Updated: Okay, maybe I’m flying off the handle on this one, after all. iLounge reported incompatibilities with the new iPod video output capability. They put it this way:
Without disclosing the change to customers, Apple has locked the TV Out feature of the iPod classic and video-capable iPod nano, preventing users from outputting iPod content to their TV sets as has been done in years past. Going to the Videos > Settings menu brings up a TV Out option that is now unresponsive when clicked, showing only the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“off.Ã¢â‚¬Â When locked, video content will display on the iPodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s screen, but not on your TV or portable display accessory.
I’m going to save my “Apple’s iPod is closed” argument for another day, because I have to admit, I may be overreacting without the actual details. (For those of you who read my rant, hope you enjoyed it; now I’ll formally retract it until I know what the heck I’m actually talking about.)
Basically, here’s the problem:
There may not be any “authentication chip”, and this isn’t necessarily DRM. I was wrong; Anton and others are right: there’s no confirmation of an “authentication chip” or that this is intentional video DRM. If it is DRM, of course, it’s pretty stupid, as it won’t stop anyone from recording the video output of an iPod. It’s more likely that it’s just an incompatibility with existing products, but then, aside from cases and such, for the most part the iPod (and Apple TV) are pretty closed products to begin with. (I personally think that’s a problem, but that’s not DRM — it’s just choosing to have stricter control over the product.)
The cable is $50 because it has a power adapter. Okay, that makes more sense: one cable gives you video plus power. I’d still like to see a separate video cable, though, and I’m no huge fan of the iPod’s weird connector (of course, it’s there to keep the design thin).
There still are underlying problems, though, trying to use the iPod as a more flexible device. This just demonstrates that it’s really not designed that way. In some cases, I think that gives Apple more control over the consumer experience than they should have, and I really don’t think it’s healthy that the iPod dominates the market the way it does. At the same time, I also recognize my needs are different from the average consumer — but, hey, if you enjoyed being just an average consumer of technology, you wouldn’t be reading the CDMs, would you? Whether or not it has an impact on Apple’s larger business, I think we can safely enjoy the bleeding edge.
Anyone know of good Linux-based devices with video output capabilities? The GP2X is looking better than ever. S-Video out of a GP2X mixed with a computer could be ideal — and the GP2X appears to have better video format support than the iPod.