Is the Archos TV+ device from Archos the media-streaming and television recording solution we're all waiting for? As well as acting as a bridge between your computer and television, the Archos TV+ has input connections.

And there are other problems. Despite sporting an HDMI output socket the device can't output high definition. Apparantly this is planned for a future version, so you may want to wait for that Archos TV+ before laying down your money.

The Archos TV+ also required a firmware update before it would work, and lacks half of the functions required of it unless you go online and pay extra for them (these include the H.264 -AAC sound codec required for iTunes and podcasts, MPEG-2.VOB for DVD playback and the Opera web browser.) You'll also need to sign up to TVTV online to get the Archos TV+'s guide to work, although this is free for the first year. There is no mention of how much it will cost in future.

To be honest, all of this pales in comparison next to the over-arching problem with the Archos TV+. Everything from the manual to user interface and remote control appear to have been designed by a sadist.

There is a saying in development companies: "never let a programmer design a user interface" and it seems to be something that Archos has forgotten with the Archos TV+. Say what you like about Media Center and Apple TV, they are at least easy to navigate once you've got them working.

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Archos TV+: Specs

  • 80GB or 250GB hard drive
  • MPEG-4, WMV, MP3 playback
  • optional software plug-ins for H.264, AAC sound, MPEG-2 [email protected] up to 10 Mbps, AC3 stereo sound
  • photo viewer
  • records NTSC/PAL/SECAM to MPEG-4 SP files with ADPCM stereo sound, VGA resolution (640 x 480)@ 30 or 25 f/s, in AVI format, WAV (IMA ADPCM or PCM)
  • USB 2.0, 802.11g, stereo analog, composite, S-video, RGB, YPbPr (component), ethernet, USB slave (USB B), USB host (USB A), infrared receptor for remote control, and DC-in
  • stereo analog, SPDIF (RCA type), composite, S-video, RGB, YPbPr, and HDMI, infrared emitter, AV Switch
  • external power supply
  • 250x164x37mm
  • 1294g