Move over Apple TV, there's a new kid on the block – in the shape of the brand-new Archos TV+.

Looking somewhat similar to its Apple rival, the Archos TV+ is a home entertainment hub that can record programmes from your TV or set-top box, surf the web, download movies, play music and stream digital content from your PC.

It's available in two versions, the £180 80GB model and a larger 250GB version for £250. The latter can store up to 310 films, 2.5 million photos or 145,000 songs.

"The Archos TV+ bridges the gap between the internet and your TV, with no PC required," says Archos UK managing director Tony Limrick.

It links to your home network via wi-fi or an Ethernet connection, and allows you to download up to 5000 films currently available through the Archos Content Portal – a rather bigger selection than currently available on iTunes in the UK.

What's more, unlike Apple TV, it can record broadcasts directly from your telly using the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), or can be connected to a Sky, cable or Freeview set-top box and record from them too. All recordings are made using MPEG-4 compression.

If you want to surf the web on your TV, you'll need to install the optional Opera web browser, which is available for £20.

More after the break

However, there's one area where Apple TV still has the lead on the Archos. Despite having an HDMI connection, the Archos TV+ is not HD-ready and will not display video in 720p or 1080i resolution – only standard PAL 576p.

But it does enable you to transfer digital content seamlessly to Archos' range of portable media players, whether it be your favourite TV shows, family photos or your MP3 music files.

The standard remote control has a Qwerty keyboard for writing emails or surfing the web, and there's a wide choice of inputs including USB 2.0, component, composite and S-Video and stereo phono.

Additional technical features include:

  • Video playback: MPEG-4, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, WAV, optional software plug-ins for AAC, AC3
  • Photo viewer: JPEG, BMP, PNG
  • Video recording: MPEG-4
  • Audio recording: WAV
  • Video outputs: HDMI, component, S-Video, composite
  • Video inputs: component, S-Video, composite

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