Cables are almost invariably commodity accessories – length, build quality and pricing aside, there’s not much to say about them. That’s the case with two recent composite audio/video cables from Griffin and Gecko Gear: Griffin’s cable is called HomeConnect ($15), and Gecko’s is the iPod Audio and Video Cable ($15), both designed as slightly less expensive alternatives to Apple’s official iPod AV Cable (iLounge rating: B).
Apple’s six-foot cable set the standard for all of its competitors, providing clean audio and video signals through a stylish white, silver, and gray cable. Since then, there have been ten or more direct competitors from major accessory makers, each offering a modest twist on Apple’s formula. A couple of the cables are retractable and small, a few are longer than Apple’s, and most are either a little bit cheaper or plated in gold for extra apparent value.
Griffin’s HomeConnect is fairly typical of the company’s offerings: a little cheaper than Apple’s cable, with equivalent audio and video quality, a slightly different cosmetic design, and greater length – ten feet to Apple’s six. Its headphone port plug is a little bigger than Apple’s, as are most competing designs, and its RCA-style audio and video plugs are a little smaller.
Gecko’s iPod Audio and Video Cable is somewhat less impressive. Roughly four feet long – two feet shorter than Apple’s – the cable’s only distinctive feature is gold plating on all four of its connectors, three for the TV and one for the iPod’s headphone port. Like HomeConnect, its iPod plug is larger than Apple’s, while its TV plugs are smaller; its audio and video quality are again equivalent.
Given the spectrum of options available right now, neither of these cables is a major standout: Marware’s 13-foot AV Cable (iLounge rating: A-) is the longest, and Capdase’s $14 gold-plated Come Home Cable (iLounge rating: B+) is a very good value, though bulkier and shorter. But Griffin’s option has the benefits of considerable length at a relatively low price – plus wide availability in the United States – hence its high recommendation. We’d pass on Gecko’s cable by comparison with other options out there; it doesn’t offer any serious advantage on pricing, length, or design relative to its peers.
Company and Price
Company: Gecko Gear
Model: iPod audio and video cable
Compatible: iPod 4G (color), iPod 5G