The world's not exactly short of iPod docks, and you might have thought high-end AV specialist Meridian would leave the competitive portable dock market to others. But in an attempt to broaden its appeal, the company has just unveiled the $390 iRIS.
Of course, this being Meridian, there's an interesting technical twist involved. This is no ordinary iDock. Oh no. It upscales low-res video from iTunes and other sources to 1080p, using advanced Qdeo processing from Marvell Semiconductors, and feeds the video signal to your screen via HDMI or analogue component connections.
Meridian claims the iRIS "dramatically improves iPod video content by removing jaggies and feathering", bypassing the iPod's internal video processing altogether.
There's also DSP-based resolution enhancement for audio, and even adjustable time delay to compensate for lip-sync problems. The iRIS is compatible with all docking iPods, including the iPhone and new iTouch models.
Now it would be an exaggeration to say that the iRIS turns low-res video into true high-def, but having seen the system in action on a 26in Sharp LCD TV, the result is impressive.
We viewed a clip from Pirates of the Caribbean downloaded from iTunes, and while the improved video quality isn't quite up to the standard of DVD, it's certainly far better than conventional iTunes material played on a large screen.
The iRIS goes on sale in the US in November.