Hours wasted. Very poor...
I was at the press conference yesterday and took one of these to review.
Here are my initial thoughts:-
Setting this thing up is a herculean effort. Instructions are poor by omission of critical information.
-The default settings are for NTSC so don't show up on a standard SCART PAL system on initial device power up. It took over an hour to find this problem and had to initially use HDMI to see the screen.
-Connectors on the back of the device are RGB / phono with 6 each for input and output (making a total of 12).
-There is an HDMI output socket but no HDMI capability in the device (max 576p).
-The device forces you to "register" online to access most of it's functionality. Unfortunately, to register you need to go to your office PC as there is no native browser support (it's an extra plugin at 20 quid).
-EPG doesn't work (even after registration). Unhelpful numeric error code.
-Plugins don't work. 3 plugins downloded all of which returned another unhelpful numeric error code. On further investigation, we found the Archos website was sending us HTTP 404 (file not found) plugin files.
-To install the web browser plugin you need to hook up the TV+ to your PC using a USB cable (not supplied). This would certainly be beyond an average home consumer.
-No HDMI support. The video low resolution output (576p) shows up on HDMI 40" capable TV.
-Plays streaming media from home network. Extra plugins (extra cost) required to play video files.
-Large capacity (250GB version).
-We have yet to get the input (from a HD satellite box) to work with the Archos. It just displays a blank screen but audio works ok.
-The TV+ uses IR to "control" your satellite box, DVD, Freeview or whatever. This means that it need to sit FACING these devices to operate. This is simply "weird" as most home would stack the device underneath / on top to the IR will NEVER work.
At the end of the day (5pm), this is working working:-
-Connected TV+ to TV by SCART (HDMI is a waste of a good TV socket).
-Browse networked media server.
This is NOT working:-
-Internet browser (plugin failure)
-Recording. (EPG failure, video input not working)
-IR control of other devices. (this is simply BARKING mad how Archos design a unit to beam IR horizontally when your external devices are stacked vertically!)
The idea (convergence of media to your living room) is good, but (like many good ideas) it's implementation sucks at the moment.
The humble PS3 outshine this unit in every respect other than the TV+ PVR capabilities (which I've yet to get working). As well as native HDMI support, PS3 has a pretty fine web browser built in (no extra charge / hassle of registering, downloading and installing plugins.
All in all, we have currently a hard disk under the telly. I'll give it a week and try again but this device might end up relegated to a simple external HDD for backing up PC files.
Would I buy one? A resounding No... Sorry Archos.