Video playback from the iPhone

Q: Does the iPhone play video through it’s dock connector? It appears the iPhone dock is an audio only output. Can I place the iPhone in the Universal Dock to play videos through either it’s composite or s-video connector? Does video play out of the headset port like in the iPod video?

– Chrystopher

Unfortunately, the iPhone does not offer any kind of video output capabilities at all, through either the Dock Connector or the headphone port.

Connecting video playback accessories to the Dock Connector port will generally provide audio playback, but no video output as the iPhone simply does not provide a signal through this port.

With regards to the headphone port, the third connector is actually used for the iPhone’s headset microphone input, and therefore connecting a standard iPod video cable to a TV would not only provide no video output, but in fact could conceivably damage the iPhone, since the yellow lead would be mapped to the microphone input, rather than a video output.

Whether this feature has been permanently eliminated, or whether it will be added in a future firmware update is uncertain at this point. However, it is important to note that the iPhone has been designed as a multi-purpose device with an emphasis on phone and Internet features, and therefore this may be an omission based on the nature of the device itself. Whether or not a next-generation iPod will continue to provide this capability is equally uncertain, but the feature set of the iPhone should probably not be taken as any indication.

The fifth-generation iPod, of course, continues to support video output through either the Dock Connector or the headphone port, and the Apple TV is certainly an option if you will frequently be watching videos on a TV.  Both of these devices provide significantly greater storage capacity than the iPhone, and all will synchronize video playback tracking information such as last played time, play count, and even bookmarked playback position between all three devices via iTunes.

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