Q: I have a fifth-generation iPod with video. I am using it with a Monster A/V cable (30 pin connection) to play music and video content to a car DVD/Video system via the RCA and Composite video connections. The 30 pin connector also supplies power to the iPod. I would also like to use my iPhone 4S with the car DVD/Video player, but the old Monster A/V cable will not function with the iPhone. I believe Apple reconfigured the 30 pin interface. Does anyone make
an adapter for the “old” 30 pin to the “newer” 30 pin connector? Thank you for any advice.
A: Sadly, with the release of the iPod classic in 2007, Apple locked the video out capability to only work with Apple-approved cables—those containing a special authentication chip to indicate that they were authorized to display video from the 30-pin Dock Connector. This decision broke many of the video accessories that had been previously designed for the fifth-generation iPod. It is likely that your Monster A/V cable is from this generation of accessories and unfortunately this means that it won’t work with any iPod or iOS device released from 2007 onward.
Note that Apple did not actually reconfigure the 30-pin Dock Connector interface per se—all of the same pins are still used for video out on all video-capable devices that use the Dock Connector. The only difference from 2007 on was that the software in the devices refused to output a video signal until they could confirm the presence of an authentication chip in the cable.
This new requirement also meant that only manufacturers who were part of Apple’s Made-for-iPod program could produce compatible video accessories, which needed to conform to Apple’s specifications and requirements. For various reasons, it was not feasible for these companies to consider making Dock Connector adapters.
The bottom line is that this means that if you want to get video output from your iPhone 4S, you’re going to need to purchase an entirely new Dock Connector video cable, such as Apple’s own Component AV Cable. The good news is that you do not need to use a different cable for each device, since the pinouts are the same and the older iPod will simply ignore the authentication chip, so any newer video cable will also still be compatible with your old fifth-generation iPod.