Sonic Impact Video-55 Video and Speaker Dock for iPod | iLounge

Reviews

1

So far this looks like the most exciting of the screen devices for the ipod. However reading the specs it does not mention head phone ports. The other devices mention those. Does anyone know if this also has headphone ports?

Posted by olsonadr on July 28, 2006 at 10:55 PM (PDT)

2

It would be friggin great if they could make something like this that had top-notch sound too. The review indicates this has decent sound but not great, and maybe couldn't really replace the better portable iPod speaker systems.

Posted by icantpod on July 30, 2006 at 9:42 AM (PDT)

3

At the moment, this isn't a review - it's a First Look, without definitive conclusions on its audio performance relative to all other options. When this is updated to review status, with additional testing, details, and a letter grade rating, we'll have more to say on that point. But for now, suffice to say that Sonic Impact has taken this feature more seriously than any other AV dock we've seen, though it would be unrealistic to expect that the Video-55 will have as much audio horsepower as a top-notch four-driver system such as Logitech's mm50.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on July 30, 2006 at 11:32 AM (PDT)

4

When will this item be updated to review status?

Posted by LLLL on August 16, 2006 at 11:16 AM (PDT)

5

Dear Olsonadr,
On Sonic Impact's website (I went there to try and buy it) it has a picture that shows what looks like one headphone port on the front.Oh, and LLLL, they write reviews when the product is availible for purchase.

Posted by anti-luddite on August 29, 2006 at 12:02 PM (PDT)

6

Just purchased the Video 55, and have to say it's very well made. The body is made very solid. The sound is very clear, and loud enough to be heard over area noise. The only complaint I have is with reference to the vidio display. I have imported many movied, videos, and TV shows into my 60G I-Pod. The display shows them all in a widescreen view, distorting the picture. I contacted Sonic Impact, and they indicated there was no adjustment for the normal/standard to widescreen image display. They related the output would be whatever it was recorded as onto the I-Pod. Well, the video which was imported from I-Tunes was not widescreen, but it still shows the image in a widescreen/distrorted view. If anyone else has purchased the video 55, and has found a solution to this problem, please post on this site. Thanks.

Posted by kdh101 on September 14, 2006 at 4:17 PM (PDT)

7

Can either of these displays be used to display (and play) games purchased from itunes?

Posted by albo on September 20, 2006 at 5:35 PM (PDT)

8

I am wondering what Apple has up its sleeve in regards to video screens and accessories from the Apple lineup in the future?

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on September 21, 2006 at 6:56 PM (PDT)

9

Today, I bought the SI Video-55. Tommorrow, it is going back to Best Buy. The main issue for me is the aspect ratio issue. A previous poster is right, it will not display 4:3 video without stretching it. For me, that is totally FUBAR. I cannot believe the reviewer gave this a B+. If cheap, portable DVD players can display video in the intended aspect ratio, this thing should too. Maybe if you have undiscerning kids this thing will be o.k..

Besides that, my mini reiview is:

screen 6.5/10
audio 6/10 too much bass and is not adjustible. There is significant distortion at higher volume
build 8 /10

Overall, a generous C-

Posted by beebos on September 25, 2006 at 6:56 PM (PDT)

10

Oh, I meant to add the 16:9 does not seem properly displayed either, it seems squished. The tint is also not adjustible.

Posted by beebos on September 25, 2006 at 7:00 PM (PDT)

11

Jeremy,

So what is the final word on this unit. No 4:3 display??? Is this true??? Your preview was NOT clear in this regard. Will it display 4:3 video in 4:3 format or does it distort and stretch it???

Thanks!

Posted by Thomasjames on October 1, 2006 at 1:44 AM (PDT)

12

I'm glad I didn't pay attention to the comments here, and went ahead and purchased this product. Only 3 music videos appear stretched, the other 263 videos and movies are displayed correctly. The audio is "ok", the video is "good", the price is "bad" (too high) - but it sure is nice to watch the videos without having to hold the iPod 12 inches from my nose.

Posted by GoodnNuff on October 13, 2006 at 3:35 PM (PDT)

13

I just received this unit yesterday. The language menu has been deleted and replaced with "Display Mode". This allows you to choose 16:9 or 4:3.

Posted by skydiver77479 on November 26, 2006 at 8:59 AM (PDT)

14

Picked up my Sonic Impact Video 55 today at my local Apple Store. Price on 12/17/06 was $199.95. The display is now switchable between 16:9 and 4:3. Quality of the display varies with the quality of the input but is really quite good. You never have to undock the iPod, it charges from the supplied AC input and you can synch the iPod with any USB to mini-USB cable (not included). This is an great product.

Posted by jvanlee1 on December 18, 2006 at 7:33 PM (PDT)

15

I ordered this on eBay brand new for $160 with shipping. This is my most favorite iPod accessory I own. The sound this thing gives off when playing just music is incredible. TO top that off the vdeo quality is great and having a slot for the mini remote is awesome. No I won't have to worry about losing it. Also is comes with a neat bag/carry device and a cloth o wipe it down. I defiantly recommend this.

Posted by Synergy37 on December 29, 2006 at 8:17 PM (PDT)

16

I purchased my unit from Best Buy on 12/30/2006 and the display on the unit is not switchable, so BUYER BEWARE. There are obviously older units still in the wild.

All 4:3 AR video is displayed stretched. Any 4:3 TV shows purchased from itunes are distorted. ANy 16:9 movies that you rip in the proper aspect ratio are ok.

I e-mailed SI twice since the 30th and have not received any response. In addition there is no mention of the firmware update on the SI web site, and all of the manuals available on the web site make no mention of this feature.

Posted by jimn367 on January 4, 2007 at 2:43 PM (PDT)

17

These seem to be dissapearing from shelves. Target no longer has them and the last one i saw at the Apple Store (SF) was down to $149. Hopefully they are busy getting the next generation out!

Posted by rg_spb on February 8, 2007 at 1:59 PM (PDT)

18

After having returned a 1st generation model (no 4:3) which BestBuy stores have on sale for $ 99.00, I picked up a 2n generation model at my local Apple Store for $ 149.00.

Here is the general problem with this product - and I don't know why this wasn't addressed in the iPodlounge review. I can only imagine the reviewer somehow overlooked it (as do many people with widescreen displays - this whole 16x9 versus 4:3 issue and the ways to display widescreen content can be very confusing.)

Yes, 2nd gen models have a 4:3 mode and all full screen content is displayed correctly. However, the same is NOT true for ANY WIDESCREEN CONTENT you buy from the iTunes store. And it doesn't matter if you have a 1st or 2nd gen model. Alle iTunes widescreen content appears squeezed vertically with black bars at the bottom and top. (Even for true 16x9 content like TV shows, which -unless widescreen theatrical movies - should not have any black bars on a true 16x9 screen.)

What happens is that when put in 16:9 mode the Video 55 treats ALL incoming video as if it was anamorphic full screen (a regular 4:3 picture with vertically streched content). Like every other regular widescreen TV out there it then streches this "presumed" anamorphic 4:3 picture horizontally to fill the 16:9 screen entirely. What happens with iTunes widescreen content is that the unit adds black pixels at the top and bottom of the widescreen video to get a "true 640 x480" picture size. It then streches the video out horizontally to fill the 16x9 screen.

Those of you who have reported that 16x9 content is displayed correctly, take a close look. Check the video on the iPod screen and then compare it to the Video 55 and you'll see what I mean.

I am however not returning this product, since it does have the best picture and sound quality of all the portable players - and I found a workaround for content ripped from DVDs (that's what I will use it mostly for). I'll rip DVDs specifically for this unit.

The 16x9 picture on every DVD is stored in an anamorphic 4:3 (vertically streched full screen) way. When you extract the video from the DVD with MacTheRipper you're actually getting a VOB file that is in this anamorphic format. (DVD players like VLC simply strech it to display the intended 16x9 picture).

When you then convert the VOB file(s) into video ready for the iPod (with VisualHub for example), just make sure you don't let the program choose the pixel dimensions automatically (it will turn it into a 640x352 widescreen format), but enter 640x480 (full size 4:3) under picture size and you'll get a true anamorphic video. When played back through the Video 55 it'll fill the entire screen without any distortions.

It's really stupid that Sonic Impact is unable to come out with a product that dispays original iPod widescreen content right.

How hard can it be, especially since that's the sole purpose of this product...?

For my upcoming travels, it the Video 55 will be a usefull product along with my specially ripped anamorphic content. Once Apple releases a true video iPod, it's days will certainly be numbered.

Posted by THX1965 on March 11, 2007 at 2:08 PM (PDT)

19

The headphone output puts out a static that is very noticeable and distracting with high-quality headphones. (I use the Shure E3c.) You can still hear the static, but more faintly, if you use the stock Apple earbuds.

I've had this problem on two units so far, and even SI's tech support was baffled. I am returning it, since the noise is very distracting during dialogue scenes. The speaker output is fine.

Posted by wh on July 9, 2007 at 11:07 AM (PDT)

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