Apple announces iPhone 6, Apple Watch

Android-powered ARCHOS TV connect turns a HDTV into an oversized tablet

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January 3, 2013

The ARCHOS TV connect brings Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) to the big screen

The ARCHOS TV connect brings Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) to the big screen

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Despite being developed primarily with mobile devices in mind, Android is finding its way onto bigger screens via Google TV set top boxes and games consoles such as the OUYA and GameStick. Already having mobile Android gaming covered with its GamePad, French company ARCHOS is adding to the Android-powered devices battling it out for a place on the big screen with the TV connect.

The TV connect isn’t the first device to turn any HDTV into an Android-powered smart TV and give users the ability to play games, stream videos, video chat, email, and surf the Web. But it sets itself apart in a couple of notable ways, not least of which is the included TV Touch remote. The remote is quite literally a handful, sporting Android shortcut keys, a QWERTY keyboard, a D-pad, X, Y, A, and B face buttons, and two analog sticks.

The TV Touch remote included with the ARCHOS TV connect

To provide touchscreen-like control, manipulating these analog sticks in various directions provides “multi-touch” capabilities, such as swiping and pinching. Users can also “touch” their TV by pointing the remote at the screen and using the “Pointer-Wand” feature. Why this preoccupation with touch interfaces? Probably because instead of running the TV-centric Google TV OS, the TV connect runs the tablet-centric Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

This means that virtual onscreen controls for games need to be mapped to the remote’s buttons using the ARCHOS game mapping tool. Additionally, playing games in portrait mode will see roughly two thirds of the screen taken up by black bars – although the device will rotate the screen automatically for games designed for portrait mode.

The ARCHOS TV connect base station can be positioned on top of a HDTV

While the choice of OS may give some consumers pause, the hardware appears to have its merits. Powered by a 1.5 GHz multi core processor and with 1 GB of RAM, the base station has 8 GB of flash memory onboard, which can be expanded by 32 GB via a micro SDHC slot. There’s also built in Wi-Fi, Micro USB port, USB host port (for connecting external HDDs), Ethernet port, Mini HDMI output and a HDMI cable thrown in for connecting to a TV. The device also comes with access to Google Play.

The base unit measures 235 x 105 x 34 mm and is designed to sit on top or underneath the screen to provide a better angle for the integrated HD webcam on video calls.

ARCHOS will be demonstrating the TV connect at CES 2013 ahead of a planned February, 2013 release at a price of US$129.99.

Source: ARCHOS

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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8 Comments

10 years ago, I might have thought this was the greatest thing ever. That controller would have really gotten the attention of 2002 me.

Now I already have a tablet to play tablet games on. And for something better than tablet games, I have a PS3 and Xbox.

More importantly, the PS3 and XBox have exclusive games that I actually want to play. I doubt this will ever get any games that I can't play somewhere else just as easily.

Jon A.
4th January, 2013 @ 11:47 am PST

I agree. Why not just connect your tablet...kind of missed their opportunity by about 10 years. Sort of reminds me of those cheap connect to TV games you see in Rite Aid or CVS for $29.99.

Gregory Gannotti
4th January, 2013 @ 12:49 pm PST

It looks like a good device, which I think has the potential to find its adherents.

Rafael Kireyev
5th January, 2013 @ 12:21 am PST

A simple 100 dollar tablet connected thro' Wi Fi could do the same. What are they on about anyways ?

atul292
6th January, 2013 @ 12:22 am PST

Guys, a good keyboard for HTPC use is worth that much by itself. My Logitec DiNovo cost be around $149 a few years ago, and it has been the best $150 I spent.

This keyboard looks functional enough (although not as sleek), and you also get a 1.5GHz 1GB of RAM Smart TV... What's there not to like?

Just need to see how much Samsung will price their new Evolution Kits at, and how they compare functionally. I doubt they'll beat the price of this. And the Samsung remotes are absolute trash for entering text or navigating the UI.

kufu
6th January, 2013 @ 08:12 pm PST

I just got an ICS-powered Favi SmartStick for Christmas, hooked it up to my flatscreen. Does pretty good with the extra keyboard remote, but some android games definitely need a better controller than what it offers to even be playable. Others don't work with a non-touch interface at all (e.g. "Bad Piggies"). Also, my net connection is too slow to stream most of the HD content... all that to say, there's still some way to go before this idea is entirely satisfactory. Yup, Xbox or PS3 are better, if pricier, options at present...

MzunguMkubwa
7th January, 2013 @ 06:38 am PST

I will say that I'm curious to see how GTA Vice City plays on this thing. Hopefully someone on YouTube will buy one so that I can find out.

Jon A.
8th January, 2013 @ 12:39 pm PST

Nice effort from ARCHOS…now we can see Google TV and also play an Android game simultaneously.

Spinx Inc
21st January, 2013 @ 10:24 pm PST
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