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Griffin touts 'most advanced' iPod dock yet

Turns portable player into home media centre

Griffin Technology will soon ship a dock that converts any compatible iPod into a home media centre system.

TuneCenter connects the iPod to a hi-fi and to a TV. Nothing new there - plenty of dock products do that already - but Griffin's baby beams a full iPod control interface into the bigger screen. The dock also incorporates an Internet radio receiver - you need a WLAN adaptor connected to your broadband modem, of course, or a wire running between the two devices - allowing you to stream and play music without a PC or Mac.

Griffin's UI won't be unfamiliar to anyone who's used Windows XP Media Center Edition, but it allows you to control the iPod from the sofa. Again, other docks have shipped with matching remote controls, but TuneCenter finally allows users to see what they're selecting without having to squint at the iPod's own display.

Alas, there's no video input to allow a feed from a set-top box or similar to be recorded on the iPod, so TuneCenter doesn't replicate all the functionality offered by Media Center PCs, but as a playback device it's all there.

The product is compatible with any iPod in possession of a dock connector, though only fifth-generation models will provide video playback on the TV, and only later iPod models support photo slideshows.

The dock itself sports a slower, 802.11b Wi-Fi link - 802.11g would be faster and more up-to-date, Griffin - and a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port. It's got S-video and composite video ports, plus a pair of RCA stereo hi-fi connectors. It can transmit images in NTSC or PAL.

Griffin said it expects to ship TuneCenter in March for $100. ®

Griffin TuneCenter iPod dock

Griffin TuneCenter iPod dock

Griffin TuneCenter iPod dock

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