Friday, January 20, 2006

iPod + TV + Bad Remote

I ordered Apple's iPod AV Kit from the online store. I've become such a huge fan of podcasts that I find I'm skipping out on some of my television mainstays (Law & Order, The West Wing, Wife Swap) for listening to the new episode of Diggnation, TWiT, and The Mac Cast to name a few. The AV kit comes with the 5th Gen iPod cradle/dock (if I can call it that) that features an IR port for use with Apple's remote. It also comes with some very stylish RCA cables that plug directly into your TV/Home Theatre/Stereo for easy integration. It also comes with a power adapter to keep a steady flow of AC/DC into your iPod while it plays through your 5.1 THX surround sound.

My one major complaint about the kit is the non-use of the "Menu" button on the remote. Remember Steve's "One More Thing" last fall where he introduced Front Row on the new Rev of the iMac. Menu launch Front Row. Great. Why can't it get me to the iPod menu when it's docked on the IR cradle? And why can't the iPod give a steady video flow to my television so I can look at the menu and make my selection on the bigger television screen. Whenever one episode of Command N ends I have to get up, walk to the iPod, scroll around and find the newest episode of Martin Sargent's Infected and than push play on the iPod. The remote can only start/stop, forward, reverse and adjust volume. A major let down, but I'll deal.

However, the picture on my 26" Sharp Aquos is very impressive when the content is coming from the iPod. Lazy Sunday looks great, DVDs ripped and put onto my iPod via Handbrake Lite have decent quality (though not DVD as expected). The only video degradation that is noticeable is from the videos I took with my Canon SD400 and transferred to the iPod - those do not play so well on the widescreen television.

Another small complaint is the lack of visualization on the television. Music and podcasts are an audio-only format, but I'm playing something through my television, why can't I have album art or some information about what I'm listening too - especially with the enhanced podcasts that I listen to? Something for Apple to consider if/when updating the AV features for future iPods.

Was it worth the $100 USD, probably not when you consider that DLO has another kit that offers the features I'm looking for for only $50 USD more (although not available until March 2006). I'll probably end up upgrading when the DLO model comes out. I'm way more interested in what Ricky Gervais has to say that another canned episode of the George Lopez Show.


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