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Archos Expands A/V Portable Selection

Archos is rolling out an expanded selection of portable hard-disc-drive (HDD) audio/video players and plans a downsized HDD music portable that will use a 1.8-inch HDD instead of a 2.5-inch drive.

In April, the French-owned maker of mobile computer peripherals said it became the first company to ship HDD-based portable A/V player/recorders that record video directly from a TV, VCR or DVD player for display on each device’s color LCD screen or on a connected TV screen.

At around the same time, Panasonic shipped a flash-memory-based model. Late this summer, Thomson plans to ship an HDD version.

Last year, Archos launched an HDD A/V portable, the Jukebox Multimedia 20, that displayed video and still images transferred from a PC or captured by a digital-still camera/video camera attachment, said marketing director Gina Eldridge.

In April, Archos began shipping an attachment for the Multimedia 20 to record video directly from a TV, DVD player or VCR. Also in April, the company began offering two new HDD portable A/V player/recorders, the 20GB AV120 and 40GB AV240, with video recording module.

The AV120 is available on Archos’ Web site and through distributor Ingram Micro and through Circuit City, Fry’s, Mobile Planet and others at a suggested $399 retail, with optional $99 digital-still/video camera attachment and optional $59 video-recording module. The 120AV records up to 40 hours of MPEG-4 video.

The AV140, at a suggested $459 retail, records up to 80 hours of MPEG-4 video and is available through the Archos Web site. Both 100-series versions feature 1.3-inch color LCD.

Two other models with the video recording feature are also due. The 20GB AV320 and 40GB AV340 boost screen size to 3.8 inches, add TFT LCD technology, and feature a suggested $199 3.3-megapixel still-camera/video camera attachment with flash. The 120/140’s camera attachment delivers 1.3-megapixel still images and lacks flash.

The AV320 was expected to be in stores during the first week of June through Ingram,, Mobile Planet and other major retailers. The AV340 will be available on the company’s Web site two weeks later, but other retail channels are also planned.

The AV320 is bundled with the video-recording module at a suggested retail of $569. The AV340 with module is $629.

By the end of July, Archos will ship a music HDD portable that, like Apple’s new iPods, will use 1.8-inch HDD instead of a 2.5-inch drives, Eldridge said. They’ll feature MP3 encoder/decoder and other non-video digital functions, she said.