Thursday, June 25, 2009

Apple iPhone composite AV cable review

Now that XM streaming is available on the iPhone, I've really taken to it. We used to have a SkyFi2 that I was using as an alarm clock and for getting XM out by the hot tub and out on the patio. That SkyFi2 is now available on eBay. Instead, I'm going to use some very clever javascript to bring up the streams in Safari every morning as my alarm clock, and we'll take a phone out to the hot tub to stream it there.

For the patio, I decided to go all out. I wanted a way to both stream the music and charge the phone at the same time. I didn't really want to buy a dock, though, since both of our phones are in cases, and while the cases typically don't fit well in docks, they do tend to accept docking cables.

So I bought the Apple Composite AV cable. The idea is that the audio will plug into another one of those Jameco audio amplifier kits, and the speaker wires will go through the wall to outdoor speakers. The iPhone end of the AV cable will sit on a little shelf just inside the patio door.

The cable is a little bit expensive, but it does include a USB power port. One of Apple's "sugar cube" chargers and a dock cable are by themselves almost as expensive as this cable.

One note, though is that whenever this cable is connected, the internal speaker of the phone is disabled. All the UI sound effects go out the cable instead. Also, whenever the cable is connected, YouTube and the iPod video playback don't actually play on the iPhone's screen. Instead, they play out the video cable and you get a still image on the iPhone screen. Also, the phone's UI does not display on the TV.

The "genius" at the Apple store actually got that wrong. He said that the video would play on both screens.

But I'm actually reasonably satisfied with the result. I don't plan on playing video while it's connected this way, though I suppose I could use a projector and one of those outdoor inflatable screens to do an outdoor movie night...


andreas said...

Nice and helpful review. Do you know if it also works when playing .mp4 videos on the iPod Touch 2G? Does all video playing (streaming Youtube, downloaded and stored movies) work and are seen on tv? What about pictures, can I pass them over to the tv set? Thanks!!

Nick said...

I believe it does work the same way with the iPod Touch. All video comes out on the composite video jack while it's connected. No video is displayed on the screen.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to use this AV cable to feed my car video screen for my grandchild to watch a movie from my iPhone.

But without the phone screen showing the video controls to start and pause or fast forward to a give spot and this does not work or show on the AV output the whole thing is a bust and not usable.

Why would apple design the iPhone this way. You would have to unplug the cable find where you want to start the video, start it playing then plug in the cable. Sorry, but this totally stupid.

Joseph Hogan Wilks said...

Like the iPod, you might have to set the system to output a signal through the iPod connection port. You don't not have to go apple of course. there are a few after market cable manufacturing companies that have a composite and component connection for the ipod and iPad systems. Best Buy's brand Rocketfish makes both of these cables. I hope apple comes out with an HDMI already. Even if it is only 720, it is still much cleaner and sharper than component's analog signal. Get on the ball apple!