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 (http://www.boosteroo.com).

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 http://www.spiderworks.com.

 
AAPL
$97.19
Apple Inc.
+2.47
MSFT
$44.87
Microsoft Corpora
+0.04
GOOG
$595.98
Google Inc.
+1.24

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Firefox 31.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox for Mac offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals... Read more
Little Snitch 3.3.3 - Alerts you to outg...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activityAs soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Thunderbird 31.0 - Email client from Moz...
As of July 2012, Thunderbird has transitioned to a new governance model, with new features being developed by the broader free software and open source community, and security fixes and improvements... Read more
Together 3.2 - Store and organize all of...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop functionality,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.5 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
iExplorer 3.4 - View and transfer all th...
iExplorer is an iPhone browser for Mac lets you view the files on your iOS device. By using a drag and drop interface, you can quickly copy files and folders between your Mac and your iPhone or... Read more
Airmail 1.4 - Powerful, minimal email cl...
Airmail is a powerful, minimal mail client.It was designed to retain the same experience with a single or multiple accounts and provide a quick, modern and easy-to-use user experience. Airmail... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.1.12 - Monitor and co...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.37 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.9 - Fo...
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. This update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected and fixes a rare issue... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Together for iOS (Productivity)
Together for iOS 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Together is an app for keeping things in one place. Notes, documents, images, movies, sounds, web pages and bookmarks... | Read more »
Traps n' Gemstones (Games)
Traps n' Gemstones 1.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.00 (iTunes) Description: LAUNCH SALE! 40% off, JULY ONLY! TRAPS N' GEMSTONES is an adventurous platform game, among gamers typically known as the... | Read more »
Soccer Physics (Games)
Soccer Physics 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: One-button soccer game! So dumb it's fun. "Soccer Physics is probably the funniest football game you'll play on iOS" —... | Read more »
Ex-Angry Birds Developers Release Monsu...
Ex-Angry Birds Developers Release Monsu Teaser Trailer Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Finnish developer Boomlagoon has released a teaser trailer of their forthcoming side-scrolling action platformer, | Read more »
Lots of New Modes Have Been Added to Can...
Lots of New Modes Have Been Added to Canabalt Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Stronghold 3: The Campaigns Review
Stronghold 3: The Campaigns Review By Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DULL STRATEGIZINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad A cumbersome strategy game, Stronghold 3: The Campaigns has a few too many issues to... | Read more »
Table Tennis Touch on Sale for a Limited...
Table Tennis Touch on Sale for a Limited Time Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Secret Files Tunguska Review
Secret Files Tunguska Review By Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: CONSPIRACY-LITTERED ADVENTURINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Offering traditional adventuring with no fear of in-app purchases, Secret... | Read more »
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat L...
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat Learning Library Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dragon Raiders Review
Dragon Raiders Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: RUN, DRAGON, RUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dragon Raiders is rough and scaly in some parts, but overall it’s an enjoyable level-based running... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

What Should Apple’s Next MacBook Priority Be;...
Stabley Times’ Phil Moore says that after expanding its iMac lineup with a new low end model, Apple’s next Mac hardware decision will be how it wants to approach expanding its MacBook lineup as well... Read more
ArtRage For iPhone Painting App Free During C...
ArtRage for iPhone is currently being offered for free (regularly $1.99) during Comic-Con San Diego #SDCC, July 24-27, in celebration of the upcoming ArtRage 4.5 and other 64-bit versions of the... Read more
With The Apple/IBM Alliance, Is The iPad Now...
Almost since the iPad was rolled out in 2010, and especially after Apple made a 128 GB storage configuration available in 2012, there’s been debate over whether the iPad is a serious tool for... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale starting at $799, free s...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Display (refurbished) a...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils Cycling Ride Pouch...
High end computer case and bag maker WaterField Designs of San Francisco now enters the cycling market with the introduction of the Cycling Ride Pouch – an upscale toolkit with a scratch-free iPhone... Read more
Kingston Digital Ships Large Capacity Near 1T...
Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc.,has announced its latest addition to the SSDNow V300 series, the V310. The Kingston SSDNow V310 solid-state... Read more
Apple’s Fiscal Third Quarter Results; Record...
Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended June 28, 2014, racking up quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Retina on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1829 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $170 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Interaction Designer, *Apple* Online...
**Job Summary** Apple is looking for a hands on Senior…will be a key player in designing for the Apple Online Store. The ideal designer will have a Read more
*Apple* Sales Chat Rep - Apple (United State...
…is looking for motivated, outgoing, and tech savvy individuals who want to offer Apple Customers an unparalleled customer experience over chat. At Apple , we believe Read more
Mac Expert - *Apple* Online Store Mexico -...
…MUST be fluent in English and Spanish to be considered for this position At Apple , we believe that hard work, a fun environment, creativity and innovation fuel the Read more
*Apple* Industrial Design CAD Sculptor - App...
**Job Summary** The Apple Industrial Design team is looking for a CAD sculptor/Digital 3D modeler to create high quality CAD models used in the industrial design process Read more
*Apple* Developer Support Advisor - Portugue...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.