Archos today showed their TV product in London to a room full of eager journalists.
We got our hands on it for a short period and will give you what we know.
It’s a sleek looking box that appears very similar to Apple TV, but it does provide a lot more. Archos define it as a “Home WiFi DVR centre.”
Lots of functionality is provided by the box.
- It’s a PVR (80GB or 250GB) which records from your external Sky or Freeview box;
- Web browsing is built-in;
- Flash video content can be displayed full size on your TV;
- photos from digital cameras can be loaded on easily using the USB port and view on your TV;
- AV content can be streamed from anywhere on your WiFi Network;
- and of course music is playable too.
Archos mocked Apple for the fact that Apple TV isn’t able to record TV. The Archos TV+ doesn’t have that restriction and is able to record from your Sky or Freeview box. There’s an onscreen EPG that gets updated through the WiFi, enabling you to easily schedule recordings.
Flash video – widely used on Web sites these days – plays back in full screen.
Much of the functionality of the box is already available with the handheld Archos 605 WiFi unit in Archos’ Generation 5 range.
The remote was really easy to use, giving you the opportunity to not only command the unit easily, but entering Web addresses or even writing emails is highly possible.
With a bit of practice, we could see the remote becoming a single hand tool pretty quickly.
One of the problems that Apple and their TV product has experienced is access to content. Archos have already tackled this with ACP – Archos Content Portal.
Films can be watched whilst they are being downloaded – meaning you don’t have to wait for it all to come down before you can see it.
Having used the system, we can report that it’s simple to click to buy or rent films
The units are available now, but strong supplies should be available in around three weeks.
Prices will be £170 for the 80GB Capacity machine and £240 for the 250GB. The Web browser is an extra £20 as a one off payment. If all plugins are bought (H.264 and MPEG2 video), the additional costs will be £50.
There’s a more detailed look at this coming in the next weeks.