This evening, we took a trip to downtown Manhattan to witness Archos unveil several new updates to Archos TV+ and its 605 Wi-Fi and 705 Wi-Fi portable media players that will give entertainment seekers new ways to acquire and move content-as well as navigate roads. TVportation is a $49.99 plug-in (available in May) that transforms the Archos TV+ into a streaming media server that will allow users to watch their live, home TV on 3G or Wi-Fi-connected devices (smart phones Archos 605 Wi-Fi, 705 Wi-Fi, notebooks). In the demo, the connection was slow and more than a little choppy, which the Archos reps blamed on the multitude of wireless signals beaming through the room. Archos’ new partnership with Paramount Digital Entertainment will allow users to download flicks like Cloverfield and Shooter to their Macs or PCs, or directly to one of the company’s PMPs. Paramount’s offerings will appear in a separate area within Archos’ store, but not within the Archos Content Portal; an odd choice, as who searches for movies by studio? The Web TV and Radio plug-in ($19.99) lets users access nearly 10,000 online radio stations (a mish mash of traditonal radio stations that simulcast live, and indie Web radio stations), 600 Web TV stations (a mix of traditional stations that simulcast live, traditional stations that have selected content, and exclusive content), and 110,000 podcasts as they’re streamed live over the internet. In a very nice move, users can search for content by city, country, or genre, so there will be plenty of flavors to enjoy when the plug-in becomes available next month. As with the TVportation, this feature also suffered from a slow connection in our demo, so we were able to watch choppy images of our local news. In addition, support for Adobe Flash 9 and Windows Media Video 9 will be added in coming weeks.
Finally, Archos showcased a new GPS In-Car Holder ($129) for the 605 Wi-Fi that turns the device into a full-fledged navigation system. It features Tele Atlas maps that cover U.S. and Canadian roads, point-of-interest markers, traffic assistance, route planning, voice-to-text support, and of course the usual multimedia capabilities that the 605 W-Fi offers. All in all, Archos looks to be making some big moves in the portal media space. Check back for reviews of these exciting new features.