Watch that Dock!

If you have a personal media player such as an iPod, you probably enjoy listening to and viewing your content in private. Bu if you’re like many people, you also like to be able to share the content with others, especially at home. Just look at all the docking devices that include speakers so that you can fill the room with your music. But what about the pictures? Are you going to drop your player in a dock and then crowd around to view the tiny screen?

The new Neo-i media player dock from Optoma has a built-in pico projector so that you can view photos and videos.

Optoma is betting that you want more than that, but less than a full-blown high definition home entertainment system. (After all, there are some flat panel HDTVs and projectors that offer iPod docks already.) The company has announced its new Neo-i, an iPod dock that includes a built-in pico projector in the tabletop device. The projector has a Wide VGA resolution, suitable for widescreen DVD resolution content to go along with the 16 Watt stereo sound system. The LED-illuminated projector is rated at only 50 lumens, so you’ll want to dim the lights when watching videos as a large image, though the image should bright enough for normal lighting conditions if you keep the image down to the size of a sheet of paper or so.

The Neo-i weighs less than 2.5 pounds, and you can get an optional battery pack so that you don’t even have to plug it in. With this, you can enjoy your own personal “drive-in” movies on your deck on a summer evening.

The Neo-i is slated to ship in mid-December with a list price of $449. The standard 30-pin Apple docking connection supports all iPod, iPhone, and iTouch devices, and can also recharge a device while it’s in the dock.