Activate TV out on new iPods

Q: I have found your site very useful in getting answers, particularly regarding the newest iPod Classic. I do have one simple question: You have mentioned that the new iPod has a workaround to play video (TV-out) on third party players by enabling video out and starting video playback on a compatible video output accessory. What accessories can I use to start this process? 

– Ken

A: The short answer is that any device with an Apple authentication chip contained in it can be used to start this process, at least with the current firmware version. Note that this does not even have to be a video playback specific device.

The Apple authentication chip concept was actually introduced with the fifth-generation iPod models, although at the time most basic accessories did not require this chip for audio or video playback.  WIth the 5G iPod, the authentication chip was only used to enable specific advanced functions on the iPod when a compatible accessory was connected—for example displaying the “Speaker” menu for the iPod Hi-Fi. The most common type of third-party accessory that required the Apple authentication chip were the iPod voice recording devices such as the Belkin TuneTalk Stereo and Griffin iTalk Pro.

With the release of the iPod classic and iPod nano, the requirement for an authentication chip was extended to video playback devices as well. However, as of the current firmware, these models do not require a video-specific authentication chip, merely the presence of an Apple authentication chip.

Most 5G accessories manufactured directly by Apple included this authentication chip, so just about any of these that use the Dock Connector will provide this functionality. Further, any third-party 5G iPod voice recorder will also trigger this, since the Apple authentication chip is required in order for the voice recorder itself to function.

Therefore, in addition to the obvious video-specific accessories released for the new models, there is a surprising list of other accessories that will enable the video-out feature, simply because they too contain the necessary Apple authentication chip:

  • Apple Universal Dock
  • Apple iPod Hi-Fi
  • Apple iPod FM Radio/Remote
  • Apple Nike+iPod Sport Kit (Nano only)
  • Belkin TuneTalk Stereo Voice Recorder
  • Griffin iTalk Pro Voice Recorder

(the above list represents those accessories that we have specifically tested—there are quite likely a number of others that will also work, particularly in the voice recorder category)

To play video output through an older video accessory, simply connect one of the above accessories, turn on the TV output function, and then start the video playback on the device, while the original accessory is still connected. Once the video (or photo slideshow) is playing, simply disconnect the iPod from the original accessory and connect it to your video playback device.