Q: I have a fifth-generation iPod, and both it and iTunes have been working great for two years. Suddenly, today, as I uploaded some new podcasts, something odd happened. As I went to watch them on the iPod itself, only the audio file would play, and no video. I then tried to watch my music videos and movies, only to find they only showed audio files as well. Puzzled, I checked my iTunes library. The videos played fine on my computer, and despite constant syncings and such, nothing has changed. Why is my iPod video NOT playing video? Is there anything I can do to remedy this?
A: The most common cause of this problem, particularly if the videos play fine in iTunes, is that the iPod has been set to enable the “TV Out” feature. This is generally only a problem on fifth-generation iPods, as the newer models require a compatible accessory to be connected in order for the TV Out feature to function.
In the case of the fifth-generation iPod, the TV Out feature will display video via the Dock Connector or headphone port via a video cable, instead of displaying it on the iPod screen. You can check this setting under Videos, Video Settings and ensure that the “TV Output” is set to either ASK or OFF (ASK will prompt you for the setting each time you try to play a video).
Note as well that on the fifth-generation iPod, you can also access podcasts via either the Music or the Videos menus. If you play a podcast from the Music menu, only the audio portion will be heard. This is by design to allow you to listen to podcasts (or music videos), without expending battery life to display the video if you really only want to hear the audio playback. Ensure that you are accessing your video files by going to the “Videos” menu, and then selecting them from there.
In some relatively rare cases, the iPod database can get corrupted and stop recognizing video files properly. In this case, simply resyncing the iPod doesn’t fix this, since the videos are already on the iPod, and iTunes therefore doesn’t really do anything to them.
Generally to fix this you must remove the videos from the iPod and then place them back on, so that iTunes actually RE-copies the video file to the iPod. You can do this by adjusting your iPod synchronization settings to exclude that content, synchronizing your iPod to remove it (since it’s now excluded), and then resetting your sync settings to include it again.
Using the “Sync Only Checked Items” setting on the main iPod screen is generally a useful way to accomplish this—simply set the iPod sync options to “Sync only checked songs and videos” which can be found on the iPod’s “Summary” tab in iTunes:
Then, you can simply UNcheck the items in iTunes itself, sync the iPod to remove the items, and then RE-check the items and sync to copy them back onto the iPod.
If all else fails and your videos still are not playing properly on the iPod, then as a last resort, you should connect the iPod to iTunes and use the “Restore” button (found on the iPod Summary page in iTunes) to erase your iPod and then reload it from scratch.