On 7” iPod Video Screens, or, Why We’re Buying Discontinued Accessories | iLounge Backstage

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On 7” iPod Video Screens, or, Why We’re Buying Discontinued Accessories

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Monday, February 2, 2009
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Of the thousands of iPod accessories we have used over the past seven and a half years, there’s none—seriously, none—that has done more good for us in more situations than an add-on video screen. Memorex created the iFlip. Sonic Impact made the Video-55. Philips made some, too. There was probably no device that inspired more discussion amongst friends and family members, seemed as necessary wherever we travelled, or did more to relieve our early video iPod eyestrain. Turning those little 2.5” and 2” screens into 7” or 8.4” screens transformed little iPods into big entertainment devices, and true substitutes for portable DVD players.

You may or may not know what happened next: Apple quietly changed the video-out functionality in iPod models, rendering them all incompatible with these accessories. Manufacturers were stuck with warehouses of video screens they couldn’t sell, and also had to try and find a way to explain to new iPod buyers what had happened. Memorex and Sonic Impact apparently were hit so hard that they never released versions for the new iPods; Philips churned out a crummy sequel that we still can’t bring ourselves to use. Thus, a year and a half have passed, and nothing good has emerged as a replacement. In a word, it has been awful.

As our iFlip unit has weathered two years of use as a constant travel companion, and then as a way to display educational videos in the car, it has been tossed around, discharged, recharged, and kicked by baby feet. This weekend, on a trip back from California, and after many warning signs over the last six months, it finally gave up the ghost; the battery of the old iPod inside is on its way, too. But there’s nothing new we can buy as a proper replacement for them both. So we found ourselves placing an unusual order this weekend. Memorex and others were forced to liquidate their incompatible video accessories at low prices, and thus, the $200 iFlip fell to $149, $99, and then $49. Left with no other great options, we went to PC Connection and paid $13 a piece for two replacement iFlips. Yes, that’s $26 for two, coming to a grand total of $43.51 after shipping and tax. We’ll replace the iPod’s battery when it dies, but really, we’d prefer to be using something newer and better instead.

During this year’s Expo, we took the time to ask Memorex to look past the iFlip’s troubles—which weren’t its fault—and make another. If Sonic Impact had been there, we would have said the same thing to its representatives, and frankly, we’d encourage any company with decent design chops to come up with its own options, too. As nice as the iPod touch and iPhone’s 3.5” displays are, and even if Apple has bigger-screened devices in the marketplace, a high-quality, reasonably priced combination of add-on 8” screen, battery, and speakers strikes us as an absolute gimme for iPod and iPhone users. Developers: make it and we’ll be the first ones in line to try it. Now is the time. At a point when video content is now readily available all over the world, iPod and iPhone owners need video accessories more than ever.

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Comments

1

In addition to bigger screens, we also need better ways to load up video. Let me rephrase, actually. Apple needs to natively support more codecs. Aint’ gonna, happen, but I’ll request it anyway. smile

Posted by DaveZatz on February 2, 2009 at 5:32 PM (PDT)

2

Hello

I have a 3g nano and a Universal Dock with video out, for which I use often. From what I understand it was once possible to dock/undock my Nano to initiate the output and then plug it into something like the iFlip for successful video. Is this still the case? thanks!

Posted by consumer on February 2, 2009 at 5:56 PM (PDT)

3

Thanks for the tip.  I have a 5th gen 60gb ipod full of video that I seldom watch because the screen is too small.  I just ordered 2 iflips for $43.01 including shipping that I will really enjoy using.  Why 2?  At that price, why not?

Posted by Tulsagentleman on February 2, 2009 at 9:30 PM (PDT)

4

Macmall has a 35$ rebate on this right now.  It costs 54.15 now but with 35 off it comes in at under 20 bucks with shipping.

Posted by magomra on February 3, 2009 at 6:02 AM (PDT)

5

I have an 80GB iPod video 5.5G—will the iflip work with it?  I’m assuming it will, but I saw a review on another site where the customer said they bought an iflip and had to return it because it didn’t work with their 80GB iPod.  Unfortunately, it didn’t specify which generation iPod they had.  I thought Apple changed the video out functionality starting with the iPod classic.  Anybody know before I plunk down my hard-earned $28 with shipping for this thing?  I saw the Macmall deal but I hate mail-in rebates.

Posted by muggsy on February 3, 2009 at 11:48 AM (PDT)

6

I love you iLounge! I never found much interest in shelling out $200 for one of these devices, but now that they’re 94% off I found a reason to buy two of them. I can’t wait. It will work as a great (and ridiculously cheap) display for showing promotions in my store. I didn’t think they’d have any left at PC Connection, but they did and they’re on their way. Thanks!

Posted by urbanslaughter on February 3, 2009 at 2:02 PM (PDT)

7

Why does an infant need to watch videos in a car, let alone at all?

Posted by Surya on February 3, 2009 at 2:18 PM (PDT)

8

#7: Great question. We’re trying to teach her algebra.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 3, 2009 at 2:19 PM (PDT)

9

Seems like PC connection is out now. I should of jumped on it this morning :D

Posted by studogvetmed in Loveland, CO on February 3, 2009 at 4:56 PM (PDT)

10

Algebra?

Posted by Luis Velázquez in Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico on February 3, 2009 at 5:03 PM (PDT)

11

Sold out?  I don’t see these anymore at PC Connection.

Posted by Neil on February 4, 2009 at 11:42 AM (PDT)

12

I just purchased one of these screens at http://www.onsale.com and also got a $35 mail in rebate. The whole thing will only cost me $15 (and most of that is shipping and handling)

Posted by Matt D on February 4, 2009 at 12:19 PM (PDT)

13

I ordered one of these just after reading this tuesday afternoon.  they said i could only order 1 per customer.  after sitting for a few days as “open” I got an email this morning saying my order had shipped.  I was a bit spooked when I noticed that searching for iFlip on their site no longer brings up any results.  Way to help them clear out their inventory, iLoung.

Posted by james on February 5, 2009 at 9:02 AM (PDT)

14

If you missed out on the PC Connection deal, don’t feel too bad. While this item is probably perfect for kids in the back of the minivan, the display quality is so low it’s almost unwatchable for adults, especially if you’re dealing with any sort of letterboxing. Oh well- I got what I paid for…

Posted by ChaosMichael on February 12, 2009 at 2:08 PM (PDT)

15

The two units we received are entirely watchable, save for a dead pixel on one of the screens and what might charitably be described as a slightly loose dock connection on one of the units. You might see an improvement in the video quality if you make sure that your iPod is snug on the connector; our screen went from seemingly black and white to color just by doing this. Notably, this wasn’t an issue with the 8.4” ones we tested and reviewed years ago.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 12, 2009 at 3:31 PM (PDT)

16

So I have the late year 2006 iPod (5.5g I think then), and found a iFlip on OWC’s website, and when I went to plug in my iPod it didn’t show a video out.  I have it set to TV-Out : on but still nothing.  It has firmware v1.3 on it. How can I get this to work?

Posted by jonack on December 13, 2009 at 9:07 PM (PDT)

17

Attempted to use this with an ipod Classic and couldn’t get it to play on the bigger screen.  Went to show the sales rep to see if they could fix and it blew out my ipod.  Now I no longer have an ipod.  I attempted to contact the number provided for Memorex and it went to a fax machine.

Posted by Traci Schumacher on January 17, 2010 at 6:17 PM (PDT)

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