sneakPEEK HD review
One of the features of the iOS 4.2 update (developed further in iOS 4.3) is AirPlay, Apple's wireless technology that lets you stream content from your iPhone, iPad or your iPod touch to a HDTV via an Apple TV. This is by no means the only way to get content onto your TV. You could hook up an HDMI cable between your Mac and TV, or, you can plug Scosche's sneakPEEK HD into your iOS device. While the Apple TV route leaves you able to continue using your iPhone, or Mac, while the video is channelled through the TV, it costs £99. A cable will cost considerably less, and would take a lot less space in your bag if you wanted to take it with you travelling, or to a friend's house.
The Scosche sneakPEEK costs £39.99 and lets you connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to any television with RGB component inputs, which is most TVs. (The Apple TV requires an HDMI ready TV).
The sneakPEEK only plays video, so don't expect to be able to hook it up and play an iOS Game. Nor can you use it to play back photographs, although you can play video taken with the iPhone camera. The connector enables you to play video and audio from the iPod app as well as from YouTube and iPlayer straight on your TV. When it is playing video you can't move to another app, doing so shuts down the connection.
Connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to any television with RGB component inputs
We frequently watch movies on an iPhone when travelling, so it's great to be able to plug the iPhone into the TV set once home to watch the ending on a bigger screen. However, under any other circumstances we would recommend plugging your Mac into the TV and watching the video that way, as the quality suffers coming from the iPhone. The same is true of YouTube videos and BBC iPlayer, which were both poor and pixelated compared to what we are used to seeing on our laptop screen. iTunes, YouTube and iPlayer sources play video and audio through the TV, we also tried playing video through the SkyNews app on our iPhone, interestingly the audio played through the TV, but the video stayed on the iPhone. We also found that it would play music tracks through the TV but nothing would appear on the TV screen.
We were quite disappointed given that this is the HD version of the cable and seems to struggle with the quality of video played. We played some HD video from the iTunes Store and this was better than SD video, but still poor compared to what we get when we hook our Mac up to our TV screen.
This is a relatively low-cost way to hook up your iOS device to a bigger screen, although you will experience some loss of quality when you do so. Given that, it's still a great solution if you are travelling and want to hook your iPhone or iPad up to a TV, perhaps in a hotel room or at a friend's house.