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

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

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Friday, September 7, 2007
News Categories: iPod Accessories

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.

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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.*

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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.

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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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Comments

41

You guys should correct the bit in the article about the price on the new cables.

While the new video cables sell for (a “staggering”) $49, that’s including a $29 usb charger.  So the cable itself is still $19, same as the old ones.

It is a bummer you can’t buy it without the charger, especially for people who already have one.  Hopefully apple will sell it separately as well.

Posted by milo on September 7, 2007 at 12:24 PM (PDT)

42

“Aint life great!!!!” 

Yeah, sounds like a really sweet set-up but realistically how many people will be traveling around with their iTV and a 32” (flatscreen I presume)....and with that set-up would you need the iTouch for that roadtrip then?  Come on most people aren’t going to have that….

Posted by whatever on September 7, 2007 at 12:28 PM (PDT)

43

The touch will be for when I’m not at camp site or I’m at home….or any wifi hotspot.  Its for using with italk and skype.  Its for checking my stocks, the weather and sending email.  All the binaries are the same for the iphone so they will work with the touch…just download them and you are set.  I even carry my nano out on the kayak velcroed to my life jacket.  Yep…I enjoy all my apple products.

It can and will do all those things and more than most can imagine.

Posted by Richard on September 7, 2007 at 12:37 PM (PDT)

44

“It can and will do all those things and more than most can imagine.” 

dude, relax, it sounds like you WANT more than you need the touch, that’s ok.  Personally I’d rather be surfing the web, emailing and checking stocks on a laptop but that’s me.

I get that you have your nano for listening to your tunes while you kayak, makes sense.

Just wondering what you’d need a touch away from “camp site” out in the wilderness for?  Doubt that there would be wifi access or even wanting to watch videos or whatever on a hike or kayaking….think a portable GPS may be more usable…

Posted by whatever on September 7, 2007 at 12:55 PM (PDT)

45

“think a portable GPS may be more usable…”

which I’m sure you already have

Posted by whatever on September 7, 2007 at 12:58 PM (PDT)

46

Saves me 350.00 and Apple can bite me. I use my 60 gig Ipod with my Sonic Video 55 all the time. Would look pretty fracking stupid lying next to rather then in it’s cradle attached by some asinie cable. Stupid stupid stupid.

Posted by Jeff on September 7, 2007 at 1:27 PM (PDT)

47

So is there ANY evidence whatsoever that this has to do with some sort of “authorization” chip, and is not in fact a technological limitation imposed by the fact that the iPod classic apparently outputs a different video signal than the older iPods? Considering the choice between component and composite cables, the device must be outputting a component signal (possibly digital?), which is passed through (or decoded to analog) by the component cables, or composited by the composite cables. If this means I can get anamorphic widescreen through the component cables, then bravo Apple, that’s needed to happen since the iPod first incorporated video. All I can say regarding old, incompatible accessories is, time marches on. It sucks if you own them, but if the iPod classic and touch can indeed do anamorphic, then the trade-off is worth it.

Posted by ArtDecoDalek on September 7, 2007 at 2:13 PM (PDT)

48

I just woke from a weird dream, at the end of which I found my dog chewing bubble gum and blowing bubbles.

I’ll wager the new Apple video cables add some kind of Macrovision-type copy protection to the video out, in response to demands from the video content companies.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Posted by WorkingClassHero on September 7, 2007 at 3:01 PM (PDT)

49

“If this means I can get anamorphic widescreen through the component cables, then bravo Apple,” 

Sorry, not bravo, if you read the specs it’s standard aspect ratios : 

Component video output to television is supported by iPod nano (third generation) and iPod classic at 480p or 576p resolution, and by iPod touch at 480i or 576i resolution.

I guess it could be considered EDTV, good enough?

Posted by nope on September 7, 2007 at 3:47 PM (PDT)

50

Not cool.  with my 5g video ipod, i was able to buy a $6 cable from newegg to get video to play on my TV.  the only reason to lock people out like this is to make more money selling apple branded peripherals.

Posted by josh42042 on September 7, 2007 at 4:02 PM (PDT)

51

Someone should snag one of those chips and make an adapter for the 20pin connection.. then maby it could work with say a iTV Monster cable…

Posted by irishsmerf on September 7, 2007 at 5:05 PM (PDT)

52

Wow… and they don’t call Apple an evil empire.  WTF.

Posted by Burnt Toast on September 7, 2007 at 5:19 PM (PDT)

53

Sadly it’s Apple’s way or the highway.

Truthfully this is one thing that has always kind of bothered me about Apple - they are actually very anti-open source.  In some respects very Sony-like in trying to push you into using only their stuff and control everything. 

Proprietary cables is just another example…..so third parties caught up and were making compatible dock connectors so now they have come up with this?  I just don’t get it…

Posted by mywyorhighway on September 7, 2007 at 5:50 PM (PDT)

54

Well, here goes my two cents:  as much as I love my iPods and MacBook and have been a loyal Apple fanboy for a while now, I’ve got to be honest with everybody and myself.  This reeks of anti-consumerism more than anything else Jobs has done.  Take this stinking Microsoft/Sony-esque move (really a page out of Sony’s playbook, think DRM rootkits and lock-out technology on PS3 games), combine it with the recent iPhone price-drop scheme, and you’ve got a pretty clear picture emerging of Steve Jobs: a man who is completely motivated by greed and megalomania, and who thinks his customers are stupid enough to get slapped in the face repeatedly and then keep coming back for more.  I used to believe (and please try not to laugh everybody) that Apple’s philosophy was to make people’s lives easier through higher-quality/more creative products and to give people an alternative to the Microsoft/PC dictatorship—I felt that there were actually some ethical beliefs behind this.  Maybe there once was.  Oh well.  I guess if you give somebody enough money and power, corruption is an eventual and inevitable result.  To me, it is clear that Jobs’s unquenchable thirst for money and market dominance has finally and completely eclipsed his concern for the customer.

Posted by elCaballero on September 7, 2007 at 7:02 PM (PDT)

55

Consider the iPhone headset output. It is an 1/8” 4 conductor jack.
Tip = Left audio (+)
First ring = Right audio (+)
Second ring = Mic input
Sleeve = Ground (-)
The mic connection used to be the video output on the 5G. Since the iphone needed it for microphone they scrapped that scheme across the line so there could be a unified video output scheme. There were more than several unused pins on the 30-pin dock connector, (google ipod pinout), I’m assuming they’ve finally assigned them to video for the iphone and whichever other models they allow to access video out. By controlling the hardware they will ultimately control the quality of accessories. I haven’t tried my lineout yet on the iphone, it had better have some serious shielding as I can hear my phone noise every now and then in radios Across The Room!

Posted by Robert on September 7, 2007 at 7:03 PM (PDT)

56

elCaballero, I’m not laughing at what you used to think about apple because it’s what I’ve recently realized. I’m coming from that PC/smartphone world and come october I’ll jump in to the apple world. The iphone has made me realize that apple’s world IS easier. Manufacturing and engineering decisions that leave old standards behind seem anti-consumer on the surface, but they are not. The products are moving ahead and the old standards won’t support the new technology. Cellular and WiFi interference is unacceptable in an audio product. Switching the headphone jack terminal that supports the microphone back and forth between video and microphone would add cost and complexity, and if it prevented 1 person from calling 911 in an emergency then it would be dangerous AND a huge legal liability. We have to give up the idea of that headphone jack supporting video ‘cuz it’s not gonna happen.
Supporting old standards is what kills MS. I’m glad to see Apple move forward even if it means my $1.99 AV cable from dealextreme is now useless.

Posted by Robert on September 7, 2007 at 7:26 PM (PDT)

57

It’s not even an issue of the stinkin’ $49, which I’d pay—it’s having to carry around yet another freakin’ custom cable and not borrowing someone’s camcorder or digicam cable to show something cool to them on their tv (or showing a Keynote presentation in Quicktime format at a business meeting).

The size of the video nano is what appealed to me more than the price—I just got home and plugged her in and nothing worked—‘m PISSED!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully, we’ll get a firmware unlock update or else a healthy class-action (have you checked out the compatibility chart for the nano?)

Posted by dd on September 7, 2007 at 7:35 PM (PDT)

58

“Supporting old standards is what kills MS. I’m glad to see Apple move forward even if it means my $1.99 AV cable from dealextreme is now useless.”

Man, you are so off base on this topic.  Firstly we are talking about the iPod classic and nano here not the iPhone.  It shouldn’t matter what they needed to do for the iPhone. 

Secondly the old 5.5G supported video out through the dock connector, they didn’t need to add anything.  Get your facts straight. 

Lastly we are talking about more than cheap no name cables here but several rather expensive accessories that several people purchased.  They also didn’t disclose that video out was now locked before people purchased their products.

Posted by offbasedude on September 7, 2007 at 8:15 PM (PDT)

59

The video cable I bought for my 5th gen iPod still works with that iPod. So it serves (served) its function.

Am I to expect every accessory I purchase for my iPod to always work with every iPod ever? Thats kooky. Babies.

Posted by FRMRApple on September 7, 2007 at 9:20 PM (PDT)

60

“The video cable I bought for my 5th gen iPod still works with that iPod. So it serves (served) its function.

Am I to expect every accessory I purchase for my iPod to always work with every iPod ever? Thats kooky. Babies”


Where can we get the video cable for the new ipods?  Oh, that’s right you have to purchase it as part of an accessory kit.  A kit which includes other things that I’ve already purhased?  Kooky, real kooky….

Posted by kookyman on September 7, 2007 at 9:53 PM (PDT)

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