Editors' note: As of March 2007, DLO has released a second version of the HomeDock Deluxe that addresses many of the shortfalls found in this original version of the product.
What do you do when you've finally transferred all your songs, photos, and videos on to your Apple iPod? Well, watch and listen to them, for a start. But before long, you'll be thinking about how to release all that content from its portable prison. The DLO HomeDock Deluxe ($150), which offers a convenient way to play that media on your home stereo or your television, could be just the solution you're looking for. It includes a large, easy onscreen menu system for music navigation, but hassles with the iPod's firmware make the HomeDock Deluxe less than ideal for video.
DLO introduced the nearly identical HomeDock only six months previously, a product that worked with televisions and stereos but didn't include onscreen menus. This meant that unless you had the eyesight of the Bionic Man, you needed to keep the HomeDock pretty close to you to use it to its fullest potential. Now, the HomeDock Deluxe partially remedies that with onscreen menus for music. While it's the most elegant product of its kind, we're not sure that onscreen menus warrant it costing $50 more than the previous version.
The DLO HomeDock Deluxe is a small (1.0 by 5.8 by 3.8 inches), attractive black box with a docking port and a remote control with a built-in stand. The remote communicates by infrared, so it requires a line of sight to work; we'd have preferred a radio-frequency remote. To use the HomeDock Deluxe, simply connect it to your television or your stereo with the included RCA audio/video cables and plug in the power cord. The HomeDock Deluxe charges a docked iPod and can even work as a docking station when connected to a computer. We're dismayed, though, that DLO didn't correct any of the problems with the original version when making this one: It still doesn't offer an iPod universal dock (instead, it comes with an adjustable backrest); it doesn't come with an S-Video cable, which is necessary for connecting to some televisions; and it doesn't include a USB A-to-B cable, which users need if they're going to connect it to their computers.
Once you're set up, dock your iPod and change your television's input source. Your set should then notice the HomeDock Deluxe immediately. Unlike the original HomeDock, this one has two modes--audio and video--which you toggle with the remote. In audio mode, an easy-to-read onscreen menu guides you through your iPod's music using the same menu structure as the iPod itself. You can even shuffle songs, and if you get tired of the default blue look, there are three other color themes to choose from.