December 18, 2008

Review: Griffin Component AV Cable for iPods

Few days back, Griffin announced new Component and Composite AV cables for the latest iPods. I got myself a review unit and gave it a test. Before I begin with my review, I just want to go over why I think this cable kit is very much needed. First of all, this is not just an output cable. The kit includes a wall charger so it can keep your iPod charging while playing back. Personally, I find this cable handy because when I travel, I used to bring my laptop along for web, internet, work and multimedia/entertainment. Especially if I am traveling alone, I typically like to watch a movie or two from my laptop instead of paying the hotel a large fee for movies-on-demand. With the convergence of iPhone (all-in-one) device, this cable can take my needs one step further. I can hook-it-up to hotel's TV and watch movies or tv shows straight from an iPod Touch. Not to mention the built-in charger is something I need to pack with me anyways so taking this kit instead of a normal charger isn't a stretch. This has got to be handy for people traveling with kids; imagine bringing their favorite movies on your iPod to playback in a car or grandparent's house (instead of DVDs).

The component AV cable kit I received comes with a set of white cables approximately four feet long. As mentioned, it comes with a wall charger which can be used with the cable set or another independent USB-iPod data cable (so it can be used in other applications, which is a plus). I tested this cable on my fifth generation iPod Video 30GB and while my iPod recognized a TV-out cable is plugged in, the cable was not able to successfully tranmit 480i video on my 52" Sharp LCD TV; only audio was being passed thru. I took a closer look at the box which indicated supported devices include: iPod Touch, iPod nano (3rd gen), iPod classic. I guess there is a design difference between iPod 5th gen vs classic. To continue with my review test, I took my first generation iPhone out and connected to the cable. Lo and behold, it worked like a charm. The 480i output looked a little granny on my 1080p tv set but I was pleasantly suprised to see an episode of "The Office" filled up the entire screen in 16:9 widescreen mode. The cable did prompt my iPhone that it isn't designed for an iPhone and recommend I turn on airplane mode. Regardless it provided great TV out as well as charging my iPhone. Plugging in the wall charger isn't required for TV output and it also works with my iPhone 3G.

Overall, these cables worked as promised. I like the way Griffin kept the color code semi-hidden underneath each plug. The white cables match the iPod-isque styling. The composit or component AV cable kit goes for $49.99 MSRP, I think its a nice accessories to take your iPhone or iPod touch along with your traveling needs this holiday season.

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