While we wouldn’t normally review an iPod docking station for Your-Digital-Life, the new Altec Lansing OCTIV 650 goes way beyond the typical dock speaker systems you may be used to seeing.
For one, the OCTIV 650 is designed to easily become a part of any room’s décor, with very discreet lines, slightly curved, flat front panel and a unique wedge shape that takes up very little space and seems to fit almost unnoticed anywhere you choose to place it. The all black or slate grey colors are easy on the eyes as well.
While that design versatility is nice, the reason we’re interested in the 650 is due to its ability to play full screen video from iPhones and iPods on your TV screen.
The OCTIV 650 includes a video output port that is actually a dual-function RCA jack that can output both composite and component video (both at standard definition). The fact you’ll need to provide your own cables is a bit of a bummer, but the interface is extremely easy to use.
At the bottom/middle of the front panel an arm extends out from the dock just far enough for docked iPods and iPhones to rest against a small rubberized back support that extends from the front panel. Once your flat panel remote is set on HDMI II the 650’s easy to master remote takes you the rest of the way.
Watching the video from your iPod via the connected dock on your television is a kick but you’ll have to deal with the fact it’s in standard def. However, the set-up is a snap and you can scroll through images on the TV screen as well. We’ll add that the 650 is a bit too heavy (7 lbs) and bulky to consider traveling with so this one is more likely to be set up as part of a home entertainment system and left as such.
The device Measures approximately 7.7 x 12.5 x 5.2-inches (HWD) and the front face of the dock is covered in a black cloth as the speaker grille. Regarding the sound quality part of the equation (it is a speaker dock after all), behind the cloth there are two 3-inch full-range speaker drivers. Sound quality is solid but at full volume there is that bit of distortion inherent in most docks in this price range ($199).
One last thing on the video front, Altec Lansing has included a free app dubbed Music Mood for the 650 that lets you customize your speaker output using a 7-band graphic EQ, as well as show some interesting mood visuals on your TV such as Fireplace, MountainClouds, RiverStream and SunsetWaves. Each is accompanied by soothing sounds to match, but you can also listen to your own music while watching the videos. A nice little extra.
A footnote – you can use this dock with older iPod models but it is best suited for the touchscreen and apps-based iPod Touch and iPhone models. At $199 the OCTIV 650 is a solid buy simply as a speaker dock but the ability to quickly and easily play the video you’re capturing on your iPods and iPhones raises this one up a notch.