If you're using the HomeDock with a smaller capacity iPod or listen mainly to your playlists then this is perhaps not such an issue. If, however, you have a larger capacity iPod and want to play your music collection album by album then the DLO's menu structure is a major handicap. Adding an album selection function to the menu would surely not have had much impact on the cost of manufacture but would have revolutionised the HomeDock's ease of use.
DLO's HomeDock Music Remote: all dockable iPods catered for
Frankly, it isn't easy to see why the remote had to be made quite so small either as the base station could easily accommodate a larger unit with a screen a little closer in size to that on an iPod, even if only a Nano.
Our HomeDock wasn't without the odd glitch, either. The remote seems to have problems with umlauts, grave accents and the like. I now seem to have Beethoven's 9th conducted by a "G nther Wand"; an album by K that used to be by Ké a few song titles with 'it's' in them show up as 'it s'; and every so often there's a rather annoying pause when the remote is asked to move from 'artist' to that artist's tracks, often followed by the Out of Range alert. This a clearly a data handling issue rather than a problem with the remote's transmitter, which otherwise performs faultlessly no matter what range it's used over. Well, within reason...
DLO's HomeDock Music Remote: plenty in the box
Moving back to the previous menu screen solves this problem, but it's an annoyance all the same. You do rather get the impression that either trying to handle 30 odd gigabytes of data is pushing the DLO's operating system just a little too close to its limits or the firmware needs a whisper more development work.
So close yet so far. Easy to set up and use, the HomeDock with Music Remote offers good sound quality, decent value at $130 - the UK release date and price has yet to be announced - and a not half-bad user interface, the odd glitch and small-sized remote notwithstanding. But that lack of access to your iPod's album list is a big drawback for anyone with a decent-sized album-based music collection.
DLO HomeDock Music Remote
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 :)