used to display photos and video and to play MP3 music files. When not be used to local playback of media, the wireless device can be used to discreetly check on who's wandering around your office or warehouse or, in a home environment, to discover the culprit who keeps raiding the fridge.

With an onscreen resolution of 16,384x16,384, the TV-M7 can display either Jpeg or bitmap images and can be used to show libraries of photos stored as Flickr or Picasa web albums.

"We are excited to launch this innovative first-to-market product that delivers tangible surveillance security to home and business users," stated TrendNet CEO Pei Huang. "Consumers used to be confined to viewing IP camera video from their respective computers. This product changes the way we use IP cameras and boosts the security benefit that they provide."

TrendNet TV-M7 wireless webcam and photo monitor