Strike Out on Video Out

In preparation for an upcoming road trip, I purchased a “video out” cable for my iPad. Best Buy carries two models (video-out for $34.99, or video-out plus charger for $49.99). I wanted the cheaper cable but they were out, so I got stuck buying the $50 one. And I’m already pissed off because video cables should cost $5.

The cable came with no instructions, something I wouldn’t normally complain about except I couldn’t get the thing to work. Ideally, instructions for a video cable should look like this:

01. Attach one end of the video cable to the iPad.
02. Attach the other end of the video cable to something that displays video.
03. Enjoy video!

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The box said “compatible with iPods and iPhones” but doesn’t mention the iPad anywhere. (It shouldn’t matter, because it’s a video cable, but whatever.) To perform basic troubleshooting, I plug the cable into my iPod instead and up pops an error message telling me the cable is unsupported. Or, in laymen’s terms, it’s not Apple brand — which is like forcing me to buy Toshiba Brand RCA Cables to work with my Toshiba DVD player.

I turned to the Internet for answers and found that “video out” doesn’t mean “video out” on iOS devices. “Video out” means “video formats Apple approves of.” For example, you can’t play iPhones games on your television (even with an Apple brand cable!), but you can play videos … as long as they’re in iTunes. But I don’t use iTunes; I use VLC to play DivX files I ripped from DVDs I bought. And that’s not supported.

My whole purpose of buying the cable was to connect it to our van’s entertainment center and use it to play back digital movies. If it can’t do that, I don’t want it. Today, Susan returned the cable to Best Buy and got a refund for me.

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