New iPod firmware – video output and iPod Hi-Fi support

Q: I have a 160 GB iPod Classic Black and updated the software to 1.0.3 PC, yesterday I bought a TuneCommand AV Belkin and everything works fine, but the video isn’t working. When I try to see some video file, the screen on the iPod shows “TV Out Enabled, Please Connect Video Accessory” and that’s all.

I can control the iPod with the Belkin’s unit remote, there’s audio signal through the AV out when I play music on iPod, the device appears to charge the battery without problems, but I can’t play any video!!!

– Eumir

A: Unfortunately, this is a limitation of the new 2007 iPod models. As we have discussed in our previous week’s Ask iLounge columns, the 2007 iPod models (classic, nano, touch and iPhone) all require video accessories specifically designed for these models, with an authentication chip that indicates that they are “video-compatible” accessories.

Technically speaking, this has been the case since the original release, although the v1.0.3 firmware has recently tightened the restrictions on the accessories that will work. Prior to v1.0.3, any accessory with a generic Apple authentication chip could be used to trigger video output (this even included non-video accessories as the iPod HiFi and Apple FM Radio Remote). A partial list of accessories that could previously be used for this purpose was discussed in our Oct 26, 2007 column.

Unfortunately, the v1.0.3 firmware has changed this behavior and reduced the number of non-approved devices that can be used for this purpose.

Specifically, the Nike+ sport kit, the FM Radio Remote and the iPod HiFi no longer allow video output to be triggered, and this could easily apply to numerous other devices with generic Apple authentication chips. Both the 2005 and 2007 models of Apple Universal Dock continue to work fine for video output, however.

Note that you can downgrade your iPod firmware back to the v1.0.2 version, although you will have to completely erase and restore your iPod from iTunes in order to do so. To downgrade to an earlier firmware version, simply connect the iPod, and then click the “Restore” button while holding down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac), and iTunes will prompt you for which firmware package to use to restore the iPod.