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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.