Griffin announces TuneCenter Pro dock with pre-order bonus and details

To accompany TuneCenter, a $100 Media Center dock for iPods premiered in January, Griffin Technology today announced TuneCenter Pro, a premium $130 version with extra capabilities. In addition to charging and connecting iPods to home entertainment systems, and displaying iPod music menus, photos, and movies on a television screen, both versions of TuneCenter will connect to an existing home network for realtime navigation and playback of Internet Radio programming. TuneCenter will ship with an Ethernet port, while TuneCenter Pro will include internal 802.11 networking functionality. As a special bonus, all TuneCenter pre-orders placed through Griffin’s web site through Monday, April 10 will receive TuneCenter Pro for the standard TuneCenter’s price of $100. TuneCenter will ship in May, TuneCenter Pro in early June. A QuickTime movie demonstrating TuneCenter’s interface and features is now available for viewing online.

Debuted at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January, the $100 TuneCenter won iLounge’s 2006 Best of Show award for its combination of novel features and attractive pricing. Supporting Apple’s Universal Dock standard, the chair-shaped dock serves as a charging and audio/video output station for color 4G and 5G iPods, featuring a hybrid AV port on its back and either an Ethernet port or 802.11b wi-fi capability for access to your home data network. Each dock can be toggled between NTSC and PAL video output with a rear switch, and includes both an AV cable for connection to your TV, and a power supply for dock and iPod power.

iPod music and Internet Radio content can be accessed via a clean, easily readable on-TV interface that largely duplicates the iPod’s, while 5G videos and color 4G/5G photos can be accessed separately. Music can also be accessed through a TV on iPods lacking video capabilities, including the 3G, mini, nano and black-and-white 4G iPods. A matching sixteen-button Infrared remote control provides easy access to the iPod’s functions from a distance. Firmware updates will enable additional features – yet to be announced – in the future.

TuneCenter is one of several docks to provide on-TV iPod menuing; Valor Multimedia’s $130 iLink-L2 and DLO’s $150 HomeDock Deluxe are other alternatives.

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