Archos plan to save your aging TV from Smart Android TV irrelevancy with the Archos TV connect gadget, an add-on for your HDTV that turns it into an Android-powered Smart TV, regardless of whether or not it had web connectivity to begin with.
Set to be showcased at the CES 2013 exhibition in Las Vegas next week, the Archos TV Connect comprises a unit that connects up to your TV and doubles up as a webcam alongside a wireless touch remote control that includes a full keyboard and gaming controls.
The Archos TV Connect is powered by a 1.5GHz “Smart Multi Core” processor (which we’re guessing translates as a dual-core chip), backed by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage that can be expanded by up to 32GB with a microSD card. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Ethernet, MicroUSB and a USB host port alongside a mini-HDMI connection for connecting up to a TV.
In essence, the device turns your TV in a giant, non-touch Android tablet, with the supplied TV Touch remote offering dedicated Android navigation buttons. Gesture controls, including zooming and swiping, are also supported, while the gaming controls can be customised and mapped depending on the title you’re playing.
Web connectivity and access to the Google Play Store via Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will give you access to all manner of apps, meaning you’ll be able to pop Netflix and BBC iPlayer up onto your big screen, as well as the wide array of gaming and productivity apps available to Android users. Archos’s strong media file support should make it easy getting your downloaded video files playing through the unit, though we’re not convinced every app will look great when blown up to 32-odd inches. Still, with the added bonus of a webcam and mic built into the main unit, it’s looking like one of the cheapest, most feature-rich ways of getting Skype video calling into your living room at the very least.
Available from February 2013, expect to pay $129.99 for the Archos TV Connect when it hits stores.
By Gerald Lynch | January 4th, 2013