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DLO HomeDock Deluxe (version 1) review: DLO HomeDock Deluxe (version 1)

DLO HomeDock Deluxe (version 1)

Troy Dreier
4 min read

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.


DLO HomeDock Deluxe (version 1)

The Good

The DLO HomeDock Deluxe lets you play your iPod's songs, videos, and photos through your television or your stereo, and its ability to output a music menu to television makes it easy to navigate your songs from across the room. An 18-button IR remote is included.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the DLO HomeDock Deluxe has no onscreen menu for video content, nor does album art display on the television. Also, an input lag makes scrolling through long lists of songs or artists difficult, and the package doesn't include all the cables you might need.

The Bottom Line

The DLO HomeDock Deluxe offers an attractive but pricey way to enjoy your iPod's content in the living room.

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.

The onscreen music-menu navigation is a welcome touch, though the box on the left side would be perfect for displaying album art.

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.

Having navigation you can read from the couch is a welcome change, but a few things about using the DLO HomeDock Deluxe irked us. For instance, when you're scrolling through your iPod's long list of artist names, scrolling speeds up automatically after a few screens to help you get to the x's, y's, and z's. That's great, but because there's a slight lag when using the remote, it's almost impossible to stop at the m's and n's. Take your finger off the scroll button, and the HomeDock won't stop scrolling for another half second, leaving you far past the place in the list you wanted. Also, while we like that the HomeDock Deluxe lets you scrub through a song to get to the part you want, the onscreen progress bar doesn't move until you finish scrubbing, so you're never sure where in the song you actually are until you stop. Another bummer is that the onscreen menus don't show album art in audio mode. The HomeDock Deluxe does, however, include three screensavers to prevent screen burn-in: an all-black screen, one showing song information, and a moving DLO logo.

When you're ready to watch some video, you just press the button on the remote's upper-left corner to toggle to that mode. Because the iPod's firmware doesn't allow video menus to be exported, the DLO HomeDock Deluxe can't put a video menu on your TV screen, as it does in audio mode. Instead, you'll need to use your iPod's tiny screen to select photos or videos. You can still use the remote to make selections, but the screen will be hard or even impossible to read if the dock is far from you. Photos and videos display well, and even iPod-formatted movies look decent on a larger screen; they don't have nearly the crispness of DVD but are close to VCR quality.

Of course, before you display your photos and videos, you'll need to select TV-out in your iPod's photo and video settings. Also, you can't simply view photos one by one; you'll need to launch a slide show. To do so, call up a picture on the iPod, then press the remote's Enter button. Mac users: Note that slide shows created in iPhoto don't appear on the iPod, so you'll want to create photo folders instead. Onscreen photos displayed slightly too dark in our testing but still looked acceptable.

The HomeDock Deluxe works with 4G and 5G iPods, iPod Minis, and iPod Nanos. However, Nanos can't export photos and don't handle video, so Nano and Mini owners may want to consider a cheaper option, such as the Kensington Stereo Dock.

The DLO HomeDock Deluxe comes with a 90-day limited warranty. The company Web site includes helpful FAQs on the product page and a downloadable version of the manual. The manual includes an e-mail address for support, but oddly, we couldn't find it on the Web site. There's no support phone number either.


DLO HomeDock Deluxe (version 1)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8