Review: Capdase Come Home High-Grade AV Cables for iPod
Pros: High-quality, gold-tipped AV cables for color 4G and 5G iPods, featuring your choice of composite or S-Video outputs and either top- or bottom-connecting iPod plugs. Dock Connector and S-Video combo provides best quality AV experience possible from your iPod; Dock Connector and composite combo similarly solid. Cables’ tips can be unscrewed for custom installations.
Cons: Dock Connector cable versions preclude simultaneous iPod viewing and charging, a dilemma especially for those who hope to play battery-draining video on their iPods. When shipping is factored in, top competitive option from Marware offers greater cable length for the dollar.
Known mostly for its cases and iPod charging cables, Capdase has recently released three new audio/video cables for color 4G and 5G iPods, each designed to output your iPod’s audio and video to a television set. In concept, each cable in the Come Home series does pretty much the same thing, using RCA-style stereo audio plugs, a video connector, and roughly six feet of thick rubber cabling to connect iPod to a television set or monitor of your choice. But from there, they differ.
The cheapest of the three cables ($14) connects to the iPod with a gold-plated stereo plug, using the iPod’s top headphone port and outputting to composite-style video and audio plugs. Two other cables are the first we’ve seen in Dock Connector versions, connecting to your iPod’s bottom rather than its top. One of the Dock Connector cables ($18) uses a composite/RCA-style video output, just like the top-connecting, cheaper version, but the third and final cable ($23) uses an S-Video plug instead, which is generally capable of yielding superior picture quality than standard composite video cables. All three cables tout the unlockability of their metal AV connectors, allowing you to splice open their cables for any novel custom installation you have planned.
In short, we were impressed by both the build quality of the cables and their audio-video output, which we tested under a number of conditions - including in-home use, and as the iPod integration element for a premium car installation. Not surprisingly, the cables performed ably, with the Dock Connector versions permitting especially impressive audio and video quality, particularly the S-Video version. If you’re looking to make an iPod to TV or stereo connection, the latter two cables deliver some of the best results we’ve seen.
The only problems we had were predictable. Connecting these AV cables to an iPod’s Dock Connector port will preclude you from simultaneously viewing and charging your iPod, which is a particularly big problem if you are running battery-draining videos off of the iPod’s hard drive. If you opt for the top-connecting version, you may well find a better dollar value in Marware’s longer, 13-foot-long AV Cable (iLounge rating: A-), which can be had for a bit less by U.S. customers when Capdase’s typical $9 shipping charges are taken into account; international readers may find the cable more widely available locally. Overall, these are good cables, but if you’re planning on trying to charge and watch at the same time, you’ll need to put together multiple accessories, or for car installs, try something like XtremeMac’s RoadShow instead.