Dock problems


Shortly after I got my iPod last August, I bought a docking station from DLO, on recommendation from a guy at work who has one, and loves it. The dock connects to my receiver and TV, and allows me to play music from the iPod through the receiver, and watch video from the iPod on the TV. Since all my music is on the iPod and the physical CDs have been put away, I use this to listen to music at home. It looks nice, has a remote, a nice on-screen menu, and the audio and video quality is very good (I’m using standard RCA connectors for audio and S-Video for video). I also found it very convenient to download some TV shows, convert them to iPod format, then watch them on TV rather than on the iPod screen. That is, I did, until it stopped working.

A new iPod software version was released by Apple and I updated the iPod, and suddenly the dock stopped allowing me to choose TV shows. (At least, I think that’s when it stopped working.) It lists the different shows in one menu, and when you select a show, it lists which episodes of that show you have. Except now, no matter which show I choose (Battlestar Galactica, ST:TNG, Family Guy, or whatever else), it always shows me the episodes for Battlestar Galactica. I can’t watch anything else. I found that a new version of the firmware was available, so I downloaded the new firmware, connected the dock to the laptop via USB, then ran an installation program on the laptop which was supposed to upgrade the dock. Except that it didn’t. I kept getting a checksum error when trying to do the install. I emailed DLO support, and after 10 days of waiting (and one “I haven’t heard from you. Is there any progress on this issue?” email from me), I received the following message. Other than the huge footer of the email (complete with the tech support person’s name in a fancy font, the company’s address, phone numbers, logo, hours of operation and a couple of links), this is the complete text of the email:

Please check our support website periodically for the drivers to update your HomeDock. It may correct your concern.

I responded saying that this was unacceptable. Since my first email to them was within the warranty period, I sent the dock back to them (at my own expense) and asked them to send me a new one with the latest firmware installed. Surprisingly, a new dock was mailed to me just four days later, and I received it four days after that. I expected it to take numerous weeks, so that was good. The new dock did not have the latest firmware installed, but I found that an even newer version of the firmware was now available on the website (the dock came with version 2.0.1, I was unable to upgrade to 2.0.2, but now 2.1.2 was available). I downloaded that and was successfully able to upgrade the dock to that version. However, the TV show problem is still there.

I emailed them again, and after another four day delay, they asked what type of iPod I had and what the software version was. I responded right away, and at 6:30 this evening (three days after my last email) got another response, simply asking what generation my iPod is. I’m willing to give them whatever information they need to solve the problem, but if it takes them four days to ask each question, this is going to take forever.

So far, I can’t say I’m all that impressed with the tech support offered by DLO. Whenever I send an email, it takes them 3 or 4 days to respond. The first thing they told me was “wait for a new upgrade, and maybe it will fix the problem”, which didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. It sounded like they simply had no idea what the problem was and didn’t want to be bothered looking into it. They were fairly quick in getting a new dock out to me when I returned mine, though they just grabbed one from the shelf and fired it off, they did not send me an upgraded one like I asked them to. I first reported the problem to them on December 7; it’s now January 28 and I’m no closer to having the problem solved. Well, I guess that’s not true; since I’m using a different dock, I can safely assume that it’s not a hardware problem, it’s probably a firmware problem. Maybe an incompatibility with the iPod firmware, but it’s the latest firmware — shouldn’t they have tested that?

I will update this entry as progress occurs, but at some point I’m just going to have to send the thing back, ask for a refund, and move on. That’s too bad, since this is the nicest dock I’ve seen, and when it worked, I was really happy with it.

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