iPod and on-TV menus


Q: I’ve recently purchased a 120 GB iPod classic, and I’m looking for advice on a docking station type of product that will interface with my home entertainment system and allow me to view album artwork on the LCD TV as I listen to my music. I have an iPod AC connection kit, but I am unsure if the video out or S-video connection will allow me to view album artwork. I look forward to your advice.

– Trev

A: Unfortunately, the iPod does not directly provide the ability to output any information to a TV. The built-in video out capabilities are solely for playing back actual video content or displaying photo slideshows, and are inactive during music playback.

As a result, the only way to display album art and other song info from your iPod on a TV screen is to purchase a third-party iPod dock that will read the information from your iPod and generate its own on-screen display. Due to the extra hardware required to do this, these docks are generally not inexpensive, starting at prices of around $150 and going up from there.

You can find a list of docks with on-TV menus in our product reviews section. Note that many of these docks were manufactured originally for the fifth-generation iPod and not all have been updated to support the iPod classic. Further, since the Apple TV can be purchased in a similar price range, the popularity of these types of docks has been somewhat diminished.

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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.