iPod classic video output (revisited)

Q: I recently purchased the iPod classic 160 GB and want to use the video out feature so I can watch movies on my TV. After reading your product review article “Apple Universal Dock (2007)” I still had the question of “Will the old Apple MA242LL/C iPod AV Connection Kit work with the iPod Classic?” Just wondering what your experience has been with the iPod Classic and AV Connection Kit. Both AppleCare and the Retail Apple Store reps were unable to answer my question.

– Mike

A: The short answer to this question is yes—at least for the time being.

The older, original Apple Universal Dock from 2005, which is the one included in the older AV Connection Kit (MA242LL/C) will provide video output capabilities for the iPod classic and iPod nano based on the firmware available as of this writing. Note that the iPod touch and iPhone do not support video output using this kit, however.

Essentially, the video output features in the iPod classic operate on the same principle as they did in the fifth-generation iPod, except that the presence of an Apple authentication chip is now required to enable the feature. Once enabled, all of the electrical connections and signals in the Dock Connector work in the same way as they did for the 5G.

As we have discussed in previous Ask iLounge columns, however, these docks work because they simply provide a generic Apple Authentication chip, and the present iPod classic firmware does not require a video-specific chip (whereas the iPod touch and iPhone do). It is entirely possible for a future iPod firmware update to change this behavior and require a video-specific authentication chip to enable the video output feature.

Note that the Apple Universal Dock (2007) does not provide video output via the line-out jack on the dock—only audio output is available. This is very obviously a specific design change in the dock itself, as there is no technical reason that this should be the case.