The DLO HomeDock HD ($250) connects your iPod to your television, allowing you to experience music, movies, and photos from the comfort of your couch. DLO has been releasing and refining its line of iPod HomeDocks for over four years, and now stands as one of the few manufacturers of video-capable iPod docks.
The wide, low-profile design of the DLO HomeDock HD looks right at home next to the matte black components in most home entertainment centers. The front of the unit is bare, save for a logo and a small plastic window covering the RF remote control sensor. The top of the DLO HomeDock HD includes a universal iPod dock, compatible with nearly every bottom-docking model of iPod (excluding the iPhone).
The back of the DLO HomeDock HD conceals all of the HomeDock's connections, including S-Video and composite video output, HDMI output, stereo RCA audio output, digital audio output (optical), aux audio input, a power adapter jack, and a USB port used for firmware updates.
The design details on the HomeDock HD are more than skin deep. One of the hallmarks of the DLO HomeDock series has been the custom-made onscreen interface that users see while navigating and selecting media. DLO's graphic-design team clearly spent some time polishing the HomeDock's menu system--from the elegant, icon-based main menu screen, to the cover flow-inspired music jukebox--the whole interface is a pleasure to see on your TV screen. The graphics don't quite have that special Apple polish, however, which becomes evident when you examine the menu screen side by side with the similarly priced Apple TV.
Also included with the DLO HomeDock HD are a power adapter, composite AV cable, and a remote control. Measuring 4 inches long and 1.75 inch wide, the relatively large RF remote control included with the HomeDock HD is one of the system's few advantages over the Apple TV, which comes bundled with an anemic, little, gum-stick IR remote. The HomeDock's use of RF technology gives the remote control a luxurious range of around 75 feet, compared to Apple TV's 30 foot range.
The DLO HomeDock HD lets you play your iPod's music, videos, and photos on your television or home theater system. The HomeDock HD is not supported by the iPhone, but it is compatible with the majority of iPods, including the iPod Touch, iPod Classic, and iPod Nano. Video docks for the iPod have become increasingly rare over the years, due to Apple's tightened restrictions on the iPod's video output capabilities and the appearance of Apple TV in 2007.
Many features are shared between the HomeDock and Apple TV, including the kinds of media that can be played (music, videos, photos), the type of hardware connectivity offered, and television resolution support, but the Apple TV has the advantages of built-in hard drive storage, and both wired and wireless Internet-streaming capabilities.
The HomeDock HD offers some advantages over Apple TV, such as its ability to charge your iPod, an increased remote control range, and support for the S-Video and composite video connections used on standard-definition televisions. Unfortunately, these features aren't enough for us to recommend HomeDock HD over the Apple TV in most circumstances.