I have reviewed several different iPod docking stations that allow you to connect your 4G or 5G iPod to your TV or stereo. These docks typically ship with a small remote so that you can adjust volume and move forwards and backwards through tracks and content while you are sitting on your couch. I’ve almost always run into the problem where I would like to navigate to a specific song and to do so, it requires me to get up and walk over to the iPod so that I can see the display / menus. Thanks to the folks at Keyspan, that will no longer be necessary.
The TuneView for iPod, gives you a docking station and a 2.5Ghz RF remote with a built in CSTN 1.4″ (diagonal) color display that mirrors the display of your iPod.
3 dock adapters
AC (USB) power adapter
3.5mm > RCA cable for audio
Quick start guide
2 AA batteries
The docking station is 4 x 3.25 x 75 inches and has a status Green LED on the front.
On the back of the dock you will find the various connection points. There is a 3.5mm stereo line out jack, S-Video connector and a mini USB connector. Included with the TuneView is a line out stereo Y connector. No S-Video cable is included. I find it odd that all the products that I review with S-Video connectors, never include an S-Video cable. Weird!
The remote is small and is powered by 2 AA batteries which are included.
The buttons are arranged in a circular pattern. There’s a cross shaped button that allows you to scroll up and down through lists / menus and also move back and forwards through content. A round button in the center acts as a select button. Then there are 4 buttons arranged in the corners of the cross. These buttons are mapped to Play/Pause, Menu and +/- volume. Another button is located near the base of the remote. This is the Wizard button that will display a contextual menu based on the current action. For example, during song browsing, this button will allow you to jump to the beginning, middle or end of a list.
The remote has a range of 150 ft. in open air, but typically the range is around 75 ft in a building even through 2-3 walls. I was able to control playback of my iPod located in the basement from upstairs at the other end of my house.
The main feature of the TuneView is its color display that has the look and feel of an actual iPod display.
Here are some screen shots that I snapped of the TuneView remote in action. These menus look really familiar don’t they? Just like the iPod, you can choose to play your content by Playlist, Artist, Album, Genre etc.
Navigating the artist, album, song hierarchy is very familiar and easy. There was no learning curve involved.
While a song is playing, the screen displays the song title, artist and album title along with the song length. Pressing the Wizard button displays different menus depending on the current action.
The TuneView has an advantage in that both the dock and remote are firmware upgradeable either via Windows or Mac computers. Just download the latest firmware, plug the dock into your computer via USB and press one button to update. Unplug and re-plug the USB cable into the handheld remote and do the same action. Easy and fast updating.
To test the TuneView, I connected it to my AudioEngine 5 speaker system. It should be noted that you have to connect the dock to power. The included AC / USB adapter does a great job though and can even be used to charge other USB devices if need be.
After you place your iPod in the dock and press a button on the remote, the connection between the two will be made and a special screen will appear on the iPod’s display. You can see the screen in the image above. That screen will continue to show while the iPod is in the dock. You won’t see the iPod screen following along with the buttons on the remote.
The audio quality using this dock was just fine. No complaints at all in that department. One small annoyance I immediately noticed is that the TuneView remote emits a high pitched whine whenever the built in LCD display is active. And actually, the remote even emits a very low noise when it’s not being used. You can only hear it if you hold it up to your ear, but it continues even after minutes and hours of no activity. Not sure what is causing the noise, but it sounds like a tiny motor whirling away.
My next test was to hook the TuneView dock up to my TV. This is accomplished using a S-Video cable (glad I have an extra) and the included 3.5mm to RCA jack audio Y cable. Playing videos on the iPod through my TV and not needing to get up from my Lazy-Boy to make selections is a great convenience! I didn’t find the video quality to be what I would call stellar using this product, but just being able to watch a show or video podcast on my 65in TV as opposed to the iPod’s itty bitty display is worth the somewhat fuzzy picture at times ;o)
My biggest gripe with the Keyspan TuneView has to be the fact that you can NOT play music through your TV. Music will only play through a stereo. Some other iPod docks that I have reviewed have had this same issue, but I still find it to be really annoying and I frankly just don’t understand why this is the case… I mean, the audio from videos plays just fine through the TV connection, so why can’t your music library do the same thing? It’s a mystery to me and with a price tag of $179.00, I think it’s a mistake not to include this feature.
I really like the convenience and ease of use of the TuneView, but for the price, I do wish it included the ability to play music through the TV… and if the remote didn’t whine when the LCD was active, I’d love it even more.