We review Apple's video-playing iPod -- Wook Kim gives high marks to the latest must-have gadget

We review Apple’s video-playing iPod

While catching an episode of Lost on Apple’s spiffy new iPod, one is reminded of Norma Desmond’s famous line from Sunset Boulevard: ”I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” For you technophobes and cave-dwelling arrivistes, these iPods, in addition to playing music, also play music videos and TV shows. So what’s it like watching Madonna slink across a 2.5-inch screen? Surprisingly enjoyable. The images are sharp, the colors accurate, the sound quality excellent, and the contrast levels between dark and light more than acceptable, even in high-glare situations. Indeed, watching an hour-long show becomes more of a strain on your wrist than your eyes. But here’s Apple’s biggest advantage over competitors (RCA and Samsung also make these devices): downloadable content. In addition to some 2,000 music videos on its popular online iTunes Music Store, Apple is selling entire episodes from five ABC/Disney series, including Lost and Desperate Housewives. We’d give the gadget a solid A, if not for the small selection (Apple has reportedly approached other networks and, presumably, film studios). But it does represent a tentative first step into a potentially huge market. A-