Video buzz

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 September, 2006, 12:00am

While everyone waits for the second coming of the iPod in video form, French company Archos has quietly introduced two new contenders into the market.

While Apple, Creative Technologies and other portable multimedia player (PMP) makers moved into multimedia and colour screens after introducing basic MP3 players, Archos pioneered the PMP market.

Its early models were bulky, however, and did not create much of a buzz. Now, the company's upcoming 404 and 604 models should give the market something to talk about.

Both models will be equipped with 30GB hard disk drives, and significantly larger screens than other PMP players on the market.

The 404 comes with a 3.5-inch viewing window, and the 604 will feature a 4.3-inch display - the same size as Sony's PlayStation Portable. In comparison, the latest iPods come with a 2.5-inch display.

Despite the larger screen size, the players are only slightly thicker than iPods and are packed with features.

In addition to playing back most audio, photo and video file formats, the players allow you to listen to music and view photos at the same time, which many players on the market do not.

With the included software, you can even add transactional effects and audio to your photo slide shows.

Like most Archos players, the two new models will support connections to standard TV sets through an optional DVR station.

This allows the players to play and record content from TV much like your standard DVD recorder.

The Archos 404 and 604 are available for pre-order from the company's website for US$299 and US$349 respectively.

PROS: large colour display, thin, connects to TV for playback and recording

CONS: Need to purchase DVR station to use with TV