Cons: Additional plug ins bring the price up; No HD recording; Complicated freeview connection
Bottomline: The Archos TV+ looks good on the box but opening it up brings a host of problems. Add to this additional charges and all you will get is disappointment
Plenty of people, including such big names as Apple and BT, have come up with devices that record live television and bridge the gap between a computer and a video recorder.
The Archos TV+ is the new kid on the block, the idea being to let people wirelessly stream PC files, such as music and video, to their TV sets, without switching on the computer. It also doubles as a personal video recorder (PVR) and lets people surf the internet.
It sounds like a lot to take on, and if you think it sounds too good you'd be right, something we discovered as soon as we took the device out of its box.
The TV+ is impressively tiny, which makes it easy to put under any television. In theory this is a good thing until we tried to connect the device up to our digital (Freeview) box to record a programme.
The device uses an infrared signal, like the one found on a remote control, to talk to the Freeview box. This means that the boxes must sit face-to-face, which could pose a problem for those with little space or with a sectioned cabinet and using a remote control.
More disappointments followed. Although the TV+ comes with connections for a high-definition television, it does not support high-definition recordings, and the recordings it did make were blurred and often blocky.
We tried to use the included mini-keyboard remote control to surf the internet, but this bought up another barrier: keeping down the initial purchase price. Archos requires people to pay an additional £20 for the web-browser software.
On the plus side, the music-streaming side of the device is impressive. It allowed us to browse for other tracks during playback, and sound quality was impressive. Although it supports MP3 and WMA files, those wanting AAC, the format of the iTunes store and of iPods, have to shell out another £20 for yet more extra software from Archos.
The Archos TV+ is impressive impressive in theory, but reality tells a different story. The device isn’t cheap, at £180 for the one with an 80GB hard disk and £250 for the 250GB edition. Add on to this the two £20 plug-ins and you are left with an expensive device that doesn’t really do what it should.
Vista compatible: N/A