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Belkin TuneCommand AV for Apple iPod - Belkin TuneCommand AV for Apple iPod
Rather oddly, I found that you can only change the iPod volume when connected using the supplied cable. If you use the S-Video cable, you have to control the volume using the TV or amp remote. Even odder was the fact that the remote kept dying on me. I went through three cell batteries but after a short time the remote stopped responding, even though the battery was fine when I used it in something else. I have to assume this is just a fault with this remote, but I have report it as it suggests there could be issues with build quality.
This was disappointing, as generally the dock was great to use. It does seem an easy way to free up and share the videos on your iPod. You can’t really do that on the iPod itself as it doesn't have a built in speaker, though naturally this will change when the iPhone comes along. If you leave the dock by your TV you have easy and convenient way of displaying video and photos to friends and family.
Of course video encoded to the iPod’s native resolution of 320 x 240 isn’t going to look too hot on on TV, especially on HD TVs. As such it makes sense to encode as high a resolution as possible. I encoded one video at VGA settings though as it was a widescreen file, the actual resolution turned out to be 576 x 320. Played over S-Video resulted in just about acceptable image quality. Watching over composite and the image quality was appreciably worse. On lower resolution, lower bit-rate material there was no real difference between S-Video and composite – it all looked ropey on the larger screen! It’s a similar story with images; once you start enjoying your slideshows on the big screen, you’ll want to make sure you upload higher quality versions.
The only thing the official iPod dock has that the Belkin doesn't is provide a USB connection so you can sync from the dock and is a great way of getting a decent S-Video connection out of your iPod. You can just go for a cheaper cable route, but then you’ll be limited to composite, which looks horrible – and the remote functionality means you can sit and view in comfort. As such, it just about justifies the asking price, as long as you get it for £50 or so - some retailers are asking for more.
A good way of freeing up video, photos and audio contained on your iPod and sharing it with the world - or at least your living room. The limitation though is really the quality of the video you’re likely to put on here, but for casual use it does a decent job.
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