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AVLabs MYTube Video Speakers for iPod review: AVLabs MYTube Video Speakers for iPod

The MYTube iPod dock throws everything it can into a dock, and then a little bit more. Only some of it sticks, mind you.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read

Design
When we recently reviewed the Altec Lansing T612, we had a go at the company for reusing what was a very old design. Strangely enough, the AVLabs MYTube does the exact same thing — it re-uses an old Altec Lansing design. It's hard not to look at the MYTube and immediately think of the by-now very aged Altec Lansing iM7, and its retro-80's Boombox style design.

7.1

AVLabs MYTube Video Speakers for iPod

The Good

Large display screen. Choice of powering modes. Does a fair job with iPod video files.

The Bad

No iPhone shielding. Adapters aren't labelled. Poor remote response.

The Bottom Line

The MYTube iPod dock throws everything it can into a dock, and then a little bit more. Only some of it sticks, mind you.

Where the MYTube stands out — wacky, pretentious Web 2.0 nomenclature notwithstanding — is in implementing a 7-inch LCD screen on the front of the tube section. The target market for the MYTube is pretty clearly that group of iPod owners with video capabilities, although the inclusion of composite video-in and -out sockets mean that it's also potentially viable to use the MYTube with other players, as a stand-alone display screen or exporting out to other video presentation devices.

Features
Let's face it — iPod speaker docks are a commodity item, and to stand out, you've got to do something different. From the looks of it, though, AVLabs decided to do about 20 things different with the MYTube, with varying degrees of success. Aside from the ubiquitous iPod Dock Connector, the MYTube also sports video in and out on the rear, as well as AC and in-car charging capabilities. Transfer enough compatible video onto your iPod, and this thing could replace the in-car DVD player. It also sports a flash card reader (SD/MMC/MS) for photo playback, as well as a USB host socket for reading files from USB flash drives.

One thing the MYTube doesn't handle with much grace is the iPhone 3G. To be fair, the package only lists up to the iPod Touch as compatible models, whereas the local website says the iPhone is compatible. Still, we plugged in an iPhone 3G to test, only to be hit with the dreaded Airplane mode suggestion. Some speakers we've used with the iPhone 3G have been better at hiding electromagnetic interference; the MYTube definitely falls in the "worse" category. If you're a fan of what sounds like hastily reworked Kraftwerk, this might work out well for you. If you're not, then this isn't the iPhone Speaker dock to buy.

Performance
We hit our first hurdle with the MYTube in picking the right dock adapter. It's nice that AVLabs has included a bunch of adapters to fit different iPods, but frustrating that they haven't labelled a single one. As such, all you can do is play mix and match games until you find the one that fits your particular iPod model.

On the audio front, the MYTube is decidedly average. Aside from the interference issue noted with the iPhone, all too often we found the speakers to sound crackly and without any real depth to the music being played. At a basic desktop boombox level they weren't actively unpleasant, but at around AU$399, we expected slightly better than the MYTube's rather tinny tones. We were also constantly frustrated by the MYTube's remote control, which was, to put it frankly, unresponsive rubbish. The controls on the MYTube, on the other hand, worked quite well, and once it's authenticated, it'll also run from an iPod Touch quite nicely.

One area where we were pleasantly surprised was in the MYTube's video quality. When you power up the system for the first time, the garish menu that greets you suggests an over-bright, low quality LCD screen. Where the MYTube works well is in converting iPod-based video (which is, in itself, generically quite low resolution) up to a larger screen. The quality isn't stunning — nobody's going to buy that this is an HD dock — but it's perfectly passable in the same way that the screens in the back of most (working) airplane seats are.