Product Review (July 2008) - Archos
605 WiFi Portable Media Player
with Dish Network Plug-in

By Kevin Nakano

Dish Network has become well-known for their powerful line of DVRs (ViP622™ and ViP722™) that are not only easy to use, but also feature the ability to plug in an external USB hard drive to expand their storage capacity. Earlier last year we covered the PocketDish portable media player (PMP) that allowed customers with Dish DVRs to take their standard definition content on the road. We took many of our favorite shows on trips making travel so much more bearable, especially on those long flights. Not too long after their initial release the PocketDISH units became difficult to find and customers were asking for the next generation products. That time has come with the release of the next generation PMPs. Rather than roll out a new line of PocketDish media players, Dish Network decided to once again team up Archos (makers of the original PocketDISH units) to provide support for portable Dish Network content with their newest "Generation 5" PMPs (Archos 405, 605 WiFi, and 705 WiFi models). The exclusive ARCHOS plug-in for DISH Network customers is part of a larger strategic alliance between parent company EchoStar Communications Corporation and ARCHOS that has been in place for almost three years. These new media players have a special software plug-in that allows Dish content to be transferred to the portable units though the USB interface. For this review, we will cover the 30GB version of the Archos 605 WiFi portable media player.

Setting it Up
The Archos 605 WiFi unit requires the installation of a set of free plug-in files on the media player before Dish Network content can be transferred and stored for playback. Files can be downloaded from the Archos website by providing the Product Key Code and Serial Number from the Archos media player and the DishNet Receiver ID on the DVR. The plug-in files need to be copied to the top level of the Archos hard drive. Once this procedure is complete, the unit is ready to have files downloaded from the DVR. Our unit immediately worked with our Vip722 DVR. In addition to playing Dish Network content, the ARCHOS 605 WiFi has a whole host of features and supports JPEG, BMP, and PNG photos, MP3, WAV, and protected WMA audio files, as well as MPEG-2/4, WMV and H.264 video files. Several other plug-ins are available at an additional cost.

Features
The ARCHOS 605 WiFi features a 4.3" high resolution (800 X 480) touchscreen giving it full DVD video resolution capability and features up to 16 million colors. The unit measures only 4.8" wide, 3.2" tall, and 0.6" deep for the 30GB version and 0.75" deep for the larger 80GB or 160GB versions. A small speaker sits below the screen and works well for up close and personal movie watching. The touchscreen enables users to easily operate the device with a touch of a finger or stylus. The high-speed USB 2.0 interface transfers files quickly. The unit powers through the USB cable, but can also be charged using the optional power adapter. A lithium-ion polymer battery holds the charge and provides the user with up to 5.5 hours of video playback or up to 17 hours of audio playback time. The unit includes a protective pouch, DVR station adapter, USB cable, set of earbuds, and a quick-start guide. The recording feature of the 605 WiFi requires a docking station ($99.99) or travel DVR adapter ($69.99) from Archos.

The Archos TV Program Guide provides users with an up to date selection of available programs and has a user interface that is easy to use. The guide can be updated using the free ArchosLink software or through the WiFi connection. While the feature list for the ARCHOS 605 WiFi is large, our focus was on the ability to play Dish Network media using this unit.

Make the Connection
Once the Archos media player is loaded with the Dish Network plug-in files, the user can simply connect the player to the ViP622 or ViP722 Dish Network DVR using the USB cable. We used the front panel USB connection for our tests. Once connected, the DVR will recognize the media player and prompt the user with the option of managing the content. It should be noted than only standard definition material can be transferred to the media player even though the DVR supports both high-definition and standard definition content.

File Management
The shows available on the Archos player are displayed on the screen under the Manage Device section of the Dish Recordings menu. Users can transfer files to the Archos using the Send to Device section of the menu in the same Dish Recordings menu. The user can select any of the non-HD programs to be transferred to the media player. Each 1/2 hour program takes up less than 1/2GB of storage space on the media player. The total storage capacity on the player is shown on the screen for reference. It should be noted that Dish Network high-definition programs cannot be transferred to the unit for playback. The user interface is intuitive and simple to use.

Transferring Files
Once the shows to be transferred to the Archos media player are selected, the DVR will display the progress of the transfer being performed in bar graph and time form. File transfer time is fast with the USB 2.0 connection. The user can select View TV while the data transfer continues in the background. The two 1/2 hour programs selected in the previous section took just a few minutes to transfer to our media player.

The ARCHOS 605 WiFi has three indicators on the side of the unit for TV, HDD (Hard Disc Drive) and CHG (charge light). There is also a standard 3.5mm (1/8") jack that can be connected to headphones, AV output cables, or an S/PDIF cable for digital audio. When the unit is connected to a USB interface the Charge (CHG) light will illuminate. Once the CHG light begins to flash, the unit is fully charged.

Interfaces
The bottom of the 605 WiFi has a set of propriety connectors used for the USB and travel DVR adapter. The unit does not have a removable battery, but Archos does sell an external battery pack for around $50. There is also no AC charger for the unit, but instead gets it charge from the USB interface. Unfortunately, there is no slot to hold the stylus so it is bound to get lost over time. Web browsing is nice on this media player and is fairly easy to use with the QWERTY keyboard. Speed through our wireless network was a bit slow, but completely acceptable.

Conclusion
The Archos 605WiFi is an excellent portable media player (PMP) and Dish Network was wise to partner with them to bring a unique, yet powerful feature to its satellite customers. This media player is built on a stable platform with a beautiful, high contrast and high resolution DVD quality display. In contrast to the earlier media players we have seen, the new Archos 605WiFi produce a sharper and punchier picture. This single media player can be used for all types of media and supports MP3 music and other video formats. The long lasting battery makes this PMP a great choice for all your digital content.

- Kevin Nakano





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Review - At a Glance


Archos - 605 WiFi Portable Media Player

with Dish Network DVR Plug-in

 

Features

Capacity:

30GB* hard drive stores up to 40 Movies, 300,000 photos or 15,000 songs*
80GB* hard drive stores up to 100 Movies, 800,000 photos or 45,000 songs*
160GB* hard drive stores up to 200 Movies, 1 million photos or 95,000 songs*

Display:

High resolution Touch Screen, 800x480 pixels, 4.3" TFT LCD, 16 million colors

Video Playback:

MPEG-4(4) (ASP@L5 AVI, up to DVD resolution)
WMV (MP@ML, up to DVD resolution)
With optional software plug-ins (available for purchase on www.archos.com):
- Video Podcast plug-in: H.264 up to DVD resolution and AAC
- Cinema Plug-in: MPEG-2 MP@ML up to 10 Mbps (up to DVD resolution) and AC3 stereo sound (5.1)

Audio Playback:

Stereo MP3 decoding @ 30-320 Kbits/s CBR & VBR, WMA, Protected WMA, WAV (PCM/ADPCM).
With optional software plug-ins (available on www.archos.com):
- AAC5 stereo audio files
- AC3 stereo audio and 5.1 sound files

Photo Viewer:

JPEG, BMP, PNG

PDF Viewer:

Reads PDF documents (may not implement all PDF features)

Video Recording:

Via the optional DVR Station/ DVR Travel Adapter. Records NTSC/PAL/SECAM in MPEG-4 AVI format with stereo sound, VGA resolution (640 x 480) @ 30 or 25 f/s

Audio Recording:

Via the optional DVR Station/ DVR Travel Adapter: Stereo line-in, WAV (IMA ADPCM or PCM) format

Interfaces:

USB 2.0 High-Speed Device (compatible USB 1.1): Mass Storage Class (MSC) and Media Transport Protocol (MTP)
USB 2.0 Host: Mass Storage Class (MSC) and Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) with optional Mini Dock, Battery Dock and DVR stations

Connections:

WiFi (802.11g) connection. Optional Internet plug-in (Opera® Web browser and Adobe Flash® Player) for Web browsing (for purchase on www.archos.com)
3.5 mm mini jack for headphones
Docking connectors to connect DVR Station and other ARCHOS accessories

Battery Life:

Music playback time: 17
Video playback time: 5.5

Power Source :

Internal: Lithium-Ion Polymer battery
Device charges via computer USB port
External: Power adapter/charger (via optional accessories)

Scalability:

Device automatically downloads latest firmware updates

Dimensions &
Weight:

Avg 122 x 82 x 15 mm/4.8" x 3.2" x 0.6" (For 4/30GB* models) - 150gr/190gr
Avg 122 x 82 x 20 mm/4.8" x 3.2" x 0.75" (For 80/160GB* models) - 260gr

Package Includes :

ARCHOS 605 WiFi, headphones, ARCHOS USB cable, DVR Station Gen 5 adapter, protective pouch, Quick Start Guide (QSG), legal and safety notice.

Minimum System Requirements:

For PC: Windows ME, 2000, XP, Media Center; Macintosh®: OS X or higher (with USB Mass Storage Class support), Linux (with mass storage device support), USB port.
For PlaysForSureTM video and subscription services: PC with Windows® XP SP 2 or higher, Windows® Media Player 10 or higher, USB 2.0 port.
For uPnp : Windows XP SP2 or higher, Vista SP1 or higher, Windows Media Player 11

Archos 605 WiFi Manual

Package Contents

  • Archos 605 WiFi Unit
  • USB 2.0 cable
  • DVR Station Gen 5 Adapter
  • Stereo headphones
  • Protective pouch
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Legal and Safety Notice


    Company Information
    Archos Inc.
    7951 E.Maplewood Avenue #260
    Greenwood Village, CO 80111

    Fax: 303-962-3365
    Email: us-info@archos.com

    MSRP: $399

    URL: www.archos.com


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