AmazonBasics Composite AV Cable for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod

Better-priced cable to connect your iDevice to a TV or Hi-Fi

Amazon’s entry into basic electronic accessories is a boon to consumers. This cable – which allows you to attach an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to a television set – retails for rough 2/3 the cost of the Apple-branded item. It provides the same connectors (video, stereo audio and USB) and performs the same function. The cable allows you to play video through any television set with composite video and stereo audio inputs. The cable works with both American (NTSC) and European (PAL) televisions, just set the output via Settings/Video/TV Signal.

There are cheaper after-market cables, but most will only work if you jailbreak your iDevice and install specific software to enable video-out. The Amazon cable, like Apple’s own version, is plug-and-play, enabling video-out simply by attaching it to your iDevice. Note that neither Amazon nor Apple’s cable provide a complete mirror of your iDevice desktop; only video-enabled applications (such as the native video player and YouTube) send their output through the cable.

Amazon’s cable includes two minor design annoyances – nothing that should derail a purchase, but something they should fix in v2. First, the audio and video connectors are hard plastic, without fingertip indents or tapering towards the cord. This makes them difficult to grip for removal. Second, the USB connector is joined to the audio/video connectors approximately eight-inches from their tips. This makes it difficult to reach an electrical outlet with the USB connector while the audio/video connectors are plugged into a television.

This was tested with an iPod Touch 4G and found to be flawlessly plug-and-play. Plug the cable into the iPod, plug the connectors into the television, start a video and the iPod displays a screen noting that video is being sent to the television. Tune the television to its composite input and – voila! – the movie appears in living color. In addition to video out via the composite connectors, the USB connector can be used for charging and syncing your iDevice, and the audio connectors can hitch your iDevice to a hi-fi system.

Consumers may also want to consider Apple’s Component Cable. This provides component video (Y, Pb and Pr), stereo audio and a USB connector. The advantage is that HD video played through the component cable will display in full resolution on an HD-enabled television. The disadvantage is that television sets found while traveling (e.g. hotels/motels), particularly older sets, may not have component inputs.

This is a handy cable, perfect for road-warriors who find themselves in foreign countries without television entertainment in their native language, or families traveling with small children that need to see “their show.” It’s thicker, bulkier and heavier than the standard USB-only cable that comes packed with an iDevice, but it’s a great travelmate. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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