Kodak HDTV Dock Review
To go along with my Kodak Z812 IS Digital Camera, I took a risk and purchased Kodak’s HDTV Dock. I say took a risk because I had no idea of it’s performance and couldn’t find many reviews of it. But the problem with digital cameras is that we never actually look at the pictures because they’re on our computers. So this seemed to be a way to easily display pictures on our TV at good quality. Here are some of my thoughts
- This is a really neat practical idea. I’ve been surprised by how often we’ve used it already. It makes it easy to view your photos on something other than your computer screen or the small LCD on the back of the camera
- Multiple Inputs – In addition to being able to view images from your camera you can also insert an SD Card and up to two USB sources at the same time. I have a Western Digital 60 GB drive attached to the dock where I can store photos and videos for future viewing.
- Copying Between Devices – You can move files between the camera and other devices that are attached to it.
- Component Video Output – Rather than requiring users to have an open HDMI input on their TV, the dock outputs over a regular component video output. Since there’s nothing copy protected on a digital camera using a analog connection makes perfect sense.
- Output at either 720p/1080i – For those of us with native 1080p TVs, having a 1080i output setting is nice since pictures are one spot where the extra detail can actually be noticed.
Some things I’m not especially fond of:
- The output from the dock isn’t very clean. In 720p mode there is thin green border around the top and right side. In 1080i mode there is a smaller but still noticeable green line on the right edge. Now, all this wouldn’t be a problem if (1) My display didn’t have a 0% overscan mode and a 5% overscan mode (2) If Kodak had accounted for a 5% overscan. It seems that Kodak expected that most displays would have at least 1-2% overscan built-in to it. It’s not a huge issue, because the green line in 1080i mode is really small and barely noticeable and the extra detail makes 1080i mode worth it. But…
- Video doesn’t output at full screen in 1080i mode. If I play a 720p HD video back that I’ve recorded, it doesn’t scale to fill the whole screen.
- File Management is sort of lousy. As you navigate through the different sources the name of the folder is displayed in the lower right hand corner – not on the folder itself. You also can’t manage the files with a given volume – you can copy them between different sources but once they’re there you can’t move them into a different folder or create a new folder. You also can’t rename folders or files
- The Remote – Kodak was going for small, and they were successful. But it’s almost too small to be practical and will be easily lost. I ended up just programming my universal remote and never use it.
- Lack of a Digital or VGA Output – Although I was pleased that Kodak chose to use component for the output, it seems to me that it would have been nice to have a digital (HDMI) or standard VGA output also available. A lot of people on their HDTVs have VGA inputs that remain empty and it seems to me that two output options would have been nice.
Conclusion: Despite my criticisms, I like the HDTV dock is a great first generation product. It probably won’t sell a whole lot, and for people who simply want to look at their pictures and movies on their TVs it’s a fine product. There are a few advanced features I wish it hand but I can’t complain too much.