Optimum iPod video output cables
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I am trying to get the best possible video resolution out of an iPod touch / iPhone dock. I purchased a monster cable with an S-Video connection, but Apple stopped making the S-Video dock. Apple now sells the component video kit but I have been told S-Video is still better. How do I get the highest resolution out of my iPhone or iPod onto my TV? My television is rated at 1080, but the only docks I find are around 600.
A: The first important point to consider is that regardless of the cable used or the television used, the iPod (and iPhone) are only capable of 480-line output (NTSC) or 576-line output (PAL), and the content on the iPod itself is limited to these resolutions also (approximately 720x480 or 720x576 are the upper hard-limits, and these are even lower on some iPod models). Therefore, no cable is going to provide any higher resolution or quality than this, since your source material and source signal is limited to these standard-definition resolutions.
Several manufacturers such as DLO and Creative Labs have begun to release “upscaling” iPod docks that provide high-definition 720p output from a standard 2007 iPod model. However, these are the same in principle as an upscaling DVD player—the source material is simply being cleaned up and output at a native HD resolution for your TV, and any quality increases are going to be minimal compared to viewing content actually encoded at 720p or higher.
S-Video is somewhat superior to composite video output (identified by a single RCA video lead, normally coloured yellow). However, contrary to what you’ve been told, S-Video is definitely considerably lower in quality than component video output (identified by three RCA video leads, normally coloured red, green, and blue). In fact, component video is the only three of these connections that can be used to carry progressive scan video content from DVD players and HDTV content.
Note as well that with the iPod classic and iPod nano (with video), the Component AV cables can provide a progressive 480p signal, whereas the S-Video and composite outputs are limited to 480i. Unfortunately, the iPod touch and iPhone do not currently support 480p output, so you will be limited to interlaced video on these devices regardless of which cables you use.
Ideally, however, if your TV supports component inputs (as almost all HDTVs on the market do), the Apple Component AV Cables are definitely the recommended choice for the best quality. This is especially true if you are using an iPod classic or iPod nano (with video) which have better-quality 480p output capabilities, but even with the iPod touch or iPhone the quality increase is noticeable enough.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Report: Some third-party repairs ‘bricking’ iPhones with iOS 9
- Report: Apple to bid on NFL Thursday Night Football streaming rights
- Apple to begin taking broken iPhones for trade-in, offer in-store screen protector installation
- Apple ordered to pay $625M to VirnetX in patent case
- Apple Pay reaches 2 million retail locations
- Apple acquires security company LegbaCore
- Zagg to acquire Mophie for $100 million
- Report: iPhone 7 to include flush camera lens, drop rear antenna bands
- Report: iPhone 5se, iPad Air 3 set for March 15 unveil
- Alleged iPad Air 3 drawing shows Smart Connector, four speakers, camera flash
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case for iPad Pro
- Edifier MP700 Rave Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Just Mobile HoverDock for Apple Watch + HoverDock for iPhone
- VRS Design Dandy Layered Case for iPad Pro
- Just Mobile TENC for iPad Pro
- Native Union DOCK Lightning
- Native Union DOCK for Apple Watch
- Hitcase Pro+ Action Pack and Snap for iPhone 6/6s
- Urban Armor Gear Trooper for iPhone 6/6s
- NEBO CaseBrite for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!