RCA to Release MPEG4 Portable Player/Recorder

By Richard Menta 6/14/03

We are presently in the middle of reviewing the Archos AV320, a digital audio/video hand held that was released late spring. The AV320 is the successor to the unit that invented this new segment of digital entertainment portables, the Archos Multimedia Jukebox. Presently, Archos has a monopoly on such units, which are targeted to those who trade video as well as audio files. This will change as a new major manufacturer is joining this exclusive club, the RCA Audio/Video Jukeox.

The RCA Lyra Audio/Video Jukebox

RCA's entry in this nascent category is going into production soon for fall release. Like the Archos units it is a 20GB player. Utilizing a 3 1/2" screen, the RCA Audio/Video Jukeox is closer to the new Archos 320 than the granddaddy of mediabox's, the Archos Multimedia Jukebox. This is because the larger screen, which displays a GUI similar to a high end PDA rather than just a directory list.

The RCA Audio/Video Jukeox records video too, like both Archos' do. The dimensions of the unit are Depth 1 in, Height 5.2 in, Width 3.14 in. This is slightly larger than the Archos AV320's at Depth 1.2 in, Height 4.4 in, Width 3.2 in. dimensions. RCA doesn't offer the weight of the unit, assume it is comperable to the AV320's 12.5 oz.

There will be many more of these mediabox players coming in the next few years. As the trading of video files increase over the Net, those who trade will be drawn to such units, which also play the MP3 tunes they likewise trade. This is not something that pleases the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), but at this point it seems like a natural extension of digital music players. The electronic giants are always looking for new mass-produced devices to replace seasoned lines like standard CD players and RCA's entry will draw the rest. Besides, competitors don't want to see Archos have a monopoly on this niche for too long.

There is no price yet on the Lyra Audio/Video Jukebox, but figure a street price of about $500. We will do a review of this unit when it becomes available. Below are the specs for the Lyra Audio/Video Jukebox:


Product type Hard Drive player
Digital audio standards supported MP3, WMA, MP3Pro
Digital storage Hard Disk Drive - built-in - 20 GB
Software included MusicMatch
Depth 1 in
Height 5.2 in
Width 3.14 in
Headphone type Included
Carrying case Pouch
Package contents RD2780 player, power adapter, headphones, 1 x A/V cable, carrying pouch, docking cradle

Cable(s) included 1 x A/V cable
Slot(s) provided 1 x CompactFlash Card

Supported interface(s) USB 2.0

CD Player
ID3 tag support Yes
Video Playback Features
Display size 3.5 in TFT active matrix

The Nomad Zen can be ordered from Amazon.


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