Subititles & TV Out for iPhone/iPod Touch video

The best way to get soft-subtitles on your iPhone / iPod Touch video which you can switch ON/OFF & watch these videos on your bigger TV! Read ahead…

There are many users who are not well-informed of the fact that video on iPhone/iPod Touch has support for soft subtitles. This is nothing else than subtitles which you can switch on or off as you want. It is similar to the VLC player (or any such player).  And other type  we can call as Hard-subtitles that are rendered on a video layer through editing software.

Converting video & adding subtitles:

I found this open source video converter called HandBrake, which gives me an option to convert my video of any format for iPhone/iPod Touch as well as I can separate layer of subtitles along with it! This is a feature of iPhone OS but with a limitation for customization, such as font size, shadow for text, etc.! But we may expect them in next version of iPhone.

That is it! You’re done with getting the subtitles on your iPhone Video.

I am attaching few screen-shots below to show, how it looks like once converted and saved, on your iPhone’s/Ipod Touch’s video app.

Below is a screen-grab of the software interface. I did not have a mic so there is no narration to this 🙂

  1. HandBrake Screen-grab

Watching videos on your TV

Once you’re done with getting those videos & with or without subtitles on an iPhone, you may would like to watch them on TV!

To see these videos on TV, you need a Composite AV Cable for iPhone/iPod touch. If you plan for buying an original Apple cable then it will cost you around Rs. 2500/- (personally I think, this is too much!). You may also buy Component Video Cable which is even expensive at around Rs. 3500/-. The difference in these cables is mentioned later in this post.

Since I have Composite AV cable, I will tell you in reference with the same!

This cable can then be attached to your dock (charging slot) and connect other ends, which are RCA connectors to your TV. (video + audio left + audio right inputs).  This cable comes with a USB connector as well. So your iPhone is charging while watching videos on TV.

Another interesting thing is, you can listen to your songs on TV speakers & can see photo slide-shows on a bigger screen!. Not just that, if you’re having a nice audio system attached to this TV – then you can enjoy these songs on a larger speakers. This will save a lot of money as you will never need to buy expensive branded speakers which are marketed especially for iPods.

The price tag of original Composite AV cable is high,  so I thought of searching for an alternative. And no surprise I found it on Ebay India’s website. I bought it for Rs. 375/-.

If you plan to buy a non-Apple cable then please note these points mentioned below:

  • Apple has changed the way this AV Composite cable work since iPhone operating system version 3.0.
  • The idea is to block duplications and promote original cables.
  • To do this, Apple has inserted a chip inside such cables, and your iPhone OS is going to read it. If it matched then only you can see videos on TV.
  • Most of the cables on Ebay India worked with operating system version 2.2.1. As I already hadupgraded my OS version to 3.1.2 , this non-Apple cable did not work for me. I kept receiving error “This accessory is not supported”.
  • I made that shop owner realize this & also told him the modifications I had to do when I upgraded to 3.1.2. Maybe since then this particular cable isn’t available with him anymore on Ebay. You may find it on alternative shops.

So if you buy them and they don’t work then you already know the reason! I have the details how make them work! I cannot include it here otherwise this will become a too long post and difficult to read!

Now, which cable to buy? Composite AV cable or Component AV cable?

  • Component AV cable consist of 3 connectors, one each for R (Red), G (Green), B (Blue) with separate color signals. Which results in a better color output. Read more about component video here. This type is available only in newer hi-def TV sets.
  • Composite AV cable combines all these RGB video signals into one combined signal. & 2 other connectors to give you stereo audio output. This is clearly visible on cables as we can see only 1 connector that gives you video output / input. Read more about composite video here. This is available on almost all the TV sets we have! Also on newer TV sets.
  • Now we know the difference about the cables. If you see the images below – there is no difference in input connectors that goes into your  TV.
  • The only difference in the cables below is at other end which is to be connected  to your iPhone / iPod touch.
  • One that I marked as Correct: This goes into your charging dock. This cable works with almost all the iPhones & iPod touches.
  • The one which is marked as Not Correct: This type of cable is not a Component cable. The connector goes into your headphone jack!  This type do not work with iPhone / iPod touch! Our local genius stores labeled it as component cable & they sell it for cheap. I am unsure but I guess these type of cables only work with classic version of iPods!

See these images:

We’ll go through the details later for: How to use cheaper cables for your latest iPhone OS? Why Jailbraking is interesting? How to watch your iPhone applications and games on TV?  Is jailbraking legal? And related topics which I personally experienced so far.

However, I would like to post them only if you’re interested & find it useful !
So feel free to ask in comments and I would like to hear 🙂



Max November 28, 2010

How did you get the 3rd party cable to work? I am very interested in that, as I have a jailbroken iPod Touch with a third party cable, but it claims to be unsupported!

Tushar Tajane November 28, 2010

Hello Max,
What is your iPod Touch version 2G, 3G or 4G and also tell me the iOS version.

To get your iOS version go to Settings > General > About.

Abhishek December 12, 2010

Hey man i have a Ipod touch 3G,want a cheap component cable,have searched the web but all i can c is on Ebay and there is a big blunder about what cable goes well with what version of the gadget,i’m not sure if they will work or not.. can u help me out in this regard? ..


Tushar Tajane December 23, 2010

In simple words,
Get a video out cable that is
1] Has a dock connector pin. Exactly like a sync cable connector
2] Has three connectors on the other side. 2 for audio 1 for video.

You need to have a jailbroken iPod touch. It’s a simple process and does not void your warranty.

BuZz me if u need more details

Waqas Khan December 15, 2010

Hey man I have a 2nd gen ipod touch and my friend gave this composite cable for the tv I connect the cable to my ipod and the other end to my tv the sound worked fine but. There was no picture or. Video?

Tushar Tajane December 23, 2010

This means that you are not using an official Apple cable or old cable.

Is your iPod jailbroken?

Sam March 8, 2011

i have itouch 4g..i got this from US and i want help in watching movies on my TV from my itouch ..which cable should i buy and from where can i get it….apple’s cable is too expensive

avre June 21, 2011

i am highly interested as i just purchased a third party cable with hopes of finding solutions to the ‘unsupported accessory’ issue. please help.

Tushar Tajane June 22, 2011

It requires your phone to be jailbroken first. Is it? If yes, then you should search for ‘Resupported’ in Cydia. Purchase and install the same. It works!

iOS 5 is apparently will have a feature to support third-party cables without need of jailbreak. See possible iOS 5 features here.

Hope this helps 🙂