CD players that can play discs full of MP3 files cost less than $100. But if you have an iPod, you already have a state-of-the-art MP3 player that can connect to your existing stereo for under $20—or spend a little more and get the full iPod AV Club experience.
To link the iPod to your stereo, you need the right kind of cable and a set of input jacks on the back of your receiver. Most audio systems come with at least one extra set of inputs (after accounting for the CD player, cassette deck, and other common components), so look for an empty AUX jack.
The cable you need is a Y-shaped cord with a 3.5 mm (1/8″) stereo miniplug on one end and two bigger RCA plugs at the other end. The stereo miniplug is the standard connector for iPod-style headphones (and for speakers and microphones); RCA plugs are standard red-and-white tipped connectors for linking stereo components together.
You plug the smaller end into the iPod's headphone jack, and the RCA plugs into the left and right channel jacks on the back of your stereo. Most online iPod superstores like XtremeMac, Griffin Technology, DLO, and Belkin sell their version of the Y-shaped cable for iPod. There's a list of sites that sell helpful iPod stuff at the end of this chapter.
Once you have your cables, you can also get an iPod dock to connect ...