Archos ships ‘cinema-to-go’ mobile video player

Records movies too

Reg Kit Watch

Handheld media player

Archos has shipped its AV300 family of personal video players to the US retail channel, the company said today.

The AV320 and AV340 - with 20GB and 40GB hard drives, respectively - sport a 3.8in, 320x240-pixel, 24-bit colour LCD. The machine uses MPEG-4 for video for "near DVD" quality playback. It also supports AVI, DivX and XviD. Playback resolutions range from 352x288 at 30fps to 640x368 at 25fps - there's also a TV-out port.

Calling it 'cinema-to-go' is stretching the point, we reckon - unless of course it automatically dims the light before the main feature and sells you ice cream.

The player supports MP3 audio playback at up to 320Kbps constant bit rate and variable bit rate, and while it will let you record MP3 tracks, it's limited to up to 160kbps at variable bit rate. For audio recording, there's a built in microphone, plus a variety of audio in ports.

Archos touts the player as a personal video recorder capable of recording up to 80 hours of programming, but you'll need to attach the bundled Digital Video Recorder module for that. Archos is also offering a $199.95 3.3 megapixel digital camcorder and camera with zoom lens, $29.95 FM radio with remote control, and a selection of $29.95 memory input card readers for importing photos directly into the AV300.

Most material will come from a host PC, which can be connected across a USB 1.1 or 2.0 link. It also supports 1394, but the cable's an optional extra. It's Mac and PC compatible.

The AV300 contains a built-in rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. It's capable of seven hours of MP3 playback, but we suspect video playback is rather less. It measures 11 x 8 x 3cm (4.4 x 3.2 x 1.2in) and weighs 354g (12.5oz).

The AV320 costs $569.95 and the AV340, $629.95. ®