An upmarket French line of portable digital entertainment units is being introduced into the country by Ingram Micro.
The distributor has secured the agency to Archos — a top-end range of portable media players from France.
The Archos products clearly differ from other portable media players as content can be loaded onto the devices without a computer, says Scott Cowen, marketing manager at Ingram Micro.
The devices connect directly to a TV, DVD player or satellite box and record content onto their internal hard drives.
“They are TV centric and can decode and record content on the fly without a computer,” says Cowen. Archos is a pioneer in this space and is positioned as a premium brand, he adds.
“Being European it is a well-designed product.”
The devices are ideal for people wanting to record content from TV that they wish to view while on the move and can even be set to make scheduled recordings, says Cowen.
The products ship with a dock that connects to a TV set and infrared sensors to enable operation by remote control, while accessories include back car-seat holders and in-car adapters.
While designed mainly for the consumer market, one model in the range should appeal to travelling business people.
The PMA 400 is a Linux-based PDA as well as a media player with a 30GB hard drive. It synchronises with Outlook and features a touchscreen and wi-fi connectivity, and has a recommended retail price of $1,535.
The flagship of the range is the AV 700 mobile digital video recorder with its 7-inch LCD screen. It is available in 40 and 100GB versions, retailing for $1,275 and $1,555 respectively.
The more portable AV 500 features a 4-inch screen and is available in 30 and 100GB units, retailing for $1,195 and $1,660 respectively.
The 100GB units are said to store up to 400 hours of video or 250 movies. The machines can also play content back onto larger displays and are compatible with Microsoft’s Media Centre Edition operating system.
“People are increasingly taking their content on the go. First it was music, now it is video,” says Cowen.
The Archos range lends itself to being sold in non-traditional technology outlets, says Cowen. “In Australia it is available in some surf shops,” he says.
Ingram Micro is exploring similar opportunities here.