For The Wall Street Journal, Walter S. Mossberg and his assistant Katie Boehret “took a couple of the new video iPods — officially called simply ‘the iPod,’ or the ‘fifth-generation iPod’ — for a short test drive.” Mossberg writes, “Our verdict is that this new iPod is an excellent music player. It has all of the strengths that have made prior iPods monster hits, and a few subtle refinements. Plus, it’s a surprisingly decent video player, with crisp, smooth vivid playback of TV shows, music videos, short films, video podcasts and home videos.”
“We wouldn’t want to watch a full-length movie on this iPod — the screen is just too small. But, for short things like music videos, video podcasts or even hourlong TV shows shortened by stripping out the commercials, as Apple is doing, the new iPod provides a pretty good experience,” Mossberg writes. “…just as the original iPod blew away the existing products with a superior combination of design and functionality, the video iPod has a good chance of doing so, provided enough video content becomes available for it, and people prove willing to view video on a 2½-inch screen… We found in our tests that it can get annoying to hold the new iPod in a good viewing position for long enough to watch a TV episode, because it doesn’t come with a stand.”
Mossberg writes, “Because these conditions are unknown, even by Mr. Jobs, Apple wisely calls this primarily a music player, with video playback thrown in, at no extra cost, as a bonus. And that description seems both fair and right. In essence, this iPod’s video capability is kind of a business or social experiment… The new iPod can display its video on a TV, with the right cable. But the cable costs $19 extra. And there’s a nifty dock, which might even double as a viewing stand — but it’s $39 extra.”
Mossberg writes, “To test the video, we downloaded two episodes of “Desperate Housewives” from the iTunes Store… a short film, Pixar’s “Boundin'”… a music video, “Weapon of Choice,” by Fatboy Slim… a free video podcast called “Rocketboom”… [and] we obtained from a friend an illegally downloaded episode of the TV show “Battlestar Galactica,” which she had converted to one of the video formats the iPod supports. All of these videos played very well on the iPod, though each looked better on our Windows and Mac computers, where they play back in a window that is much smaller than the computer’s screen, but much larger than the iPod’s.”
Full article here.
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Just a note, videos can also be played full screen via Apples iTunes. To watch a downloaded video, double-click it in your library or playlist. By default, the movie plays in the Artwork pane in the lower-left corner of the iTunes window. Use the iTunes Volume, Play, Pause, Rewind, or Fast-forward buttons in the upper-left corner to control the video playback. If you don’t see the Artwork pane, click the Artwork button in the lower-left corner of the iTunes window. To see the video play in a separate window, click the movie in the Artwork pane. To watch the video full screen, click the Full Screen button in the lower-left corner of the iTunes window.
To choose a default location (iTunes window Artwork pane, separate window, or full screen) for video playback, choose iTunes > Preferences, and then click the Advanced button. Make sure the “Play videos” checkbox is selected, and then choose a playback location from the pop-up menu.
Also note that the new iPods can display audio and video on any TV or other video device using a US$19.99 Apple iPod AV Cable. An Apple iPod Universal Dock ($39.99) plus an Apple Remote ($19.99, included free with the new iMac G5) are a nice solution for using your iPod to play video on any size screen. You can also use Apple’s $19.99 VGA Display Adapter to connect the mini-VGA port on many Mac models to any VGA-equipped monitor or external projector for video-mirroring. The VGA cable plugs into the VGA video-out port built into your Mac. Or use Apple’s Apple Video Adapter to connect the mini-VGA video output port on your Mac to any S-video or Composite enabled device (TV, VCR, or overhead projector’s S-Video or RCA (composite) cable).
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