Playing iPod Video on Your TV

Please note that this entry is about my 5G iPod Video.  Information may not apply to other models like the iPod Classic.

Getting video files to play on your TV from your iPod is actually a lot easier than I imagined it would be. If you have AVI files that you couldn’t be bothered burning to VCD/SVCD or DVD, a much friendlier alternative is to play download them to your iPod. There are two hurdles you’ll have to overcome, but in reality, the process is much more painless than converting the files to MPEG and burning them to a CD or DVD is.

Converting Your Video

Before you put a video on your iPod you will need to convert it to an iPod friendly format. For this I recommend the free program, Videora iPod Converter. This will convert your DivX or Xvid AVI files into an iPod-friendly MPEG-4 file; I recommend the highest bitrate 1500kbps setting.

That’s it; easy! I’ve found that the time taken to convert a video file using Videora is slightly less than the play time of that video. A 2 hour video file should be converted in about 1 hour 25 minutes.

Playing On Your TV

When Apple released their video iPod they released a special AV cable for it that would connect your iPod to the red, yellow and white AV sockets on your TV, allowing you to watch the videos on your iPod on a larger screen. As it turns out, this was a bit of a scam. All they did was take a standard RCA-to-AV lead (commonly used for connecting camcorders to TVs) and send the video over the red cable (which usually carries sound) instead of the yellow one. This means that you can use a standard RCA-to-AV lead if you have one kicking about – just connect the red plug to the yellow socket, yellow plug to the white socket and white plug to the red socket. Scumbags, eh?

Don’t panic if you, like me, don’t own a camcorder and don’t already have an RCA-to-AV lead. You can buy one specially colour-coded for iPods (so red goes to red etc.) off eBay, where I got mine for £3.73 including postage!

Then it’s really simple, just go into your iPod video folder and set the Video Settings to output to TV, connect it up and you’re away.

Author: nerd.

An experienced IT professional, I used to run a number of small websites and spend a lot of time tinkering with my sites or my PC - back when I had free time.

40 thoughts on “Playing iPod Video on Your TV”

  1. I have converted the files to mpeg-4 and have gotten the video and audio to play on my TV. The problem I am having is that the picture is fine on the ipod but very distorted on the TV. Any help in solving this problem is appreciated.

  2. Not sure what you mean by distored exactly. Have you set the correct video mode (NTSC or PAL) in your iPod’s video settings?

  3. I’m having difficulties -I have an ipod classic and the camcorder lead. The sound comes through but there is no picture, this is when tv output is turned off, when it’s switched on the ipod asks for the component lead to be connected.

    Please help?!?!

  4. Despite the name, the iPod classic is a new (at the time of writing) iPod, but functions similarly to the old ones (as distinct from the iPod touch).

    The problem is that it doesn’t handle video out the same. According to this thread at Digital Spy, video output is done through the Apple Universal Dock connector which means the camcorder cable won’t work. The iPod Classic doesn’t send video over the headphone jack.

    If it’s any consoloation, if you do get the proper cable (according to that forum anyway) you should be able to get component out (480p).

  5. Ahh, I thought that might be the case. Most disappointing – proper cable is £35 (those bastards at Apple).


  6. Please help!!!! I have the Ipod 80g classic. I have purchased both the component and composite cables and cannot get either of these to work through the tv. The best that I have acheived so far is sound!! I have changed settings on ipod several times, from NTSC to PAL etc. I don’t know what else to try now…… I have read several reviews stating that you must have an HDTV is this right? My tv only has red white and yellow connections. Do I also need a universal docking station?

  7. Jo, the red/white/yellow leads are the ones you need. The Yellow is composite video (assuming it’s an iPod cable you have rather than a camcorder one).

    You need an HDTV to use component video (3 video cables + 2 sound). HTH.

  8. I have an iPod 80g and am having similar problems to jo159jo. I’ve bought a logic3 cable and all I got was sound. Thinking that it might be the cable, I decided to be a bit cheeky and popped down to a local electrical store (lets say they are out of this world). Managed to try this cable on there TV and got them to try the Apple cable too. But this gave the same – sound no picture. Now not being that clever with all this newfangled stuff, help please!!!!!!!

    I’ll be your best friend!

  9. Ignore me, I’ve solved the problem. I needed to set the video to TV on in the movie settings. Jo give this a go, it worked for me. Go to videos/video settings/tv out and set that to on. You won’t get a picture on your iPod but it works on your tv.

    Oh happy days.

  10. I’ve got the ipod cable… but I get jack shit when I plug mine in… I got one of the new ipod nano’s. I’ve converted the files and all that… I plug the cables in. Tried every cable in every slot… and all it says on the ipod is ” Connect the necessary components ” or something like that.

    Are you sure this AV cable is all I need?

    Thank You.

  11. hello ive got the new 80gb ipod classic and i bought the av cable aswell but every time i pllug it in it jus keeps sayin u need 2 plug in the necessary components and its really startin 2 get 2 me….. plz plz plz can sum1 help me

  12. This guide is for the iPod Video (5G). THIS IS NOT FOR THE IPOD CLASSIC OR IPOD NANO!!

    The Classic and Nano do not output video over the headphone socket.

  13. so i have the new ipod 80g classic and the component AV cable with the extra green, blue, and red wires. how do i connect these to my tv? i dont understand. i dont have green or blue things to plug into. thanx for ur help!!!

  14. As I said, I don’t have a Classic – all I know is they don’t send video on the same way.

    What I can tell you is that if you don’t have Component In (analogue HD) on your TV then a component cable isn’t much use to you!!

  15. Alright I hope this post will help some of the confused readers out there.

    Firstly if you have an ipod classic, ipod touch, iphone or a an ipod nano video, please make sure you have the right cables for them. The above mentionned model have brand new hardware and hence any accessories compatible with a 5.5 video ipod will no longer work with the new (damn apple!!!).

    Secondly look behind your TV. If you see the following inputs RED WHITE YELLOW, you have a COMPOSITE input (RCA) which basically means 1 for video, 2 for audio (left and right). If you have RED GREEN and BLUE at the back plus another RED and WHITE inputs, it means you have a COMPONENT input.
    Also along with these connectors, your ipod TV OUT cable should include a USB for power. Make sure that this is plugged in. (I forget if the composite pack (R-W-Y) has the USB. If it doesn’t disregard this). The current line of ipods & iphones require additional power.

    On your TV make sure that you watching the correct input. What I mean by this is check your TV’s source list. Depending on what cable you have make sure you are watching that particular one (i.e. if you have connected with the component cable, make sure you are watching the component channel on your TV)

    Once connected, on your ipod go to videos>video settings>TV OUT and enable it (ON). Select the correct phase setting (PAL if you are in Europe or most of Asia, NTSC for the US and Japan).
    Don’t worry about the other settings, as they don’t matter at this stage.

    Next select your video and press play. The video should now appear on your TV and your ipod should display a freeze frame image similar to the coverview when you play music.

    Brightness and the actual time position can be now adjusted from your ipod.

    I hope this helps out a few of you.


  16. I have an ipod touch, and am only getting audio when connecting to my tv thru the vcr. I have a 3 ended cable (red white and yellow) I’ve tried putting the colors all sorts of ways and get nothing but audio. When I go into video settings, I dont have a tv out option. The words are there, but they’re not clickable. Any chance anyone can tell me what I’m doing wrong?

    Thanks in advance for your time!

  17. I have a 5G iPod video. I bought one of those cables (with the RED, WHITE, and YELLOW connectors). I plugged it into the headphone jack of my iPod, matched the colors as you instructed (RED–>YELLOW, YELLOW–>WHITE, WHITE–>RED), and made sure that my iPod was set to all the correct settings (TV Out: On ; NTSC; etc.).

    The audio works perfectly. But, for some reason, no matter what I do, I’m only getting audio; no video signal whatsoever. If I fiddle around with the part that’s plugged into the headphone jack, I get some squiggly video (with really obnoxiously loud feedback on the audio), but that’s about the closest I’ve ever come to getting the video to work.

    Any suggestions?

  18. Hi there I am having problems with my 80gb classic too, I have sound and picture through the tv bu the picture is a split screen double up? can anyone shed some light on why that would be happening?

  19. This site has been very helpful. But, still cannot get video to display on the TV from my iPod.
    The posting above by Tony on February 24th makes sense to me and is a great post.

    I have 160Gb iPod Classic, Apple Component AV Cable (3 for video – red, blue, green) (2 for audio – red, white).
    Trying to connect to a TV that has the Component inputs. Plug all 5 connectors in, set the iPod to TV OUT ON and cross my fingers. All I get is the audio, no picture coming through. Get lines of color and that is about it.

    This TV is not an HDTV. If you have the component inputs on the TV but it is not an HDTV, will I be able to display video using my iPod or is an HDTV required? The other thing Tony mentioned is that you should have your iPod USB plugged in for power. I did not do this but my iPod had plenty of power and I had no issue with my iPod displaying.

    Any help would be very much appreciated.

    I have spent hours and hours on this. I am a Technology Teacher and we are trying to incorporate the students using iPods in the classroom, so this would be extremely helpful, but nothing has worked. I had 5 people working on it today and NOTHING!!!!

    Thanks for any help.

  20. i bought a portable tv with an ipod dock. i dock my ipod classic. i did what the instruction say but still there is no video
    transfering to my portable tv screen. what im gonna do.

  21. Thanks for the tip.
    I am dismayed at Apple’s tactics. £30 quid for a cable is extortion. To play a trick like that does nothing for customer relations. Anyway, I had a standard AV cable and now have video from my Ipod on my tv. Its good to get one over them!
    Spread the word!!

  22. Thank you, Steve Ferson ! I have a very inexpensive RCA dual-screen DVD player with velcro straps for the for the back of the front seat headrests in our car. I purchased it so that my daughters could watch DVDs on long trips. It never worked very well and we stopped using it – screen froze or wouldn’t boot up, just not a very good product in our experience. The girls started using my Classic iPod to watch videos in the car that I downloaded for them but that tends not to work when they are craining their heads to see the little screen. I wanted to send the ipod signal to the screens of our otherwise un-useable RCA DVD player but it looked like we had to spend a lot of money to do that, either buying the Apple component A/V Cable you discuss in your post or something a little less expensive, or so I thought. When I read your post I went and tried it and, wow, you sure are right, they did send the video over the red wire. Yeesh! So, again, Steve, THANK YOU!

  23. i have an i pod classic80g with the required cables red hyellow ahd white i have set pod to tv out and conected still no joy what do i do help

  24. So I seem to have the same problem as most of these posts. I have an 80GB iPod Video and I bought a TV AV RCA CABLE CORD on eBay to connect it to my tv.
    I’ve tried switching the jacks and putting the red into yellow and yellow into white, I’ve made sure the TV Out is on and still, all I can get is sound to show up.
    Am I doing something wrong or do I need a different cable?

  25. Apparently, Apple’s new Ipod Video classic and nano versions have a new hardware for the video output. In the previous ipod videos, you can use the RCA-to-AV cables because the video connection is found in the audio jack of the ipods. The newer ipods (Ipod classic, nano) have a new built. The video connection needed for the TV output is now found in the connecting port. There is no CHIP. I repeat, there is no special CHIP in the new ipod classic. The tv connection has just been moved from the audio jack to the connecting port.

  26. It’s good to know that others are having probs. I have just bought an apple av conector at £30 (rip off) but am too stupid to figure out how the blue, red and green relate to the red, white and yellow on my tv. Can anyone help please?

  27. you can buy apple composite or component video cables, youve bought the component when you actually needed the composite cable.

  28. I have had the same issue as everyone else on this board… no picture only sound when using my 5G ipod to play movies/video on my TV… All i can say is that for me… the answer was CABLE CABLE CABLE… I used the ipod cable and had no luck even tried the r->y etc. nothing… finally i went and grabbed me A/V cable that came with my digital video camera and WHAT DO YOU KNOW!!! It works!no switching r->y and all that fuss either… Apple made the ipod very cat like.. finicky! Good luck all.

  29. I have a Ipod classic and have just bought some apple component cables to connect to the TV. The problem I am having is a vertical split screen on the TV. How do I get full screen on the TV.

  30. I just got an iPod Nano (the new one that shoots video). I have successfully configured my home entertainment system to play my iPod’s video on the TV but I still have a problem. I would like the iPod menu to display on the TV. Right now the only thing from the iPod that will show up on my TV is iPod videos. Does anyone know how to see the iPod menu on the TV?

  31. I recently purchased an “Ipod to TV cable” and tried playing my Ipod nano videos on my seven year old Phillips TV set. I had it connected so that the yellow, white and red ipod cable ends were plugged in at the side of the TV to matching coloured jacks. ie. yellow to yellow, red to red, white to white – Using the AV button on my combination DVD/VHS player’s remote control, I got good quality sound on both AV1 and AV2 – but there was no picture! So I tried combining differing colours of cable ends and jacks but all to no avail. So I disconnected the cables and decided to try something else in order to get a playing picture.

    Eventually, I plugged the yellow end of the Ipod’s cable into the yellow jack marked “video 2” on my combination DVD/VHS player. An excellent quality picture played on the TV then, but there was no sound. I tried connecting the other two Ipod cable ends to neighbouring red and white jacks on the “combo” but no sound would come through. So I went back to the side of the TV set and plugged the white ended Ipod cable into the white jack and then I had excellent quality sound coming through, too.

    The above mentioned “combo” DVD/VHS player is connected up but the DVD side of it hasn’t worked for about four years. So, I also have a later model DVD player connected.

  32. I have connected my Ipod 160gb classic to my TV. It starts playing the movie then it loses the signal. Any thoughts on this dilemna?

  33. I have a iPod touch 32gb and my dad baught me a cheap iPod av cable n when plug it into my tv if it’s any use 42 inch LG plasma n when I play it’s says this accsesory in not conpatable for this iPod anway to fix ????????

  34. Im havin trouble with this ive plugged in the av lead into the tv and the ipod but the video is not comin on the tv its an ipod touch and have tried it with 2 iphone 4s and it works fine

  35. Guys please read the first line!!!

    “Please note that this entry is about my 5G iPod Video. Information may not apply to other models like the iPod Classic.”

  36. I have got the cable that connects I-phone to TV and I have watched many films etc since buying it (Even though the picture quality is NOT good!!) But I tried to watch a programme from BBC i player and it’s sound only!?? It’s always worked before and it still works when I play videos that are stored in my videos file!!? Please Help!!????

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