By Richard Menta 6/14/03
Last year Archos invented the first portable MPEG4 video player, the Archos Multimedia Jukebox. We dubbed it a mediabox for its ability to handle everything from MP3s to digital photos to movies. It was a great player in our tests too, an impressive portable that only suffered from a small screen that still did a decent job.
The spawn of that portable is yet to arrive from other manufacturers (the rumor is Apple will have an iPod mediabox soon and will sell videos from its iTunes store), but that doesn't mean Archos is resting on its laurels. The company just announced its latest MPEG4 player, the Archos AV300 series.
The Archos AV320 digital audio/video recorder is available on Amazon
Improving on the original concept, the new AV320 video recorder comes with a larger screen measuring 3.8'' diagonally and the ability to record video live into the unit (the orinial Jukebox Multimedia can record video with an additional recorder option not yet available during our review of that player). The bigger screen is akey element here, making the unit more suitable for for travelers. The record capability is also compelling as it allows commuters to catch the previous nights shows and watch them on the train to work. Like a simplified Tivo or ReplayTV DVR, this option may be the one to drive the most sales of this players, speaking as someone who has spent hours round-trip on mass transit.
The cost of these improvements, though, has meant an increase in the size of the unit. Not only are the dimensions larger, but the weight of the Archos AV320 is more, coming in at 12.5 oz versus the Archos jukebox Multimedia's 9 oz.
We have already contacted Archos about a demo unit and hope to have a review of the player soon. Below are the specifications for the player.
Capacity: 20 GB Hard Disk
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) 320xRGBx240 pixels or TV
AV Connections: Stereo analog Line In & digital SPDIF Line In/Out. Composite Video/ Earphone/ Line Out jack. Built-in microphone.
Playback Autonomy : Up to 10 hours on MP3 or 3 1/2 hours for video on built-in LCD
Scalability: Downloadable firmware 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)
The iRiver iFP-195T is a 512MB Flash unit and is available on Amazon
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