CES Roundup Page 5
Like a myriad of meteorites smashing into a planet, the iPod has completely changed the A/V landscape forever. And what would CES be without a ton of new peripherals to make life even more Pod-tastic? The common denominator among the coolest accessories was getting the Pod off your hip and out of your pocket, enabling you to enjoy its content in bigger and better ways.
One of the boldest Pod-nerships was ViewSonic's PJ258D DLP projector ($999, spring - shown above), which features an integrated iPod dock that takes your Pod's video files to the big leagues. Photos and video files can be projected to life-size proportions in 1,024 x 768 resolution.
Altec Lansing does iPod video on a slightly smaller scale with its iMV712 ($349, late spring). Video and photos are displayed on an 8.5-inch, widescreen LCD, and audio is surprisingly rich from the small speakers and 4-inch side-firing woofers. Disappointingly, the LCD screen doesn't display the Pod's music menus or cover art, so you can't have everything.
Escient's FP-1 music manager ($599 - below) brings that company's terrific onscreen interface to the iPod. Once a Pod is placed in the dock, the FP-1 automatically indexes all the music and retrieves cover art from the Net. The FP-1 also lets you navigate your music from any Web-enabled device. If you already own an Escient FireBall music server, the FP-1 seamlessly integrates your Pod's music with the rest of your collection and acts as another zone player for your system.
While there were a number of systems that let you place your Pod where you want and still keep in touch with your tunes wirelessly, one of the coolest was Silex's wiDock ($149, available now), which lets you sync wirelessly with iTunes via 802.11g. This ensures your Pod is always loaded with your latest tunes, podcasts, and videos.
Finally, for the audiophile who has everything and an iPod, MSB unveiled the iLink ($1,995), the world's first iPod dock that delivers a true digital-audio bitstream from the Pod. (All other docks use only the Pod's analog output.) The iLink is said to radically improve sound quality by using an ultraprecise clock to reduce jitter, but it requires a warranty-voiding modification to the Pod. (MSB offers a 1-year replacement warranty that covers upgraded Pods.) As a bonus, the iLink comes with an RF transmitter that enables the Pod to transmit that perfect string of 0s and 1s wirelessly to the dock from across the room. - John Sciacca