Archos 500 owners, please help!

Discussion in 'Video Streaming Boxes & Services' started by HomeyJay, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. HomeyJay

    HomeyJay
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    I'm about to buy an Archos 500 within the next day or two (not sure which model) but I just wanted to find out approx what file sizes converted movies are. I've seen all kinds of crazy figures of a 30g archos holding 60 movies etc - I'm assuming that the quality is crap at this level of compression!
    How many of my DVD movies am I likely to get realistically on a 30g AV500 at 'good' quality?
    Secondly, are these things reliable, and what's Archos' service like?

    Lastly, I own a Pace series 1 sky+ box. Has anyone had any problems getting this to work with the AV500?

    Many thanks
    Ravi
     
  2. FrankS

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    Ravi

    I have an AV560, there are two ways of putting movies onto it, either record them direct off the scart and a 2 hr movie comes out at about 1.65 GB set at 640x480 and reasonable quality.

    Or you can rip and encode on a PC, I use pocket-DVD studio but there are other programs, using DivX or Xvid codecs you can get the size down to under 1GB and still have good quality when viewing on the Archos.

    If your Sky box has a scart socket on then it's very easy to record to the Archos, I do this from my Grundig set top box and Digifusion PVR, but unfortunately the Archos doesn't have the codes in it to switch them on or change channels so I have to set it manually. I then archieve the programmes onto my computer after I've edited out all the ads on the Archos.

    If you go to this forum http://www.dapreview.net/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewforum.php?53
    there is a lot of posts on the AV500, not all of it good but I've had mine for over 4 months now and I'm very pleased with it. I bought mine when Dixons were doing the AV560 (60GB) for £299 but that seemed to be a special offer.
     
  3. Dune

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    I own an AV440 which is a 40o series with a 40 gig disc. I rip DVD's to take on holiday and usually rip them to about 1.4 gig. This lets me plug the Archos into a CRT TV and watch the film with little apparent quality loss.

    If all you want is to watch on the built in screen you could encode much smaller than that.

    As to reliabilty I was wary of buying the 440 because I saw some negative feedback on various web sites but that seemed to be due to older firmware.

    As soon as I bought it the first thing I did was update to the latest firmware and I have not had a single problem with mine since. In fact I won't upgrade the firmware again even though later versions are available because my unit works so well. If it works, leave it !!

    Dave
     
  4. scottbown

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    I have the AV500 (30Gig) and can fully recommend it. It's a cracking PMP, great screen and impressive battery life. Also i find 30 gig is plenty of space for movies, tvshows and music. This could be due to most of my collection being in DivX and Xvid, which are smaller in file size then direct TV recording.

    I've experiemented a little with the recording functionality from DVD and Freeview box, it's not that great. However the AV500 excells at is playing the DivX and Xvid. You can either convert them yourself or download from the web. Obviously I only download the films/tv shows which i own on DVD so not to infringe copyright laws. But i find downloading often less hassle than converting myself.

    Hope this helps,

    Scott
     
  5. HomeyJay

    HomeyJay
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    Thanks guys
    What I'd really like to know is what's this thing like for recording from a Sky box. I read somewhere that there a problem with wide screen programs or something. Also, is recording from the s-video socket on a sky+ box better quality than the scart socket (I think it should be!)

    Thanks
     
  6. FrankS

    FrankS
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    I haven't tried the S video input on the TV dock as my DVB boxes don't have DVB out. No problems recording widescreen from the DVB boxes. I don't know if quality will be better as max recording resolution of the Archos is 640 x 480 and playback on the internal screen is at 480 x 272. Quality is pretty stunning though.

    I have not got a Sky box but if I remember there was some issue with the Archos not recognising when Sky was broadcasting in widescreen, it detects this automatically on my DVB boxes when it is set to auto. But you can manually tell the Archos to record in 16:9.
     
  7. Louis Mazzini

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    Ravi,

    First off, the AV500 is a fantastic piece of kit, and I highly recommend it.

    Secondly, yes, there's a bit of a snag with widescreen recordings from Sky: If you record a widescreen broadcast from Sky, you'll have to change your Sky box's picture setting from 16:9 (assuming that's what you've already got it set to) to 4:3L. In other words, the Archos won't 'stretch' a Sky widescreen recording back to its correct aspect ratio. Also, you'll have to remember to set the Archos to 16:9; there are a few variables to set, but you'll get the hang of it. Archos hasn't yet released a software update for this problem(the last AV500 update from its site was, if I remember correctly, back in early Feb) - but they did actually acknowledge the problem in an e-mail to me before Christmas.

    Thirdly, here's a question for Archos owners: Do you think the Archos remote controller on the tv docking pad will work okay on the new Sky HD box..?

    Finally, I'd recommend ripping DVDs to the PC then transferring them to the AV500 rather than recording them directly onto it because you'll get better pq - although it will take longer than real-time (it does on my ancient PC anyway). The programme I use reduces a film to about 700mb, which is very watchable, not only on the Archos, but okay on a tv too (perhaps not a huge one though).

    Having sung its praises, I would add that whilst I find recordings from Sky perfectly watchable when played back on a tv (I always record at the highest settings), don't expect the quality to match the original broadcast: There are quite a few digital artifacts and the picture tends to be a bit 'flatter'.

    Good luck.
     
  8. HomeyJay

    HomeyJay
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    I took the plunge and bought one.
    Wow, what a device. I cant see why anyone buys the video iPod over this - it totally rules.

    Many thanks for the advice guys

    R.
     

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