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

Civilization VI 1.0.0 - Next iteration o...
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the next entry in the popular Civilization franchise. Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a strategy game in which you attempt to... Read more
Paperless 2.3.7 - $49.95
Paperless is a digital documents manager. Remember when everyone talked about how we would soon be a paperless society? Now it seems like we use paper more than ever. Let's face it - we need and we... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.1.3 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more
Apple Numbers 4.0.5 - Apple's sprea...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
Xcode 8.1 - Integrated development envir...
Xcode includes everything developers need to create great applications for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Xcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing... Read more
iShowU Instant 1.1.0 - Full-featured scr...
iShowU Instant gives you real-time screen recording like you've never seen before! It is the fastest, most feature-filled real-time screen capture tool from shinywhitebox yet. All of the features you... Read more
RestoreMeNot 2.0.4 - Disable window rest...
RestoreMeNot provides a simple way to disable the window restoration for individual applications so that you can fine-tune this behavior to suit your needs. Please note that RestoreMeNot is designed... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 2.9.6 - Knowledge base, i...
DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research papers, your life often fills your hard drive in the... Read more
Apple Pages 6.0.5 - Apple's word pr...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices, and... Read more
Safari Technology Preview 10.1 - The new...
Safari Technology Preview contains the most recent additions and improvements to WebKit and the latest advances in Safari web technologies. And once installed, you will receive notifications of... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The 4 best food delivery apps
As the temperatures continue to drop, so does the motivation to venture outside. Sometimes you still want to eat a nice meal from that sushi place down the road though. Thankfully in these trying times, there are a number of fine food delivery... | Read more »
Toca Life: Farm (Education)
Toca Life: Farm 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Work and play the farmer's way! Milk your cow, gather eggs from your hens and raise your crops. Have a picnic, play the... | Read more »
The Lost Shield (Games)
The Lost Shield 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The Lost shield is a brick break/adventure game. You play as a hero who must return a powerful but dangerous magic shield... | Read more »
The Forgotten Room (Games)
The Forgotten Room 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Play as paranormal investigator John “Buster of Ghosts” Murr as he explores yet another mysteriously creepy house. This... | Read more »
5 Halloween mobile games for wimps
If you're anything like me, horror games are a great way to have nightly nightmares for the next decade or three. They're off limits, but perhaps you want to get in on the Halloween celebrations in some way. Fortunately not all Halloween themed... | Read more »
The 5 scariest mobile games
It's the most wonderful time of the year for people who enjoy scaring themselves silly with haunted houses, movies, video games, and what have you. Mobile might not be the first platform you'd turn to for quality scares, but rest assured there are... | Read more »
Lifeline: Flatline (Games)
Lifeline: Flatline 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The Lifeline series takes a terrifying turn in this interactive horror experience. Every decision you make could help... | Read more »
Game of Dice is now available on Faceboo...
After celebrating its anniversary in style with a brand new update, there’s even more excitement in store for Game of Dice has after just being launched on Facebook Gameroom. A relatively new platform, Facebook Gameroom has been designed for PC... | Read more »
4 addictive clicker games like Best Fien...
Clickers are passive games that take advantage of basic human psychology to suck you in, and they're totally unashamed of that. As long as you're aware that this game has been created to take hold of your brain and leave you perfectly content to... | Read more »
Smile Inc. Guide: How not to die on the...
As if Mondays weren't bad enough, at Smile Inc. you have to deal with giant killer donuts, massive hungry staplers, and blasting zones. It's not exactly a happy, thriving work environment. In fact, you'll be lucky to survive the nine to five.... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Apple Unveils Redesigned MacBook Pro With Tou...
October 27, 2016 – Apple today introduced the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro yet, along with a new interface innovation that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a Retina-quality... Read more
Apple Unveils New TV App for Apple TV, iPhone...
October 27, 2016 – Apple today introduced a new TV app, offering a unified experience for discovering and accessing TV shows and movies from multiple apps on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. The TV app... Read more
Price drops on select refurbished 2015 13″ Re...
Apple dropped prices on select Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pros by as much as $90. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/256GB... Read more
Apple reveals new next-generation 15″ and 13″...
Apple today revealed their next-generation 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros. The new models are thinner and lighter than before with a new aluminum design featuring an enhanced keyboard with retina, multi-... Read more
Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Up 1.0% Year o...
According to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 362.9 million smartphones worldwide in the third... Read more
TuneBand Arm Band For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Rel...
Grantwood Technology has added the TuneBand for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to its smartphone armband series. The TuneBand provides a lightweight and comfortable way to wear the iPhone while running,... Read more
1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449, save $50
Adorama has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini (Apple sku# MGEM2LL/A): $449 $50 off MSRP To purchase a mini at... Read more
21-inch 1.6GHz iMac on sale for $999, save $1...
B&H has the 21″ 1.6GHz Apple iMac on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Macs’ Superior Enterprise Deployment Cost Eco...
IBM’s debunking of conventional wisdom and popular mythology about the relative cost of using Apple Mac computers as opposed to PCs running Microsoft Windows at the sixth annual Jamf Nation User... Read more
12-inch WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for $50-...
B&H Photo has 12″ WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for $50-$70 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749 $50 off MSRP -... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Software Engineering Intern: UI Applications...
Job Summary Apple is currently seeking enthusiastic interns who can work full-time for a minimum of 12-weeks between Fall 2015 and Summer 2016. Our software Read more
Security Data Analyst - *Apple* Information...
…data sources need to be collected to allow Information Security to better protect Apple employees and customers from a wide range of threats.Act as the subject Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 52812872 Houston, Texas, United States Posted: Oct. 18, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.