Making the most
of your iPod
LCD vs. plasma
Where you use the TV, how large it is and how
A: Apple’s megapopular iPod players are a wonder- much you want to spend play key roles in your deci-ful product for music lovers on the go. Apple, along sion. LCD televisions offer a greater choice in screen
with other companies, has created incredibly cool size, from 13 inches to 45 inches, consume less
accessories to complement the iPod. In fact, more energy than plasma TVs and they’re lighter than
than 2,000 add-ons have been designed for the pop- plasma. LCD TVs also don’t suffer from phosphor Marc Saltzman, a lead-
ular player. “burn-in,” a potential issue with plasma caused by ing high-tech reporter,
One of my favorites is an FM transmitter/ static images left on the screen too long, particularly contributes to more than
charger kit that enables you to listen to your iPod’s during the first 100 hours or so of use. three dozen prominent
songs, podcasts or audio books in your car—with- But many TV experts believe plasma televisions publications, appears on
out risking your safety by wearing headsets. A dock offer better contrast (deeper blacks) and color accu-for the iPod attaches to your car’s cigarette lighter, racy than LCD models. They also believe the danger radio and TV, and is the
which provides power and recharges the iPod. A of burn-in can easily be avoided with a few com- author of
clever FM transmitter in the dock wirelessly beams mon-sense steps, such as not constantly leaving one
the audio to your car’s FM radio. image on the screen for extended periods of time.
Q: I just bought a new iPod. How do I take technologies. At the risk of getting into the techni-
care of it to make sure it lasts, and what are cal nitty-gritty, the following are a few facts to help
some of the cool accessories I can add? make your decision an easier one.
Questions about electronics
or computers you purchased
at Costco? Send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
Or fax to (425) 313-6718,
or e-mail to
in the subject line.
Marc will answer
selected questions in this
column. We regret that
cannot be answered
Another area where iPod accessories shine is Plasma is limited to larger sizes, and is particularly
speaker systems. You can plug your iPod into a vari- popular in 42- and 50-inch sizes.
ety of systems, such as a bedside clock radio, a Some older LCD TVs did not handle motion
boombox for music on the go or a high-end home (such as sporting events and video games) as well as
system, complete with subwoofer and 200 watts of plasma, resulting in “ghosting” or “trails” following
power. The docks in these systems usually double as fast-moving objects. But newer LCD televisions with
iPod chargers. good refresh rates, such as 8 milliseconds or less (the
But the hottest iPod developments deal with lower the number, the better) resolve this issue.
video. The latest generation of iPods can display One last factor is glare. If you have a room with
video clips—movies, TV shows, video podcasts and a lot of light that can’t be controlled, be aware that
even your own home video, if converted into the LCDs seem to minimize the effects of glare better
right format. These video clips can be obtained than plasma.
through i Tunes, Apple’s media Web site. And with a While LCD and plasma televisions are popular,
simple cable, you can display these video clips on a you shouldn’t rule out “micro-display” rear-projec-TV or monitor. tion televisions, as they can also make for terrific
In terms of taking care of your iPod, some sim- high-definition viewing and offer more screen size
ple steps can help out. You can save battery power by for your money.
using the back-light and shuffle functions sparingly. If your room can accommodate the larger “
foot-And for protection, cases are on the market that can print” (they’re between 15 and 20 inches deep), rear-shield your iPod in case it’s dropped (it’ll happen, projection televisions are more affordable than
trust me). flat-panel TVs, and they’re available in larger viewing
Also, I recommend that you shouldn’t be too sizes, such as 55, 60, 65 or 70 inches. Using technolo-extremely active with the hard-drive-based iPods. gies such as DLP™ (digital light processing) and
But the flash-memory-based players (iPod nano or rear-projection LCD, the newer-generation LCOS
iPod shuffle) have no moving parts, which makes (liquid crystal on silicon) micro-display screens are
them ideal for a workout. popular alternatives to flat-panel TVs.
Last, iPods are prone to scratching, so you might One traditional criticism of micro-display TVs is
consider cleaning kits that can help restore them. that in some models lamps have a limited
life span, estimated at 5,000 to 6,000 hours.
Q: I’m looking at flat-screen TVs and choos- However, this isn’t a major issue. The The Costco Connection
ing between liquid crystal display (LCD) and lamps are easy to replace, with a cost of Costco offers iPods and a variety of
plasma models. What’s the difference? between $150 and $300 (depending on accessories, as well as a full selection of
manufacturer), and after you do so the TV flat-panel TVs, in the warehouses and