Setting up the device is incredibly easy. It took me approximately one minute to hook it up to my television’s front A/V input jacks with the included cables. The DLO Home Dock Deluxe has both S-Video and composite video output. I docked an iPod into the DLO and powered it up. I tested the DLO with two different iPods, my 5G iPod and my wife’s 5.5G iPod. Both iPods have cases (with dock connector openings), but neither case had to be removed in order to dock in the DLO.
I immediately went to the settings option to find if the DLO could output to a widescreen television because DLO promotional material shows the product working on a widescreen television. Unfortunately, the DLO only outputs a 4:3 signal. If you want the DLO to fill a widescreen, then you must fiddle with your television’s aspect ratio option. The on-screen menu system looked to be low resolution image files being stretched out. This did not affect the usage however, because the main point of the DLO Home Dock Deluxe is to get your iPod’s content on your television.
Using the device
The DLO’s on-screen menu system allows you to access your audio and video from your iPod. The included remote looks sleek. However, I found I had to press the remote control buttons numerous times before the DLO would react. Now, I am not sure if the dock is sluggish or if the remote’s IR signal is weak, but either way — there was a bit of a delay.
Video output quality was highly dependent on the quality of the file. I took a look at a video podcast (I’m biased, so I chose my own — available at KillingTime.TV). I was happy to find out that video podcasts can look as good as standard definition television. Once again, it all depends on the quality of the file you download or encode. If you have a video file such as a movie that has been encoded at a high bit rate, the video will look great on the DLO. If you have any letterboxed video and a widescreen television, be prepared for a giant black box formed around your video by pillar bars and letterboxing since the DLO does not output a widescreen signal. Additionally, there is no on-screen volume control when video is playing. Video playback was smooth and jitter-free.
The audio quality is as good as your files and your sound system. I tried out a couple of AAC and mp3 files, and they sounded like AAC or mp3 files. If you don’t want to watch a “Now Playing” screen, there are several screensavers built in. However, these screensavers look like they were created on a Commodore 64.
The DLO Home Dock Deluxe’s job is to get content from an iPod to your television. It is very simple to hook up and to use. Additionally, you have the option of using multiple iPods with the device. The device has a nice sleek design and could easily be placed in an entertainment center since it has such a small footprint.
On the downside, the on-screen graphics and screensavers seem crude when compared to something like an Apple TV, Front Row, or Media Center. The remote control seems a bit sluggish, and there is no widescreen television support.
Overall, the DLO Home Dock Deluxe is a very good product that works as advertised — it gets iPod content to your television simply and easily. It costs $149.99.