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Home > Reviews > MP3 Players > iPod AV Connection Kit #MA242LL/A

iPod AV Connection Kit #MA242LL/A Review
01/11/2006 - Updated 02/05/2006

 
The box is about 5 3/8" (136 mm) x 4 3/8" (111 mm) x 5 3/8" (136 mm) high. It is illustrated with photos of the Universal Dock, AV cable, USB dock connector cable and remote control. On the back of the box, it shows what iPods will work with this connection kit, which is all of them I think. The bottom of the box reveals that it was "Designed by Apple in California". Was that the box or the kit? And it says "Dock Made in China". Hmmm... seems like everything is made in China.

To remove the "inner" box, you sort of have to turn the box upside down. It just makes it easier. The inner box opens, similar to a clamshell, and reveals the remote control, dock and a stack of dock adapters.

What's inside
The entire package includes:

1 - Universal Dock (MA242LL/A)
1 - Remote control (MA128G/A)
1 - 60" (1.5 M) AV cable (M9765G/A)
1 - 44" (1.1 M) USB dock connector cable (M9569G/A)
1 - USB power adapter(M9837LL/A)
1 - iPod mini dock adapter #3
1 - iPod 20 GB U2 dock adapter #4
1 - iPod 40 GB dock adapter #5
1 - iPod with color display 20 GB 30 GB U2 dock adapter #6
1 - iPod with color display 40 GB 60 GB dock adapter #7
1 - User's Guide booklet (in 4 different languages)
1 - One-Year Limited Warranty booklet (in 7 different languages)

Dock adapter for the nano
The dock adapters included with the kit did not include one for the nano. Probably because the newer iPods, starting with the nano and then the video, comes with their own adapter. Luckily I saved the box that the nano came in because I had no idea, at the time, what that plastic thingy was. You can find out about the Universal Dock adapter here:
Learn about iPod Universal Dock

Universal Dock
Front Back Top Bottom
The Universal Dock measures 3 1/8 " (80 mm) x 2 5/16" (59 mm) x 5/8" (16 mm) high. It weighs in at about 4 1/2 oz. (128 g) on my postage scale. The front has a round infrared window for the remote control. The back is where all the connections are made: line out (for the AV cable), 30 pin dock connector (for the USB dock cable, to provide power) and S-video out. On the bottom is a rubber (I think it's rubber) skid proof pad.

Remote Control
Front Rear Bottom
The remote control measures 1 1/4" (32 mm) x 3 1/4" (83 mm) x 5/16" (8 mm) thick, which is similar in size to the iPod shuffle. It weighs about an ounce (28 g). At first sight, I couldn't figure out if it used batteries, or not. There's a small round indentation at the bottom right. When using a small pointed object, such as a headphone plug, the bottom pops out, exposing the battery. The battery that was installed is a Panasonic #CR2032 and it is about the size of a US nickel (3/4" dia - 19 mm).

Checking the fit
Placing my nano on the Universal Dock was easy when using the dock adapter. The location of the dock connector on the nano is on the left side, so the recess in the dock adapter (that the nano comes with) accounts for that. You can use it without the adapter, but that would require careful positioning of your iPod with the dock.

The Power Supply
For some reason, Apple lost it here. Their USB power supply is not power strip friendly and will occupy one outlet. The only nice thing I can say about this power supply is that it doesn't occupy two outlets (I've had some bricks that did).

Using the AV Connection Kit
Plugging the AV cables to my surround sound home receiver was pretty straight forward (especially after doing it a number of times). What I did was plug the cables to the front jacks on the receiver, which is labeled "Video 3". Then proceeded to plug the USB power to the power strip (here is where the Kensington StereoDock was the winner).

Plugging the nano into the dock for the first time, turned on the nano. Then, with the remote, I can play/pause when playing songs, even though the nano was on hold. The Apple dock apparently produces more volume than the Kensington StereoDock so, when switching from TV to the dock, and vice versa, you don't have to adjust the volume on the receiver.

Contrary to what Apple says on their website, regarding nano accessories, "This kit includes everything you need to connect your iPod nano to your home stereo or television so you can share your favorite tunes and snapshots with friends and family." is untrue. I've notified Apple about their claim, and it appears that they have corrected the information on their website.

Conclusion
The iPod AV Connection Kit gives you a lot of things that previously you had to purchase separately. Although not entirely a bargain, you will save money buying the kit (than if you were to purchase each item by themselves).

At the moment, the iPod nano will not display photos/slideshows on the TV set. I've downloaded the latest updater, iPod Updater 2006-01-10, and restored my nano with it. I was hoping that the new nano software 1.1 may include this extra menu where you can select TV On or Off. Sadly, it (the software) did not. On Apple's website, this article: Some iPod accessories won't work with iPod nano, there's a paragraph that points out:

"No Video Out
iPod nano does not support video out through the dock connector or the headphone port. iPod nano is not compatible with the Apple iPod AV Cable designed for iPod with color display (and iPod photo)."

Well, the paragraph is not entirely true. The AV Cable does work with the iPod nano, but only with the audio. Now I'm not sure if it is a hardware, or software, limitation.

:-)

Gary Kawamura

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