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.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Google Drive 1.20 - File backup and shar...
Google Drive is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé, or... Read more
Simon 4.0.3 - Monitor changes and crashe...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.23 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
iDefrag 5.0.0 - Disk defragmentation and...
iDefrag helps defragment and optimize your disk for improved performance. Features include: Supports HFS and HFS+ (Mac OS Extended). Supports case sensitive and journaled filesystems. Supports... Read more
PCalc 4.2 - Full-featured scientific cal...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more
FileZilla 3.10.2 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.10.2: Note: Now requires a 64-bit Intel processor.... Read more
The Hit List 1.1.11 - Advanced reminder...
The Hit List manages the daily chaos of your modern life. It's easy to learn - it's as easy as making lists. And it's powerful enough to let you plan, then forget, then act when the time is right.... Read more
Bartender 1.2.32 - Organize your menu ba...
Bartender lets you organize your menu bar apps. Features: Lets you tidy your menu bar apps how you want. See your menu bar apps when you want. Hide the apps you need to run, but do not need to... Read more
ClamXav 2.7.5 - Free virus checker, base...
ClamXav is a free virus checker for OS X. It uses the tried, tested, and very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end. I hope you like and use ClamXav a lot and that it helps keep... Read more
xScope 4.1.2 - Onscreen graphic measurem...
xScope is powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting, and testing on-screen graphics and layouts. Its tools float above your desktop windows and can be accessed via a toolbar,... Read more

Dungeon Hunter 5 Coming on March 12
Gameloft has excitedly announced that Dungeon Hunter 5 is on its way! Once again, you will adventure across the land of Valenthia exploring dungeons and fighting monsters. The game will have a new asynchronous multiplayer mode called Strongholds... | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Jurojin: Immortal N...
At this point it’s pretty safe to say that no MOBA is going to dethrone Dota 2 and League of Legends anytime soon. After all, if Batman can’t do it, nobody can. However, with a genre as popular and profitable as this one, there’s still room for... | Read more »
Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Advent...
Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Adventures! Review By Amy Solomon on March 3rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: LIVELY LANDSCAPESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Adventures! includes farm-related... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: February 23-27, 20...
Final February Fun at 148Apps   How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out... | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Does Not Commute is Definitel...
GDC 2015 – Does Not Commute is Definitely a Game You Should Keep an Eye on Posted by Rob Rich on March 2nd, 2015 [ permalink ] We were teased about Mediocre Games’ (Smash Hit, | Read more »
F84 Games & POW! Announce Stan Lee V...
F84 Games has announced that it is working with legendary comic creator Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment to produce Stan Lee’s Hero Command. The game will be a action adventure of heroic proportions. | Read more »
Setlyst Keeps Your Set Straight So You C...
Setlyst Keeps Your Set Straight So You Can Focus On Rocking Out. Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 2nd, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Space is Vast, So Space Agency Has a Vas...
Space is Vast, So Space Agency Has a Vast New Update! Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 2nd, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Size DOES Matter Review
Size DOES Matter Review By Campbell Bird on March 2nd, 2015 Our Rating: :: HARD TO BEATUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This rhythm game has a unique control scheme and performance system that make it feel like a true... | Read more »
The first ever action 3D card battler Al...
On the other hand, you probably haven’t played an action 3D card battler – until now. Step forward, All Star Legion. All Star Legion is a 3D QTE-based action RPG card battler, but fear not – the game itself isn’t as convoluted as its description.... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Another Tranche Of IBM MobileFirst For iOS Ap...
IBM has announced the next expansion phase for  its IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio, with a troika of new apps to address key priorities for the Banking and Financial Services, Airline and Retail... Read more
Sale! 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $250 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
WaterField Designs Introduces the Minimalist...
With Apple Pay gaining popularity, Android Pay coming in May 2015, and loyalty cards and receipts that can be accessed from smartphones, San Francisco’s WaterField Designs observes that it may be... Read more
Sale! 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro for $...
 Best Buy has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1774.99 $1799.99, or $225 off MSRP. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price valid for online orders... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $170 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on...
 B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
Apple Launches Free Web-Based Pages and Other...
Apple’s new Web-only access to iWork productivity apps is a free level of iCloud service available to anyone, including people who don’t own or use Apple devices. The service includes access to Apple... Read more
Survey Reveals Solid State Disk (SSD) Technol...
In a recent SSD technology use survey, Kroll Ontrack, a firm specializing in data recovery, found that while nearly 90 percent of respondents leverage the performance and reliability benefits of SSD... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Pay Automation Engineer - iOS System...
**Job Summary** At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring passion and dedication to your job Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Event Director, *Apple* Retail Marketing -...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global engagement strategy and team. Delivering an overarching brand Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**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.