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archos TV Plus as dvr first impressions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Just received an Archos TV plus, which I'm hoping to use as a DVR, and thought I'd offer some first impressions. The short of it is, the reason to buy this thing is for its low price and impressive feature list. If you're looking for an Apple- or Tivo-like flop-on-the-couch-and-start-watching experience, this isn't quite there yet. Expect a couple of hours of setup and learning just to get going. But it's a nice little box with no monthly channel guide charge (for the first year) that integrates all kinds of digital material with your TV for about $250.

It has no tuner of its own, but uses an infrared "blaster" to control your cable or satellite box. There's no wire; it just beams the ir out the front of the box and hopes that it bounces around enough to get back to your tuner. The guide is adequate, but just that; you can record individual shows, daily, or weekly, but none of the Tivo-type options of choosing shows by title, first-run-only, or sophisticated searches. (This has evolved out of a system created to load TV onto Archos' portable media devices.)

It comes with access to CinemaNow and a youtube-like service, but you can optionally buy an opera browser that gives pretty full web access. Options for getting things on and off the Archos are numerous: UpNP, a usb port that both lets you load things to and from usb disks or turn the thing into a hard drive on your PC, or you can run a file server program that makes the Archos's hard drive accessible via your home network, either wirelessly or via ethernet. This gets you into a complex world of codecs, filetypes, etc., but so far the Archos seems pretty robust in that department.

I'm behind the times and only have a Sony Wega 32" standard TV, so I can't say what the quality is like on more modern systems. It claims to be able to play 720 files like the Apple TV, but cannot record HDTV. It has an hdmi video output (as well as a host of other options.)
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
While I'm at it, I'll post a query: the one big problem I'm having so far with the Archos is getting it to control my set top box, which is an Amino Aminet 110, used for iptv systems. The Archos has never heard of the amino; I'm wondering if anyone knows of any equivalents that the Archos might know about. (On my replaytv, using the codes for a "Siemens 1256" system worked, but the Archos has no such setting, and none of the other Siemens options worked.)

Thanks.
post #3 of 8
@tstreete thanks for posting your 1st impressions. I have an Archos player (old 402) and I love it.
Did you get the Opera browser with yours? I don't know if you have tried hulu (www.hulu.com) yet but it is very cool and being able to surf to and view Hulu content on the TV instead of the computer would be a winner.

Hulu is in private beta at the moment but if you put in your email they'll send you an invite sometime soon.
post #4 of 8
I am looking into getting the Archos TV+ but a bit disappointed that it does not have a built-in tuner. However I was also wondering if any of you can watch netflix online movies through the Archos TV web browser? Netflix's online movie uses Microsoft Silverlight instead of Flash like youtube. Let me know.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skingery View Post

@tstreete thanks for posting your 1st impressions. I have an Archos player (old 402) and I love it.
Did you get the Opera browser with yours? I don't know if you have tried hulu yet but it is very cool and being able to surf to and view Hulu content on the TV instead of the computer would be a winner.

Hulu is in private beta at the moment but if you put in your email they'll send you an invite sometime soon.

The Archos TV+ web browser is a real web browser, but it can't do everything. It can do Flash 7, and there are rumors that it will soon be updated to Flash 9. I don't know how Silverlight works, but I haven't seen any mention of it as one of the things the Archos TV + can do. (The Archos is linux-based, and uses a proprietary user interface.)

The Archos web site has this to say about video decoding:
MPEG-4 (ASP@L5 AVI, up to DVD resolution)
WMV (MP@ML, up to DVD resolution)
With optional software plug-ins (available for purchase on
- Podcast plug-in: H.264 up to DVD resolution and AAC sound.
- Cinema Plug-in: MPEG-2 MP@ML up to 10 Mbps (up to DVD resolution) and AC3 stereo sound.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Archos released an update to the firmware today that fixed this problem. Amino Aminet is now supported. Some people complain about Archos' tech support, but I emailed them two weeks ago about this and they got right on it. Pretty responsive, given the exotic character of my STB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tstreete View Post

While I'm at it, I'll post a query: the one big problem I'm having so far with the Archos is getting it to control my set top box, which is an Amino Aminet 110, used for iptv systems. The Archos has never heard of the amino; I'm wondering if anyone knows of any equivalents that the Archos might know about. (On my replaytv, using the codes for a "Siemens 1256" system worked, but the Archos has no such setting, and none of the other Siemens options worked.)

Thanks.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstreete View Post

The Archos TV+ web browser is a real web browser, but it can't do everything. It can do Flash 7, and there are rumors that it will soon be updated to Flash 9. I don't know how Silverlight works, but I haven't seen any mention of it as one of the things the Archos TV + can do. (The Archos is linux-based, and uses a proprietary user interface.)

The Archos web site has this to say about video decoding:
MPEG-4 (ASP@L5 AVI, up to DVD resolution)
WMV (MP@ML, up to DVD resolution)
With optional software plug-ins (available for purchase on
- Podcast plug-in: H.264 up to DVD resolution and AAC sound.
- Cinema Plug-in: MPEG-2 MP@ML up to 10 Mbps (up to DVD resolution) and AC3 stereo sound.

Further update on what kinds of video files it can access: the main limitation seems to be copy protection schemes, and the Archos is set up for Windows Media and Flash 7, which means no Silverlight, and no Flash 9 sites. And beyond that, it depends on what the particular commercial site allows you to do with files. Amazon unbox, for example, treats the TV+ as an allowed "portable device" (odd, because it's not portable) so you can buy shows from Unbox and then transfer them to the TV+ via cable in a reduced-quality format. (They look OK on my standard TV, but you notice the difference.) CinemaNow of course allows you to buy from and directly download their library to the Archos TV+. Also, just because the TV+ has a web browser does not mean it will act just like a PC. Many of the commercial movie download sites are now Windows only, and don't work on linux or macs. If that's the case, you can be pretty sure that with the exception of CinemaNow, you won't be able to buy and download material straight from your Archos.

If you can somehow get non-copy protected video files on to your PC, then they can usually be transferred or streamed to the Archos pretty easily, however.
post #8 of 8
I know this is an old post and product but anybody researching or seeing this on eBay and thinking of buying it don't bother.. I basically keep mine as a channel changer for recording to a dvd recorder....
Things that pissed me off..
-the TV Guide was discontinued by Archos about a year after it premiered, I used it for a month and then it was discontinued... Archos basically said; not under warranty? Boo F-ing you.
-not being able to watch a programme as its recording, my decade old Replay can do this.
-overheats which leads to disruptive image problems thru an HDMI connection, i have to out a small fan behind it if there is something on the unit I want to watch...
-and Achos still charges for plugin for codecs for an out of date product and out of date codecs...
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