TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Archos AV420

Volume Number: 20 (2004)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Programming

Focus Review

Archos AV420

by Dave Mark

Here is a wonderful gadget that combines the video recording features of your Tivo or ReplayTV with the portability of a Game Boy.

To start things off this year, we've got a wonderful gadget that combines the video recording features of your Tivo or ReplayTV with the portability of a Game Boy. The Archos AV420 is a pocket video recorder. It comes with a cradle that you hook up to your video source using either three RCA connections (red, white, and yellow) or two RCAs (red and white) for audio and an S-Video connector for higher quality video. There's also an AC adapter that you'll need to plug into the wall. Once you are connected, plug the AV420 into the cradle and you are ready to start recording.

Figure 1. The AV40, in its cradle, playing video.

In its simplest configuration, the AV420 acts like a VCR. Set your video source to watch what you want to record and the video signal appears on your AV420's display. Press the record button and the AV420 starts capturing the video. The AV420 will continue to record until it either runs out of hard drive space or you press the stop button. The 420 comes with a 20 GB hard drive which equates to about 80 hours of recorded video. Once you stop recording, the recorded video is saved into an MPEG-4 SP format with ADPCM stereo sound.

The AV420 interface is easy to use. To play video, use the arrow keys to highlight the Video icon, then press the center button. You are presented with a very Window-like directory listing of all the video files in the video directory. Scroll down till you select a file you want to play, then press the center button. That's it.

Figure 2. The front panel of the AV420, immediately after booting.

The AV420 comes with a pair of reasonable quality ear-bud headphones with a built in thumb wheel volume control. You can also adjust the volume by pressing the up and down arrows. Since I like to share (and who doesn't?), I use a Boosteroo headset amplifier so two of us can watch video at the same time. I lower the volume on the headset thumb wheel, then use the arrow keys to raise the volume till my viewing partner is happy. I can then use the thumb wheel on my headset to fine tune my volume. The Boosteroo is very cool (

If you like, you can use the AV420 to drive an external video device. The cradle comes with a set of 3 RCA cables labeled AV-out. Plug those into your TV or VCR and press the TV/LCD button and the video output will go to the external device instead of to the AV420's LCD display.

Much More Thanks Just a Video Recorder

I love the whole idea of being able to load up 80 hours of video and taking it on the road. We went to the beach for a week and recorded movies, hours and hours of the kids favorite shows, and even a couple of Sopranos episodes for me. But, as I discovered, there is so much more that this machine can do. It has a built-in microphone so you can record audio on-the-go. The hard drive is just as happy with MP3 files and photos as it is with video files.

You can use the built in USB 2.0 port to connect the machine to your computer and move your photos and music collection back and forth. The battery life is terrific. I regularly got more than 3 hours of life with the LCD driven the entire time. And if you pop the AV420 in the cradle, you can watch video as you recharge the battery. Just like a laptop.

The AV420 also comes with a relatively simple recording scheduler, so you can use the AV420 like a VCR. The unit comes with an IR emitter so you can change channels on your satellite receiver or VCR.

There's also a built-in CompactFlash Type I slot that takes your cameras CompactFlash card or an optional Archos adapter for SD, SM, MMC, MS and MS Pro. This means you can take a bunch of pictures, fill up your camera's card, then pop out the card and pop it into the AV420. The AV4220 makes it easy to copy a single file or all the files from your card to the AV420 hard drive. You can use the LCD screen to preview the pictures, though things do slow down if your picture sizes tend toward the multiple megabyte size.

Price and Size

The Archos AV420 lists for $549, but the street price can run as much as $100 less. It's about 3 inches by 5 inches and about 7/8 of an inch deep. The AV420 weighs just under 10 ounces. It comes with a carrying case that is designed to protect the screen. The carrying case features a Velcro closure, as well as elastic on the sides which make it very easy to get the unit in the case. The case does an excellent job protecting the AV420, but does not allow space for the headset. Seems to me, this is in line with the iPod cases I've seen as well.

The Future of the iPod?

Speaking of the iPod, as I played with the AV420, I couldn't help but sense that I was getting a peek into the iPod's future. Now that we have a color iPod, can't you just see the iTunes store starting to carry a variety of video for download to the iPod? I see this as a logical next step. That's the future. For now, the Archos AV420 will do quite nicely!

Dave Mark is a long-time Mac developer and author and has written a number of books on Macintosh development. Dave has been writing for MacTech since its birth! Be sure to check out the new Learn C on the Macintosh, Mac OS X Edition at


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Markly 1.5.3 - Create measurement and de...
Markly is a measurement and design-spec plugin/extension for Photoshop and Sketch. It is made for modern Web designers and app front-end developers. You can add specification marks simply by clicking... Read more
Suitcase Fusion 6 17.3.0 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 6 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.2 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
calibre 2.40.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Vivaldi - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
OmniPlan 3.0 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.11 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client fo...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
Tweetbot 2.1 - Popular Twitter client. (...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
MacPilot 8.0 - Enable over 1,200 hidden...
MacPilot gives you the power of UNIX and the simplicity of Macintosh, which means a phenomenal amount of untapped power in your hands! Use MacPilot to unlock over 1,200 features, and access them all... Read more
Typinator 6.7 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more

Balloony Land offers a fresh twist on th...
Balloony Land by Palringo offers a fresh twist on the match three genre and is out now on iOS and Android. First-off, you'll be popping balloons instead of crushing candy and the balloons will float up and fill the empty spaces instead of dropping... | Read more »
Graphic - vector illustration and design...
Graphic - vector illustration and design 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Autodesk Graphic is a powerful full-featured vector drawing and illustration application right in... | Read more »
Sago Mini Babies (Education)
Sago Mini Babies 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Introducing the Sago Mini babies. Boys and girls love caring for these adorable characters. Feed Robin her favorite mush... | Read more »
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip (H...
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip 1.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Healthcare & Fitness Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Super Sharp (Games)
Super Sharp 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Your finger has never been so sharp! Cut with skill to complete the 120 ingenious physics levels of Super Sharp and become a cut... | Read more »
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone...
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Assembly is the easiest most powerful design tool on the App Store. Create anything you can... | Read more »
Dub Dash (Games)
Dub Dash 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ARE YOU READY FOR THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? UNIQUE SYMBIOSIS OF MUSIC AND GRAPHICS | Read more »
Leave Me Alone (Games)
Leave Me Alone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 33% off launch sale!!! Somewhere between the 1980s and 1990s there exists a world that never was. A world of skatepunks,... | Read more »
YAMGUN (Games)
YAMGUN 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The invasion has begun! Protect the walls of the citadel against waves of enemies! But watch out, you will soon run out of ammo...... | Read more »
Chesh (Games)
Chesh 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It’s like chess, only not at all. ***40% off for a limited time to celebrate our launch!*** Chesh is a game of skill, strategy, luck,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

TP-LINK Next-Gen Routers Support a Large Numb...
TP-LINK, specialists in consumer and business networking products, have announced the availability of Archer C2600, the company’s next-generation router featuring wireless AC, multi-user MIMO, and 4-... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Save up to $350 with Apple refurbished iMacs
Apple has Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $350 off MSRP - 27... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2818.99, $181 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3699... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP, fre...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, $150 off MSRP... Read more
Twelve South Redesigns BookArc For Today’s Sm...
Twelve South has announced a redesigned version of their very first product, BookArc for MacBook. Tailored specifically for the newest generation of MacBooks, BookArc holds the new, smaller Apple... Read more
Phone 6s Tips & Tricks – Tips Book For iP...
Poole, United Kingdom based Tap Guides Ltd. has announced the release and immediate availability of iPhone 6s Tips & Tricks, an in-depth eBook available in the iBookstore that’s priced just $2.99... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $994,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $994.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $105 off MSRP. Price valid... Read more
Is The iPad Pro Really A Serious Laptop Repla...
Probably not, at least for productive professionals and other power users. Steve Jobs declared that we’d entered the “post-PC Era” with the advent of the original iPad in 2010, a phrase we don’t hear... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…work with some of the brightest engineers. Job Description Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Points:Depth of Read more
*Apple* Retail Online, Customer Experience R...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail's Online Store sells Apple products to customers around the world. In addition to selling Apple products with unique services such Read more
Frameworks Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple...
**Job Summary** Join the team that is shaping the future of software development for Apple Watch! As a software engineer on the Apple Watch Frameworks team you will Read more
Senior Manager, Global Direct Marketing *App...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail is looking for an experienced Direct Marketing Leader to join its Marketing team. This position will take a leadership role in creating Read more
*Apple* Online Store Expansion - Apple (Unit...
**Job Summary** The Online Apple Store is seeking a person to lead its expansion into new countries. Based in Cupertino, CA, this person will develop and maintain an Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.