Review: “One iPod Cable to Rule Them All”; SendStation’s PocketDock AV
I’m one of those people who actively uses the “video” capabilities of my video iPod. I use it to watch TV shows, movies, photo slide shows, work presentations, you name it. In the car, at home, I’m an iPod video nut. My current solution is a $1.98 iPod cable I found on Amazon (although they charged me $12 shipping… should have read that more carefully). Well, they packed all 198 cents’ worth of quality into that cable. The connection is horrible. A light breeze sends the video all screwy to the point I’m having flashbacks of trying to access scrambled cable channels on my old cable box.
I eventually got fed up and began my search for a quality iPod video cable that I could easily take with me on the road or to meetings. I briefly contemplated Apple’s $39 Universal Dock, until I read it needed both a power cable and an AV cable (not included) in order to work. Monster sells a $59.99 solution that has only an S-Video (no composite) connection. Due to my need to connect my iPod to my car video system and my parent’s ancient TV, I knew that while I would like S-Video, composite was a must. After an exhaustive 5 minute Google search, my quest to find the perfect iPod video cable ended when I came across the PocketDock AV from SendStation.
Despite the name, there is no actual freestanding “dock” involved in the equation, although pretty much any dock-related functionality you may be looking for is there. The PocketDock AV consists of an iPod dock connector and a 45-inch AV/charging cable. Like any good iPod video cable should, the PocketDock AV draws audio and video from your iPod via the dock connector. This connection gives you the highest-quality starting point for getting both audio and video out of your iPod. The connecting cable has sort of a “Turbo Squid” look to either end, as the cable splits into 5 separate connectors. You can hook the PocketDock AV to your video device through either composite (RCA) connections, or you can use the S-Video connection for an even clearer picture (if your video device supports it). This connection versatility alone pretty much sold me on the PocketDock, but there was a bonus feature I was not expecting as well. Next to the audio and video ports on the PocketDock AV’s dock connector is a USB port. That’s right, not only can you use the PocketDock AV as an iPod video cable, but also as a charging/syncing cable when connected to your computer (or to an external USB power adapter).
A nice bonus to the PocketDock AV’s modular design is that you can disconnect the dock connector from the cable, and use it as either a freestanding AV cable, or as a USB “A” to “B” connector cable out in the field.
Apple sells a USB iPod charging and an iPod AV cable for about the cost of the PocketDock AV, however that’s two cables you’d have to remember, and the audio/video are served from the headphone jack, not via the dock connection. In my mind, the PocketDock AV is a much better solution to the problem of getting video out of your iPod an up onto the big screen.
The PocketDock AV delivers everything you could hope for in a portable video iPod cable at a price that won’t make you run screaming “Monster”. For $36.95, you get composite, S-Video, and USB charging/syncing functionality in one compact and versatile cable. The combination of S-Video and composite video connections means you’ll be able to find the right fit for almost any TV or video device, and the USB charging means you no longer need to remember multiple cables when traveling. Plus removing the dock connector gives you a standard AV or USB cable to use in a pinch. If you’re looking for a simple, affordable, and versatile way to get video out of your iPod and up on the big screen, the PocketDock AV has got you covered.
Pros: Offers audio, video, charging and syncing in one compact and portable unit; offers both composite and S-Video connections, dock can be removed and cable used as a standalone AV or USB cable.