Sound quality is fine. We regularly play my 30GB iPod with Video through our LG home cinema system via a good quality minijack-to-RCA cable and we noticed no drop in audio quality when playing back through the DLO dock. When setting the dock up, it's worth noting that the minijack needs a firm push to go all the way home into the dock unit. One first attempt, we thought the jack was in but were greeted by a world of feedback. An extra shove fixed that.
DLO's HomeDock Music Remote: also has USB, for syncing
So far so good, but it 's the music selection system that proves to be the DLO's Achilles' Heel. The main menu allows access to Playlists and Artists but not Albums. Select an artist and you get all their tracks listed as they are ordered in iTunes but with no indication of the album they are from let alone an option to chose a specific album for playback.
Now, I have over 29GB of music on my iPod - 617 albums from 310 artists - including, for the sake of this example, 15 Bruce Springsteen albums. If I want to listen to Born in the USA, no problem - those are the first 12 tracks listed. Born To Run? Easy, just scroll down to track 13 and of we go. The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle, though? That involves scrolling down through all the Springsteen tracks on my iPod until I get to that album's first track. Not a lot of fun to be had doing that.
If you can't recall the running order of a particular artist's albums then trying to work out were one album stops and another starts becomes guess work. That's rock and pop - navigating around a classical music collection on the HomeDock is a nightmare.
DLO's HomeDock Music Remote: nice screens, but where are the other iPod search categories?
I don't know about VBR, as I don't use it, but iPods can play MP3s at up to 320 kbps. So I'm not sure exactly what you're complaining about. The ability to play a lossless format like FLAC would be nice, I suppose, but probably impractical for a portable device due to disk space issues.
I got the idea from the fact that the article totes the wonders of connecting an iPod to a home theatre. It's like saying "military intelligence", ya know? Hooking up a cheap mp3 player with expensive, shoddy recordings does not give a good experience. It's mediocrity at best. I know most Americans are quite comfortable with low standards, but I'm not.
"pretending that they can actually hear and appreciate sounds outside of the hearing range of most normal people."
Not that, I am alluding to the quality of the sounds. Audiophiles other than those you mention can easily tell the difference between 128/192k and 320kvbr. The difference is pretty blatant. The ambiance of the song, the tightness (and existence) of the bass, the clarity of the high end are so very obviously distorted at the lower bitrates. Sure, with iPod's puny headphones it doesn't matter, but since (I'm assuming) most people who use iTunes buy that music to also listen on their home system or car stereo as well, the utter lack of quality of 128/192k is horrendous. Especially for the price charged! (If one buys garbage like 50cent, they don't know what music is in the first place, so I guess they are excluded)
I have 5000 songs @ 320vbr and I'm still under 30G. I can fit my entire collection of Floyd on one CD for my car. (taking out some of the songs I don't like anyway.) Making mixed cd's gives me enough music to go on a 3 hour road trip on one disk. (Can't wait for in-car DVD mp3 players that don't have the 7" LCD) I'm very particular of the music I own though, I don't rampage p2p and just download everything in sight and then say I have a great collection. Besides the fact that most of the music is utter shit, it's at (you guessed it) 128k! What a waste.
You say iTunes has that feature 'built-in' since one of their most recent versions? Wierd, it's been a 'feature' of every software music player on the market for about, oh, I'd say the last 7 years. Is this another one of Apple's "innovations"? You can't buy songs at that bitrate, can you? I forget if the iPod itself can even play that bitrate with vbr...non-drm infected. If I remember, the first few versions of the iPod could not. Or should I say, would not. Deliberately.
I just noticed that I misconstrued my original post quite a bit. I have a habit of mangling my thoughts into incoherency around lunchtime :)