Archos Video Jukebox

Is that a cinema in your pocket?
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Description

Was £599.95, now £549.95 (save £50!)

So you've been listening to music on your hard drive portable for the past year or so and you think you're fairly tech-savvy, do you? Well, you were. Until Archos made you obsolete. Passé. So last week. But don't hold Archos accountable for your myriad shortcomings. Oh no. Archos has just done you a massive favour and unveiled its first music and video jukebox to follow on from its hugely popular MP3 fare. Archos has given you the means to be top of the gadget pile again. To regain the respect of your gadget brethren. Archos has given you the 20GB AV320 and its big brother the 40GB AV340 (the units are identical apart from HD size).

watching Friends

Whereas other portable hard-drive players satisfy themselves by supplying your every mobile musical whim, the Archos does all that as a hobby, then gets down and dirty playing MPEG4 video (encoded as DivX or XviD: see encoding video below for details), yet still manages to be every bit as pocketable as the majority of its music-only rivals. With a roomy and ultra-fast 20/40GB USB 2.0 hard disk to play with, the world is your digital oyster. You can store up to 40 hours of MP4 video, MP3 files, voice recordings, JPEGs, or any other type of file you care to mention.

Archos in hand

Not content with being the most talented jukebox ever made, the master-of-all-trades Archos can even encode direct from any video or audio source, so it works as a universal digital recorder, capable of grabbing anything from Kilroy to xXx to the latest Blazin' Squad single, depending on how into self-abuse you are. The built-in timer function means you can get your VCR primed for dispatch from the nearest fourth floor window and toss your MD or tape player through just behind it. Forget DVD recording or Sky+, or other such rot. This is the only digital recorder you'll ever need.

top and bottom

The built-in, pin-sharp 3.8-inch LCD screen is large enough to comfortably watch a whole film on the train and yet the device is still only the size of a pocket A-Z. How Archos have done it is beyond us, but they've managed to beat Apple, Creative et al at their own game and come up with one of the most groundbreaking gadgets ever to plop through the Firebox letterbox. Remarkable.

AVCam

Archos also make various accessories, such as a photo module, to turn your AV320/340 into a digital camera/video camera, or a combined radio/remote control. The JBM Memory Card Reader allows you to transfer data from Compact Flash, SmartMedia and SD cards. (View Java 3-D tour of plug-ins.)

Digital Video Recorder module

Recording DVDs direct to the hard drive is a mercifully simple task thanks to the included Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and somehow the Archos manages to skirt round DVD's "uncrackable" Macrovision copy protection, although copying commercial DVDs would put you on the business end of the law's long arm and we couldn't possibly ever encourage it.

Expansion port

If you'd told us last year that we'd be watching films on pocket-sized MP3-playing devices, we'd have guffawed in your general direction and departed the scene post-haste. These days, we're older, wiser, and far more open to the mutterings of assorted madmen, particularly when they concern bleeding edge tech. The Archos AV320/340: so much to answer for.

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    Free UK Delivery Over £100
    Free Returns
    Next Day Delivery Not Available
    Free UK Delivery Over £100
    Free Returns
    Next Day Delivery Not Available
    Description

    Was £599.95, now £549.95 (save £50!)

    So you've been listening to music on your hard drive portable for the past year or so and you think you're fairly tech-savvy, do you? Well, you were. Until Archos made you obsolete. Passé. So last week. But don't hold Archos accountable for your myriad shortcomings. Oh no. Archos has just done you a massive favour and unveiled its first music and video jukebox to follow on from its hugely popular MP3 fare. Archos has given you the means to be top of the gadget pile again. To regain the respect of your gadget brethren. Archos has given you the 20GB AV320 and its big brother the 40GB AV340 (the units are identical apart from HD size).

    watching Friends

    Whereas other portable hard-drive players satisfy themselves by supplying your every mobile musical whim, the Archos does all that as a hobby, then gets down and dirty playing MPEG4 video (encoded as DivX or XviD: see encoding video below for details), yet still manages to be every bit as pocketable as the majority of its music-only rivals. With a roomy and ultra-fast 20/40GB USB 2.0 hard disk to play with, the world is your digital oyster. You can store up to 40 hours of MP4 video, MP3 files, voice recordings, JPEGs, or any other type of file you care to mention.

    Archos in hand

    Not content with being the most talented jukebox ever made, the master-of-all-trades Archos can even encode direct from any video or audio source, so it works as a universal digital recorder, capable of grabbing anything from Kilroy to xXx to the latest Blazin' Squad single, depending on how into self-abuse you are. The built-in timer function means you can get your VCR primed for dispatch from the nearest fourth floor window and toss your MD or tape player through just behind it. Forget DVD recording or Sky+, or other such rot. This is the only digital recorder you'll ever need.

    top and bottom

    The built-in, pin-sharp 3.8-inch LCD screen is large enough to comfortably watch a whole film on the train and yet the device is still only the size of a pocket A-Z. How Archos have done it is beyond us, but they've managed to beat Apple, Creative et al at their own game and come up with one of the most groundbreaking gadgets ever to plop through the Firebox letterbox. Remarkable.

    AVCam

    Archos also make various accessories, such as a photo module, to turn your AV320/340 into a digital camera/video camera, or a combined radio/remote control. The JBM Memory Card Reader allows you to transfer data from Compact Flash, SmartMedia and SD cards. (View Java 3-D tour of plug-ins.)

    Digital Video Recorder module

    Recording DVDs direct to the hard drive is a mercifully simple task thanks to the included Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and somehow the Archos manages to skirt round DVD's "uncrackable" Macrovision copy protection, although copying commercial DVDs would put you on the business end of the law's long arm and we couldn't possibly ever encourage it.

    Expansion port

    If you'd told us last year that we'd be watching films on pocket-sized MP3-playing devices, we'd have guffawed in your general direction and departed the scene post-haste. These days, we're older, wiser, and far more open to the mutterings of assorted madmen, particularly when they concern bleeding edge tech. The Archos AV320/340: so much to answer for.

     

    More info
    Specifications
    • Capacity: 20/40 GB (up to 40 hours of video)
    • Interface: USB 2.0, extra fast, compatible USB 1.1, PC & Mac. Optional FireWire cable.
    • Video playback: MPEG-4 SP with MP3 stereo sound, near-DVD quality. Resolutions 352x288@30f/s, or 640x272@25f/s, up to 640x368@20f/s. AVI file format, reads XviD and DivX 4.0 & 5.0.
    • Music playback: Stereo MP3 decoding @ 30-320 kb/s CBR & VBR, WMA @ 160 kb/s
    • Music recording: Stereo MP3 encoding @ 30-160 kb/s VBR
    • Photo viewer: JPEG (except progressives) or BMP of any size
    • Display: 3,8'' color LCD (QVGA) 320x240 pixels
    • AV Connections: Stereo analog Line In & digital SPDIF Line In/Out. Composite Video/Earphone/Line Out jack. Built-in microphone.
    • Playback life : Up to 10 hours on MP3 or 3 1/2 hours for video on built-in LCD
    • Scalability: Free software updates from www.archos.com.
    • Power Source: Internal: Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries. External: AC charger / adapter.
    • Dimensions & Weight:112 x 82 x 31 mm (4.4" x 3.2" x 1.2"). 350g (12.5 oz)
    • JBM DVR Features :
      • Connection: Plugs into expansion port.
      • Capture rate: PAL : 320x240 @ 25 f/s; NTSC: 304 X 224 @30 f/s
      • Video Input: Analog Composite Video or S-video
      • Audio input: Analog stereo audio Mini-jack - RCA
      • Video compression: MPEG-4 SP with MP3 stereo sound in AVI format (can be read by XviD or DivX players)
      • Audio compression: Stereo MP3 96-192 kb/s CBR (Constant Bit Rate)
      • Dimensions & weight: 60 x 54 x 30mm (2.3''x2.1''x1.2''), 45g (1.5 oz)
    Folding headphones Package includes:
    • USB 2.0 cable
    • JMB DVR (digital video recorder)
    • Remote control
    • Audio and Video cables (SCART adaptor)
    • Stereo headphones
    • MusicMatch Jukebox software (PC)
    • MP4 translator software (PC)
    • Virtual Dub software (PC)
    • 5-language manual (PC)
    System requirements
    • PC: Pentium II 266 MHz. Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, 64 MB RAM
    • MAC: 9.2 or 10.2.4 iMac, G3 or higher
    Technical Support UK - please call 01264 366022 or email tech-support.eu@archos.com
    Encoding Video

    The AV300 series will not directly play files of type .mov, .mpg, .mpeg, nor .avi files created with codecs other than XviD or DivX. If you have files of these or other types which you would like to view on your AV300 you must use the software on the included CD to re-encode them into the proper MP4 with MP3 sound stream.

    How to create MPEG4 video files

    Video re-encoding is not always a simple, one-button process. Video segments from your camcorder or the internet are encoded in many different ways. If not in the proper MPEG4 Simple Profile format, files must be re-encoded before they can be viewed on your Archos, using the software mentioned below. This is due to MPEG4 being a relatively new format. Unlike its predecessors MPEG1 and MPEG2, MPEG4 has a number of levels and thus not all MPEG4 video files will work on all MPEG4 video players, and older MPEG1 and MPEG2 files must also be re-encoded.

    Software

    The AV320/340 package contains a CD-ROM which includes two PC-based programs that allow you to create MP4 Simple Profile files - MP4 Translator and Virtual Dub. The MP4 Translator will call the Virtual Dub program and give it the correct parameters to encode your video from its original format and then encode it into a DivX-based MP4 .AVI file. The DivX codec should be included on the CD, but version 4.0 or 5.0 can also be downloaded (for free) from the DivX.com website. This will allow your PC to create DivX format videos which play on your AV320/340. You will also need an MP3 audio codec (available freely on the web, for example at mp3-converter.com) in order to create the proper soundtrack for the movie.

    Macintosh users can now also download a DivX converter from the DivX.com Mac page. There is an MP3 encoder available, which as of this writing costs $6.99. However, iTunes can be used for MP3 encoding. (Archos has also included a plug-in which allows the AV320/340 to be recognised as an iTunes device for use as a music jukebox).

    There are a number of software products for converting DVDs in order to view them on your Archos> Two of the most useful we have found are MaxDVD to AVI Converter and WinMPG Video Convert.

    Digital Video Recorder Connector cables

    Another, much simpler way to create MPEG4 videos is with the included Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This connects to the expansion port of the AV320/340 and allows you to record a video source such as a VCR or DVD player using the supplied connector cables. This method does not require any re-encoding or installation of the abovementioned software.

     

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