I have two installations of the Archos TV Connect - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-16-2013, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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... and I'd be happy to share experiences. One is connected to the lounge TV. A couple of weeks after that installation I purchased a second, together with a 24 inch monitor equipped with a couple of HDMI inputs and an audio output, and that's set up in my study. Obviously I wouldn't have purchased the second unless I was very pleased with the first.

I'm surprised that this device has been greeted with something of a yawn. It is, I believe, the first Android device intended for TV use that has been certified by Google, and although there are many cheaper devices of this sort, this is perhaps the first to come from a European company offering - perhaps - better support than devices bought from China etc. It has already received a firmware update.

The remote control works extremely well as a replacement for the natural Android touch interface, and several of its buttons etc can be user-configured not only for games but also for media applications. For instance, you can easily arrange for buttons of your choice to act as media control buttons in any apps.

Not being locked to one provider of media player software, you can install whatever you like to address your particular needs and preferences. It works well with DNLA apps, XBMC, YouTube etc (and can to some degree emulate a Chromecast dongle). Archos' own media player app is pretty good, and of course works well on this device.

Any questions?
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-17-2013, 05:14 AM
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What speed does XBMC render at in settings/system information, would be interested to know how fast the UI is rendered at 1080p on the box, it has a TI OMAP 4470 chip inside it with a PowerVR SGX544 GPU which makes it pretty unusual hardware for an Android TV box.

Can it pass Dolby/DTS 5.1 to a sound system ?

There's very little information about the video decoding capabilities of the OMAP 4470, can it play a raw Blu-ray video ripped with makemkv via ethernet without choking ?
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-17-2013, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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The first one I can answer - it says "Screen resolution 1920x1008@60Hz - Full screen ((75fps) - but the fps figure changes all the time. Max I've seen is about 84fps. The CPU Usage figures show it's going about 30% typically when displaying that XBMC screen.

Passing Dolby etc to a sound system - sorry, nothing like that installed here so can't answer. As for BluRay rips, again, haven't got any but on another forum someone asked me to play back a test file showing a huge flock of birds taken from above, and that seemed to run without skips. You might be familiar with that test file.

Dunno if it helps but it plays .mov files, FHD, 35Mbps just fine across the network. These come from a camera.

Mention of ethernet reminds me that it's interesting how Android isn't really comfortable with only Ethernet connected. Some apps won't work unless they see a wifi network as well, also location services need wifi turned on.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-17-2013, 03:38 PM
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Well that's encouraging to hear I may pick one of these up, 60fps is really whats needed to render the XBMC UI so it sounds like there is plenty of gas in the tank for higher end skins something most other Android TV devices haven't been able to do well to date.

If there are are any audio pass-through settings they would be in Android system settings typically under sound, some Android boxes label PCM as decode done on box and RAW as pass-through.

Yeah Android gets weird with ethernet however it's mostly Android apps which devs don't take ethernet into account, XBMC on the other hand has no issues with ethernet.

The SD card slot says 32GB cards supported max, do 64GB ones work too or must they be 32GB ?
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-17-2013, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Under "Sound" there are no settings which appear relevant to pass-through.

While I'm in settings, however, there's a few things might be worth mentioning -

Bluetooth supports BT keyboards which operate at the same time as the Archos remote. In other words, if you suddenly need to enter a load of text, you can simply use a BT keyboard without having to do any switching/setting (once it's paired in the usual way the first time of course).

I've got poor results with BT headphones however - can't tell whether it doesn't like my particular one, or all BT headphones.

There's a setting to allow remote control from another Android device running the "Archos remote control" app which is free on the market. This provides various control schemes, eg touchpad or media control, but does not show the TV Connect screen - it assumes you are looking at the TV.

Under "Display" there's a TV overscan setting.

I haven't tried big cards so can't comment on whether bigger than 32 would work. Personally I stream almost everything so storage is not an issue. But you can easily plug in an external hard drive if you want, which is of course no issue given that the device is kept in one place. (The way it sits on top of the TV is very neat and well designed to fit practically anything).

Location services relies on wifi as there's no GPS.

Camera is not very good, and it's made worse by being shown full screen. I've yet to try it with Skype, for which it would just about be adequate I should think. On the other hand, the mic is good quality, and there is a key combo on the remote to permit voice input in most situations.

Contacts (People) app doesn't seem to sync for some reason. Calendar does work ok.

I've not seen any method of rooting online. Personally I'm fine with it as it is.

You can use it to some extent as a Chromecast device, using the "Cheapcast" app from the market. That certainly allows you to find a Youtube video on your phone, then "cast" it to the TV Connect for big screen viewing.

The most recent Rdio app update broke Rdio on this device (no player screen). I don't doubt that will be fixed in due course. Netflix works fine.

The most helpful review I've seen online is here -

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.archoslounge.net/Test-Archos-TV-Connect.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dtest%2Barchos%2Btv%2Bconnect%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DD8p%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official

That has several videos too, which should help show performance and ease of use etc.

Most of my experiences with this device can be read on http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2035173
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-18-2013, 04:49 AM
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Thanks for the info I will get one and have a look at it, the hardware seems the best to date for an Android TV box, somewhere around iPad3 level of performance.

It's a shame Archos didnt include a media centric remote like a Roku or AppleTV remote something simple, so you dont have to use the big ass gamepad. You can use generic USB keyboard RF remotes with Android but no-one makes anything like the Roku/AppleTV/Boxee remote's whats available are all badly designed or Android centric remotes where your actually using a mouse (in remote form) not a keyboard.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-18-2013, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I got a PS3 media remote working with the Archos TV Connect, but the only media buttons that functioned were play and stop - not forward/back/pause etc. But you can map the Archos game controls to onscreen media buttons if you want, so you don't actually have to pick up the remote or point with it. When in an easy chair in front of the TV, the curve of the underside of the remote fits nicely to your knee. Well, to mine anyway!
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-20-2013, 06:31 AM
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Well got mine and some good things and a few poor things.

1) Definitely the most polished Android TV set top box to date, a nice wizard at start up.
2) Hardware is fast and Android feels smooth in operation.
3) Gamepad is not as big as I thought, much smaller in fact same goes for the unit.
4) 64GB SD cards work.
5) Built in DLNA media server and built in media player are both functional and well designed.
6) XBMC rendering performance is excellent.
7) Physical on/off switch.
8) No problems at all with Google Play store.

The not so good stuff
1) HDMI handshaking is flaky, wont display going through my sony sound system unless I pull the HDMI lead and push back in.
2) No manual display settings allowing you to force 1080p, 720p etc, this is very surprising it seems entirely automatic.
3) No audio pass-through settings as suspected.
4) No support for XBMC running in full screen, (the Archos own media player does), you still have that bar at the bottom.
5) No root access so full screen apps to correct 4 are not possible.
6) Apps don't install to the SD card when present, they still install to internal storage.
7) Archos controller has lag in XBMC, behaves fine with their own media player.
8) No apparent support for NTFS or exFAT USB drives, only FAT32 works unless I'm doing something wrong but I don't think so.

So very close to being an ideal XBMC Android STB, I might try and contact tech support and see if they will at least forward some of these issues to their team and hopefully address them.

By the way be sure to go into system settings about and do the register product that way, no matter what I did it would not register via PC with me typing out the codes. The system firmware update should be more visible too, it's far too easily missed in the about section.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-20-2013, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I get nervous when people buy stuff that I've recommended in case they subsequently find my judgement to be poor! But you seem reasonably happy, so that's good.

I'm interested in your remark about HDMI handshaking. I've noticed that my TV mutes the audio briefly and displays the current HDMI input name if there's any break in a stream, as if the HDMI connection gets reset under certain conditions. Here that's a minor irritation, but something I'd be glad if a later firmware update sorted out. I haven't noticed anything like that on the monitor in my study (so far).

As far as I can see everything is shown at full HD, and presumably upscaled to suit as necessary.

Yes, it would be nice if XBMC came up full screen - I assumed that was a matter for XBMC to handle.

I believe apps always install to internal storage in this version of Android. One game did detect the external SD card and offered to install its large additional files to that card. But that's down to the developer.

Do try "Cheapcast" for chromecast emulation, if that interests you - free and quite fun if nothing else.

Oh yes - on a whim I installed a wireless mouse on my study Archos setup, and I'm surprised how well that works in almost all respects with Android. I'm now tending to use that more than the Archos remote, in the study, but in the lounge situation on the TV, the Archos remote is more convenient.

The remote in the lounge constantly drifted to the right, until I installed fresh batteries the other day. Maybe it's best to replace the batteries before the gauge suggests that you should.

Nice to have one other person on the entire internet to compare notes with... if this box said "Nexus" on it, it would sell like hot cakes.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-21-2013, 01:30 AM
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Yeah I've used Cheapcast on other Android STB before it works well, mice work much better than air remotes too, Microsoft mobile mice are a good pick.

I've also noticed very occasional drift as well in the Archos gamepad, very minor when idle.

Android TV devices still have a long way to come & I've used a few, the Archos offers the best Android experience vs the various Chinese boxes I've used however it doesn't quite have the level of polish expected. If firmware updates can square away those issues then XBMC community would buy these in large amounts, it's the best libstagefright box available with pure Android (not like that Ouya crap), it was even able to handle the mighty Aeon Nox (at 30fps) this is a skin which brings many other low end XBMC devices to their knee's.

I don't think Google is entirely sure what to do with it's own GoogleTV platform & the unofficial Android TV boxes, Chromecast might kill off GoogleTV in the long run.

The best thing to do would be to abandon all the DVR stuff on GoogleTV and merge with Android, when you hook your Android device up to a TV (via cable or wireless display mirroring) you get an alternate UI like Steam Big Picture or heck AppleTV, simple apps meant for TV usage on a basic remote/gamepad. Officially sanctioned by Google that would take a lot of the mess out of GoogleTV and any Android device could use it.

TV Launcher is sort that, an alternate UI for Android TV set top boxes, it's quite good.

Launcher manager allows you to easily pick which one you want to use.

Update: Got a reply from Archos, saying unit is not intended for use with HDMI pass-through and they don't support third party applications with no mention of anything else, reading between the lines that is "we are not going to do anything" so forget about this box. The quad core Amlogic M8 series due later in the year does all of things I mentioned which are not available on the Archos so to anyone who has an interest in XBMC/Android STB's forget about this one & wait for Pivos to do an M8 box.

Oh and I plugged the box into my other TV direct and got no display either same as sound system so their HDMI handshaking is definitely buggy.
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post #11 of 11 Old 01-01-2014, 03:21 PM
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Just how do you update the tv connect? and when you power off using the remote is the unit on stand-by.

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