Archos AV500 recording from Sky+

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pwb1969

Guest
After buying an Archos 560 in preparation for a long holiday journey in a few days time, I set it up tonight to test the recording of two Aladdin episodes downloaded from my Sky+ recording (it will keep my 4 year old amused for most of the time if i record enough episodes). However, I was disappointed to see the size of the screen playing on the Archos only small, instead of utilising the whole screen.

Am I doing something wrong or is this correct? Can I adjust any settings to improve this? I've tried to fiddle with the screen size but the same size screen is there, it never takes up the whole 4 inches.

Any thoughts and advice anyone please? :lease:
 
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sonic

Guest
I'm afraid you've come across one of the major drawbacks of the AV500 (for me, anyway) which is that when you record a widescreen broadcast, the AV500 can't display it in its proper proportions. Widescreen pictures are squeezed horizontally into 4:3 ratio for broadcast, and a widescreen TV will unsqueeze the picture. The AV500 won't do this.

The fix is to change the TV display setting on your Sky box from Widescreen to 4:3 Letterbox. Not convenient at all, but that's the only way to make it display in 16:9. The upshot is that Archos seems to assume everyone has a 4:3 TV!

I'm sure someone can explain this in more technical detail, and there was a thread about all of this some months back.

S
 
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pwb1969

Guest
Thanks very much for your response. You would have thought that Archos would have designed a fix for this, unless there's a specific technical reason why they can't. Shame.

At least recording from Sky+ is easy. Just select copy on all the episodes I want to record and leave it to run overnight. Only problem with that though is all the programmes get put together. :suicide:
 

FrankS

Novice Member
Not true my Archos will record widescreen programs from my freeview box and DVD player no problems and automatically detects whether it's widescreen or not. I don't have Sky + but I've read somewhere else that these boxes don't transmit widescreen in the usual format but rely on the TV to stretch it hence having to use the letterbox setting.
 
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sonic

Guest
Hi FrankS, I'm afraid my experience with Freeview and AV500 is not the same as yours, I've tried all sorts of settings and the AV500 just cannot handle widescreen broadcasts. If I set the Format setting (under Contextual Settings) to 16:9 and my Freeview STB to 16:9, the picture does fill the AV500 screen but it's stretched vertically and cropped at the top and bottom. Am I missing something?

I thought all widescreen broadcasts - Sky or Freeview - are pre-stretched vertically and rely on the TV to perform the horizontal stretch, so it shouldn't make any difference which digital broadcaster you have. But I'm no expert!
 

Donnacha

Distinguished Member
FrankS said:
Not true my Archos will record widescreen programs from my freeview box and DVD player no problems and automatically detects whether it's widescreen or not. I don't have Sky + but I've read somewhere else that these boxes don't transmit widescreen in the usual format but rely on the TV to stretch it hence having to use the letterbox setting.
Hi FrankS, how did you manage this. :lease: I always change my freeview & dvd player display to non-16:9 in order to get it to work!

Are you doing anything special, and does the end result look exactly like it should, i.e. the same amount of picture as if watching it on the TV from the digibox?

Cheers
 

FrankS

Novice Member
I've checked and I get the cropping as well, but I don't get a small picture like pwb1969 reported. I'll try some different settings with my unit and see what happens, I must admit I hadn't noticed it until you mentioned it. Maybe we should raise a question to Archos technical support.
 

FrankS

Novice Member
Response from Archos

"This will be corrected in a future firmware update.
We don't know when such firmware update will be released.

Kind Regards,
Archos Technical Support"

They are obviously aware of it, so hopefully there will be a fix.
 

Donnacha

Distinguished Member
FrankS said:
Response from Archos

"This will be corrected in a future firmware update.
We don't know when such firmware update will be released.

Kind Regards,
Archos Technical Support"

They are obviously aware of it, so hopefully there will be a fix.
At good start at least - its been a while since we got a firmware update for the AV500!
 
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SonyAnToshFan

Guest
How likely is another F/W update, with the 604 on its way out?

I've been looking at the av560 for a few days and went to demo one in my lunch break. What an awesome gadget!! I think I'm in love!

Despite this flaw (which hopefully will be fixed in the next F/W release) I'm SO tempted to go back and get one after work! :thumbsup:
 
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sonic

Guest
I'm not optimistic that this will ever be sorted out.

I bought mine last Christmas, I remember there was a thread about this problem back then, and it ended with someone emailing Archos. The reply from Archos was pretty similar to the one FrankS got, 8 months on ie. we're working on it but don't know when we'll fix it.

My solution was to buy a cheap freeview box for my second TV. This TV is a normal 4:3 CRT, so the freeview box can be set permanently on 4:3 Letterbox. I do all my recordings off this freeview box now.

I agree, it really is a great little gadget. The flaw can be solved relatively simply and cheaply, provided you have room for an extra STB and your wife (if you have one, that is) doesn't mind yet another piece of AV kit in the house ...
 

NeilTh

Novice Member
hi

have you managed to get your Archos to control your Sky plus box, as I;m having problems getting my AV700 to control mine?

Any ideas? what IR code are you using?

And yes, mine is showing a small pic in the middle of the wide screen :(


Neil
 

FrankS

Novice Member
SonyAnToshFan said:
Im getting one next week!!!
I get paid on the 31st so stuff it, Im getting one!!! :clap:

According to this thread:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=275317&highlight=av500

The most recent firmware version came out about last December. How often do they revise the firmware, does anyone know?

Think I might email Archos if I can, at least then that'll be another name on the 'interested list'!
Check www.Archos.com they have released several bug fixes and updates for the AV500 series this year and seemed to continue to support the 400 series as well.
 
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SonyAnToshFan

Guest
Well, I bit the bullet last night and bought a 5100 from eBay for £330 + p&p! :thumbsup:

Can't wait to get it back and have a play hopefully over the weekend!!

All I have to do now is let the wife know before it turns up!!:nono: :suicide:

I'll check the Archos site for updates etc as soon as I know what firmware the unit is running and hopefully report back some time next week!
 

Greggles

Active Member
I've just bought the AV500 replacement, the 504 (with 160GB hard disk). So far I've only recorded DVDs, but will check out the Sky aspect ratio issue tonight to see if they have corrected it.
 
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sonic

Guest
So how did you get on?

Also, if you've got time, I'd be interested in your thoughts on the 504 in general, good and bad.
 

Greggles

Active Member
So how did you get on?

Also, if you've got time, I'd be interested in your thoughts on the 504 in general, good and bad.
I didn't have much time last night, but I did manage to record an episode of Four Kings and yes, it did crop the top and bottom of the screen. Although I'm fairly sure that I have everything set to 16x9, I'll have to double check.

Other than that, I am very impressed with the machine. As an existing Archos owner (AV740) I can say that it is a lot better looking and the user interface is much improved. I especially like the new button layout. The screen (though a lot smaller) –is very watchable due to its increased resolution. And goodness knows how they fit a whopping 160GB hard drive into such a small chassis!

Component/ RGB output is excellent when playing back downloads (only available when “docked” on the excellent DVR Station). Unfortunately the best quality analogue video input is S-Video. The lack of connections on the device itself has pros and cons. I use it as a backup hard drive for my MacBook, which means I have to remember to take the USB docking pod with me. Not too much of a bind I suppose.

Archos will also be launching various plug-ins for the 4 series, the first (due on Monday) is the so called “Video Podcast Plug-in” which hopefully should mean the end of me squinting at the small screen on my iPod video.

I highly recommend the new Archos 4 series and I think the 504s smaller 404 sibling could be an iPod killer (far better screen than anything in its price/ size class).
 

Louis Mazzini

Active Member
I was one of those people who contacted Archos about this problem last year, and this was the reply I received:

Dear Customer,

Indeed there is a issue with the recording of 16:9 images using Sky
boxes. We are working on it, but we don't know when the solution will be
available.
We apologize for this issue.

Kind Regards,
Archos Technical Support

...and that was last December! As far as I'm concerned, there's no way Archos will ever bother to fix this fundamental problem.

Just to expand on why some of us regard it as such a huge problem: Sure, you can set your Sky box output to 4:3 Letterbox, and you'll get the full picture with no distortion, but it means you're not getting it at the best possible quality - and this makes a big difference when you view the recording back on a TV.

Alternatively, you can set your Sky box to output at 16:9, and the Archos will play it back on your TV in optimum quality - but you then can't watch it properly on the Archos (it will only play a 4:3 "tall & thin" image). For some weird reason, unlike every other 16:9 display I've ever seen (including the PSP), the Archos will not stretch a 4:3 anamporphic image.

So, I'd also love to hear whether this has been fixed with the new model.

P.S. I still think it's a fantasic machine, but this is its terrible (and inexcusible, I reckon) flaw.
 

SuperSeven

Novice Member
So, I'd also love to hear whether this has been fixed with the new model.
I have the new Archos 604 and it has the same 16x9 Sky output problem.

I am using 4/3 Letter box as a workaround.

And I've had no luck getting it to control my Sky + box.

Anyone know what code I should be using?
 

Greggles

Active Member
Archos usually have a good stand at the "Stuff Show" in November, with technical as well as marketing bods on hand. I for one will be asking them a few probing questions this year?
 

Louis Mazzini

Active Member
Gregg, please do! From what SuperSeven says about the 604, Archos has been a bit hopeless on this issue. I would have been tempted to get a 604, but there's no way I will if this significant problem persists.
 
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anyalangguth

Guest
I have the new Archos 604 and it has the same 16x9 Sky output problem.

I am using 4/3 Letter box as a workaround.

And I've had no luck getting it to control my Sky + box.

Anyone know what code I should be using?
SuperSeven - I jsut got my Archos 604 to work with Sky+ box. In the IR emitter use Thompson as the model and code S675. I purchased my sky+ box in March and it is the 160GB one. Yours might have the old 40GB one in which case it is another make. I can't remember the name of the old one - search thru google for it.
The archos changes the channel on the box successfully but obviously this is not ideal as you then cannot watch another channel while recording which is what you can normally do with Sky+. I can't see any other work around - would be so much easier if could transfer files off the box with the USB port. oh well!
 

SuperSeven

Novice Member
SuperSeven - I jsut got my Archos 604 to work with Sky+ box. In the IR emitter use Thompson as the model and code S675. I purchased my sky+ box in March and it is the 160GB one.
Tried Thompson with code S675 and I can confirm it works with the Sky HD box. :smashin:

It's a little hit & miss, but it is changing channels.
 

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