iPod photo peripheral compatibility, explained, updated

Think you understood which digital photo peripherals worked with Apple’s iPod photo? Think again.

Updated September, 2005: We have added a collection of iPod AV cables and other accessories to the bottom of this report.

Following discussions with Belkin, maker of the Media Reader (released late 2003) and Digital Camera Link (released Spring 2004), and our review of Apple’s brand new iPod Camera Connector, iLounge can confirm the following compatibility details for all three peripherals.

Belkin Digital Camera Link: According to Belkin, there are two revisions of this accessory. iPod photo users with any version of Apple’s firmware will find that revision 1 Digital Camera Links have compatibility problems with the iPod photo and 4G iPod. Revision 2 Digital Camera Links – sold by Belkin since October 2004 – apparently do not have these compatibility problems. The difference between the two peripherals is an additional “01” mark on the rear of newer DCL units; older ones have only CE, FCC, and C-Tick marks. Below, you’ll see photos of the differences between new and old units, as well as the black dot that appears only on revision 2 boxes. Belkin adds that it has already notified customers on its web site that owners of revision 1 units with compatibility issues can contact the company’s customer service line to obtain a 4G/photo-compatible update.

Belkin Media Reader: There’s only one version of the Media Reader, but it behaves differently with the iPod photo based on the firmware (iPod Software Updater) you’ve installed. iPod photo users with version 1.0 of Apple’s firmware will find that Belkin’s Media Reader transfers photographs using a standard progress bar. But users with version 1.1 of Apple’s firmware will find that the Media Reader performs identically to Apple’s iPod Camera Connector, letting you preview photographs while transferring them, and view photographs on the iPod photo’s screen once transferred. Our updated review of the Media Reader includes updated photos and interesting notes on transfer speed differences.

Apple iPod Camera Connector: Version 1.0 of the Apple firmware will not work when you insert the Camera Connector, showing a screen reading “no card inserted” when you attempt to use the Photo Import feature. However, version 1.1 will work as described in our review.

Apple iPod AV Cable: This six-foot cable from Apple, reviewed here, allows you to connect an iPod to a television to watch photo slideshows. Apple also sells an iPod Dock with line-out audio and S-Video outputs for higher-quality AV output.

BoxWave iPod Photo AV miniSync: This cable from BoxWave, reviewed here, allows you to connect an iPod to a television to watch photo slideshows, and features a retractable 45-inch cord length.

Pacific Rim Technologies Retractable AV Cable for iPod: This 31-inch retractable cable from Pacific Rim, reviewed here, lets you connect an iPod to a television to watch photo slideshows. It is the most inexpensive such option we’ve tested.

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