iPod classic TV output


Q: I’m having trouble for the first time getting my iPod to play video on my TV. I’ve done it before and there was no problem. Now I have a 120 GB iPod classic and it won’t play. The TV output is on and the signal is NTSC. When I plug the iPod into my TV, on my iPod it says “TV Out Enabled. Please connect video accessory.” Why isn’t it working?

– Anonymous

A: It sounds like you were previously using a fifth-generation iPod prior to upgrading to the 120GB iPod classic. Unfortunately, all of the iPods released since 2007 now require video cables that use a specific iPod authentication chip to enable the video output feature. Cables manufactured for the fifth-generation iPod are not compatible with the newer iPod models, including the iPod classic, third and fourth-generation iPod nano, iPod touch or iPhone. Firstly, these devices no longer output video through the headphone port at all, requiring a Dock Connector based cable to output video, but more importantly the Dock Connector cable must contain a chip to identify itself to the iPod as a compatible video accessory. The message you’re seeing prompting you to connect a video accessory is indicating the iPod is not detecting this chip and therefore doesn’t think you’ve actually connected a video accessory.

If you’re using a Dock Connector video cable and have an iPod audio recording device that connects to the Dock Connector port, you might be able to work around this by connecting that in order to trigger the video output and then switching back to your video cable. This works as the Dock Connector based audio recording accessories all use authentication chips as well, similar to those used by video accessories. However, these only work in certain firmware versions on and on certain iPod models.

Otherwise, you’re pretty much stuck purchasing a new video cable to enable TV output on your new iPod classic. Apple sells both Component AV Cables and Composite AV Cables for around $50 each, although you may find other third-party cables available for slightly less. Unfortunately, the cost of licensing these accessories with Apple and including the authentication chip means you’re unlikely to see any of these cables available for less than $30 USD.

For more information, see our article, Apple Locks TV Out in New iPods.

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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.