Tons of possibilities raced through my mind when I first saw the 5th Gen iPod demoed. I know Apple prefers not to call it the iPod video, but how can you think of anything else when it’s in your hands?
I have the 30GB model that’s super slim and the optional AV Cable that enables me to connect the iPod directly to the TV via traditional RCA jacks — two for audio and one for video.
As you may have heard other places, watching Lost or any other compelling production on the iPod’s 2.5″ screen is surprisingly satisfying. Certainly this device will improve train and plane travel for scores of techno junkies who would just as soon leave their laptop in the overhead compartment and watch their handheld devices while traveling. I know I would.
But my burning question was how well does video downloaded from iTMS fare when presented on a full-sized TV screen. After-all, the video’s native resolution is only 320×240… half the size of traditional TV. The answer: It is amazingly good. I have the premier episode of Lost paused on my TV right now, and I’m impressed. In motion, it’s even better. The audio is crisp and a few minor video artifacts only appear in underexposed shadows or large areas of solid color. I had to look to find them.
This means that I can download an episode from my PowerBook, load it on the iPod, and take it on the road, to a friend’s house, wherever, and watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it — a portable video player in my pocket.
For sometime I’ve recommended that any new TV you bring home should have the RCA jacks in the front. I’m hoping that hotels get with this program and provide us with TVs that connect easily to the iPod and other devices. Apple’s video cables cost $19, but are high quality and open up a whole new world of entertainment. Job well done.