Apple locks TV Out in new iPods, breaks video add-ons | iLounge News


Apple locks TV Out in new iPods, breaks video add-ons

Did you buy an add-on display, dock, speaker system, car accessory or cable with video-out for your color 4G or 5G iPod? Were you expecting it to work with the iPod classic or new iPod nano? Think again.


Without disclosing the change to customers, Apple has locked the TV Out feature of the iPod classic and video-capable iPod nano, preventing users from outputting iPod content to their TV sets as has been done in years past. Going to the Videos > Settings menu brings up a TV Out option that is now unresponsive when clicked, showing only the word “off.” When locked, video content will display on the iPod’s screen, but not on your TV or portable display accessory.*



Presently, the only apparent way to turn this feature on is if you connect your iPod to a device with an Apple authentication chip built in. Authentication chips are only available in Apple products, and in a handful of products made by Apple-licensed third-party developers. The chips are not available to unlicensed developers, and add additional costs to the prices of iPod accessories. Upcoming Apple video cables that will work with the new iPods will sell for a staggering $49.



Testing results with old accessories have been mixed, but largely negative. iLounge has tested the new iPods with Apple’s Universal Dock and iPod Hi-Fi, both of which unlock the TV Out option—even though the Hi-Fi has no video out feature. We have also confirmed that the new iPods do not work in popular portable video displays such as the Memorex iFlip and Sonic Impact Video-55, or most speakers with video output capabilities. One notable third-party exception is Bowers and Wilkins’ recent $600 speaker system Zeppelin, which appears to contain an authentication chip and have been assisted during development by Apple, unlike its lower-priced peers.

It is unclear whether Apple will also require new accessory purchases in order to unlock video output in its upcoming iPod touch. We will have more on this story as it develops.

[Updated: Starting in subsequent versions of the iPod nano and iPod classic firmware, Apple changed the Videos > Settings > TV Out menu option in a small and relatively unimportant way: you can now select “On” or “Ask” regardless of whether any accessory is connected, but neither of these settings will work to actually output video from these iPods to an external display unless you have connected a new accessory with an authentication chip. Similarly, the iPod touch and iPhone will only output video to authentication chip-equipped accessories, bringing up a Display on TV dialog box whenever you start video playback with such an accessory attached, and refusing to bring up that option otherwise. Pre-authentication chip video accessories remain unable to perform video from the iPod nano, iPod classic, iPod touch, and iPhone.]

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This sucks!  My 120 is going back.  I have a huge investment in aftermarket docks and accessories so after my pod was stolen I decided to stick with what I had.  Big mistake!  Purposefully breaking compatibility with existing made for iPod devices is reprehensible.  I can’t believe you Apple Fanboys still lick Job’s boots.  iTunes sucks and now the iPod sucks.  All hail corporate greed and what it has given us!

Posted by ErikTheGreat on October 12, 2008 at 4:47 PM (CDT)


When I first bought my ipod classic 80 gig I also bought a video out cable and I was told it would work. Months later when I finally was able to put video on my ipod (thanks apple for not providing me with all I needed to put video on the ipod), I tried to watch my movie on the tv and FUCK APPLE FOR GIVING ME SO MANY PROBLEMS WITH IPOD. AS SOON AS I FIND ANOTHER BRAND WITH AT LEAST 80 GIG IM JUMPING SHIP AND NEVER LOOKING BACK. And dont even get me started with itunes.

Posted by ipod and zune suk on November 17, 2008 at 8:34 PM (CST)


So that’s the reason why my 120GB iPod won’t feed video to my Gym Club LifeFitness Treadmills…  The old iPods still do.

Posted by Angelo on December 9, 2008 at 4:10 PM (CST)


Well, at least now I know it’s not us. I will never buy an Apple product again and will spread the word to my 6 children, specially the Apple fans. My husband bought himself a 160 G classic in the summer because he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was having chemotherapy. I did not have much time to shop this Christmas between taking care of him and preparing for my own surgery on the 18th for a malignant tumor of the salivary gland. I rushed out on the 16th and bought him a pair of video glasses from Brookstone before I had to go into the hospital and now I see they will never work. On top of the fact that my present for him was a bust,  I will have to make a trip to the store to return the glasses. Thank you very much for nothing, Apple!

Posted by VSPS on December 25, 2008 at 6:10 PM (CST)


lol… I recently discovered the Video-Out function on my Ipod Nano 5th gen, so i thought i’d try it out… having used a 5.5G ipod before, i got out my old 3 ring cam-corder cable and hooked it up to my TV. It then pops up with a message saying i need an Ipod A/V cable to use the video out function… Keeping the special video out cable an iPhone only accessory, if it indeed was standardized because of the microphone, would have been a lot more easier on everybody than trying to get everything on the new technology.

Posted by LOL on January 1, 2009 at 12:12 AM (CST)


Wow!  I was ticked off too, but decided to look at the problem objectively and figure out why they needed to control the video out function with an ID chip. 

Check this:

They multiplexed the Composite/Svideo and Component Video on the same pins (8,9,10) of the 30 pin dock; probably because there was not enough left.  There would thus need to be an idiot proof way for the Ipod to know what video mode to put out - or otherwise damage may occur to user’s expensive HDTV’s and so on.  This might be how they could for instance add HDMI later - by multiplexing more of the pins.

It would be nice for Apple to just explain this or provide a Composite selection for folks who just want to get out the composite signal for their older gear.  It stands to reason that any new accessories that use RGB Component video would NEED to have the ID chip to get the ipod into the new video mode.  So if a cable or device doesn’t have the chip, at least put out composite mode!

Perhaps Apple can provide this feature on their next software update.  They really will go farther (sell more $100’s in new model upgraders) by keeping people happy and loyal to the ipod, even with rouge 3rd party accessories, than they would nickel and dimeing the stupid cables.

Posted by XjaymanX on January 8, 2009 at 1:59 AM (CST)


Apple is building up an enormous amount of bad faith. They are selling beautiful products, but undercutting their relationship with their loyal customers by trying to take advantage of them at every turn. Every new generation of iPod I’ve bought, I’ve had to scrap the previous third-party accessories I shelled out money for because apple keeps looking for new ways to squeeze a few bucks out of me. Right now people are going along with it because they have no other options - there are no comparable products as beautiful or powerful as what Mac is selling. But as soon as there are, the resentment that people like me are building up against apple will reveal itself. People will not only choose another brand, they’ll be secretly glad to do so. This is what happened with the music industry. For years they marketed singles as ads for albums that were stuffed with poor filler. It was a kind of bait and switch and people purchased over-priced CDs of inferior quality, thinking they were buying more material like the single. This built up years and years of bad faith, then when Napster arrived and the technology presented itself where people didn’t have to pay for music, they chose not to. Because secretly they had started to feel that music was not worth what they were being charged, a feeling that came from years of being fooled and overcharged by a greedy record industry. It’ll be the same with apple. They think they have this enormous cult of apple loyalty. I think it’s an illusion. I think it’s a false loyalty based only on the fact that Apple products are the only game in town, and that when electronics manufacturers pull their heads out of their asses and start competing, people will be secretly happy to jump ship.

Posted by Daniel on January 11, 2009 at 11:47 PM (CST)


Not happy at having to have a special cable (who is?) - but I am able to correct message #226 above.
There is no multiplexing issue, its just money making by apple, pure and simple, and they prove it themselves!
Put yr Classic into debug/diagnostic mode (hold down centre/up, then centre left…) and go to tv out under display from IO.
Dock yr ipod with a non chipped cable or 3rd party dock
In diagnostic mode, the ipod stops checking for the approved accessory, and delivers video to the attached TV! (sadly its only a color bar test pattern). Proof you dont need special chipped hardware to actually make the video!

Posted by Tony (NZ) on February 5, 2009 at 7:54 PM (CST)


I wished I read this before I replaced my old iPod with a 120 Gb Classic. I have a Harmon Kardon dock which worked well with my old iPod video output. At least I now know why I get no video output via the S Video output of the dock… This is extremely irriatating as I use the iPod for work and now can’t… From what I gather, I have to purchase an Apple dock with the appropriate cable - so much for my sound system. I’d be interested if anyone finds a way around this with 3rd party docking sound systems…

Posted by Steve - Shanghai on February 8, 2009 at 1:53 AM (CST)


I feel like I was just bamboozled by Apple.  I have a Philips DCP850/37 that my GF and I have used for a few years on vacations.  We got the Classic 160’s a few months ago.. mine is still in it’s box.  Well anyway, I was just setting hers up to watch a movie or two on the plane.  Come to learn that the new Ipod peice of crap won’t work with the device over some sort of chip?  And apple doesn’t seem to hace a portable dvd/ipod player like it?  This is the stupidest thing I’ve seen.  If I ever met an apple employee I would throw my shoes at them.  I’m done with apple.  I’m tired of itunes.. I’m tired of all of this.  What a waste of money..  Tired of having to convert MP3’s to itunes… tired of having to spen an hour to convert a DVD to itunes only to learn I can’t view it on a device I used to because Apple got pissed other people were making better devices then they were.

If someone hacks the ipod to work right let me know… otherwise I’m not even using this stupid device.

Posted by Sean McPartlin on February 22, 2009 at 1:05 AM (CST)


Even with the 49 dollar cable I cannot connect any of the new iPods to the large video screens attached to the treadmills at the gym. They have a male connector (a longer version of the earphone connector) that was meant for the first iPod video.
I bought a Zune. Its video out still works. And its a decent product. I miss somethings about the iPod, but if they are going to screw us by eliminating a feature and then not selling enough accessories to make up for that loss then I’m done with them.

Posted by Sisi on February 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM (CST)


Being corrected by post #228; I agree that a chip (per the diagnostic mode example) is not stricktly needed to get composite video output.  I was referring to putting out a different video format such as component GYrYb, or HDMI on the same pins on the dock connector (Reuse of the same pins for different functions is called multiplexing).  It wouldn’t be a good idea to pump composite video into the component jack of a nice monitor. They also could have used a sensed resistor value instead of the chip to make it idiot-proof perhaps.

Nonetheless it would be nice for Apple to provide a software patch in their next firmware version, so if no chip is detected, the iPod will put out good ol’ composite video.  You proved that they could do this.

I did run across another discussion where someone dug up correspendence from Apple to their ‘licensed’ accessory developers that the real reason for the chip is to protect the market share of those developers.  Since the developers pay $$ to apple for the licenses, you are absolutly right about it just money making by apple.

Posted by XjaymanX on March 7, 2009 at 7:20 PM (CST)


I have iphone with 16 GB. And think what its realy most cool device. But some times ago I think so about ipod

Posted by Alexa on March 30, 2009 at 4:51 AM (CDT)


I bought a white plastic mac book November 2007. My mac book went out of the one year warranty and the case began to crack on the edges of the top and expose the inside of computer. Called Apple, they said I had no Warranty and I was out of luck.

This is my first mac book. I’ve never had a computer case fall apart on me. Love the OS, hate Apple. I dropped my ipod and was about to buy a new one since I had a Belkin Power Dock AV already then I saw this news. Wow.

I’ll be buying an off brand computer and installing Ubuntu or something. No more Windows PC or Apple.

Great article.

Posted by John Summers on April 20, 2009 at 10:51 AM (CDT)


I have been researching this and have taken apart one of the new component out docks,  It does have a authorization chip.  What bothers me is that apple continues with this ad campaign that it is so green, ecology sensitive, yet look at how many old accessories are now going into landfills, not because they have stopped working but because Apple has made them obsolete for a different kind of green.  There is a simple solution.  Apple create an adapter that has the authorization chip and the correct charging configuration with remote control abilities in a small dock in - dock out accessory.  Charge what you do for the other accessories $49 and people will buy it so they can still use the products they have.

Posted by Gary Benna on May 30, 2009 at 10:54 PM (CDT)


Thanks very much for the info.
Not impressed at all.

Was loving the way my new Classic still works in old and perfectly good Kensington 500 dock, now hacked off at inability to output photos to the TV.

Posted by Adam on August 21, 2009 at 9:28 AM (CDT)


A 6 dolLar aftermarket cable I bought did output video and audio on my iPhone until I recently upgraded to OS3.0. Soemthing to keep in mind.

Posted by Walt B on August 28, 2009 at 11:31 AM (CDT)


I spent good money on a Monster Cable video out cable for my original classic. It has an S-Video out as well as an adapter so I can use my ipod on the screens in my car. Now that I updated to a new “Classic” (isn’t that an oxymoron?) even my $70.00 Monster cable doesn’t work?

Posted by jaygee2you on August 28, 2009 at 7:50 PM (CDT)


Yeah I hate this. Apple can kiss my honky white a**. What a crock. Pay enough for the stupid iPod as it is and have to turn around and buy a $50 cable for it to work with video out. What a bunch of freakin crooks. Apple can go to hell.

Posted by Stick it up your A**HOLE Apple on September 12, 2009 at 7:44 PM (CDT)


So when it the public going to wake up to despicable practices like this?

Posted by wkearney99 on November 1, 2009 at 9:45 AM (CST)

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