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Photos: Archos 605 WiFi up close

Jasmine and I had an opportunity to spend just a little time with the new Archos 605 WiFi portable video player. So far, it looks like a real gem.

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Donald Bell
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Here's an example of the Archos 605 WiFi streaming a Flash video file directly from YouTube.
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The 605 WiFi has a feature that directly connects you to several audio and video content providers. We demoed the Cinema Now movie-streaming and download service.
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The Cinema Now service seemed to have plenty of current movie content for purchase.
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The new DVR interface on the Archos 605 WiFi is a drastic improvement over the previous VCR-style recording interface. There are a few steps involved in setting up the channel guide (entering your ZIP code, selecting your cable box, etc.), but once that's done, the DVR actually seems approachable.
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Though it was just a prototype, Archos' plans for a new set-top DVR box seem well-devised and a unique step for a portable media player company.
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Archos has ditched the TV remote style for a QWERTY remote. The button on the left is a nine-way direction pad that acts as a mouse. Hook the Archos up to your TV and you can wirelessly surf the Internet on your television using the Opera browser.
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With the built-in kickstand and glare-resistant screen, it was hard to take our eyes off the screen.
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For an extra $100 or so, you can purchase a sleek docking station for the Archos with plenty of connectivity. There's no HDMI connection on this, but there probably will be one on the set-top box.
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The Cinema Now content portal running on the Archos allows videos to be rented for $4 or purchased for $15.
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Here you can see the headphone output on the bottom and status lights above it.
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The optional DVR Station ($99) acts as an AV dock for recording video content to the device and for displaying movies, photos, and the Web on your TV.
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The new remote design lends itself to two-thumb operating of the QWERTY keyboard.
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The same great built-in kickstand continues on in Archos generation 5.
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The DVR set-top box is still being developed by Archos, but it promises restriction-free content recording using the same upgraded DVR interface found on the 605 WiFi.
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I'm not sure if Archos is calling this the Smart DVR (embossed on this prototype), or Archos TV Plus (found in the press release). Whatever it is, it should give Apple TV and TiVo some competition. Archos claims this will have an HDMI connection, a program recording guide, and Wi-Fi connectivity for content streaming and Web browsing. Due out in the fall.
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Compared to the 604, the 605 is a little slimmer from side to side and front to back.
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Just to give you a sense of the footprint for the DVR docking station.
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Jasmine puts the Archos 605 WiFi's interface through its paces. I didn't see any radical changes to how the GUI behaved compared to the 604.

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