With more than 10 years of multimedia experience, Archos is well known for the rock solid video playing feature on their devices. The Generation 8 Internet Tablet devices were already great when it came to playing any kind of multimedia file, but the tablets were limited by their hardware (OMAP 3 processor) to 720p content, in the best case.

The following article gives details on the multimedia capabilities of the Archos Generation 9 devices, focusing on the Archos G9 1 GHz test device.

Hardware

According to Texas Instruments (TI), the manufacturer of the OMAP 4 processor equipping the Archos G9, the following specifications are expected:
ProcessorOMAP4430OMAP4460
Equips Archos modelsArchos G9 1 GHzArchos G9 Turbo (1.5 GHz)
Process node45nm45nm
ARM® Cortex™-A9 Clock Speed (two)1 GHz1.5 GHz
GPUPowerVR SGX540 @ 304 MHzPowerVR SGX540 @ 384 MHz
Video performance (2D)1080p HD1080p HD
Video Performance (3D)720p stereoscopic 3D1080p Stereoscopic 3D

Data from TI web site and Wikipedia

Supported formats

According to Archos specifications, the following formats are supported:


Video playback (1)• MPEG-4 HD (up to 1080p)
• MPEG-4 (2) (ASP@L5 AVI, up to DVD resolution)
H.264 HD (HP@L4.2, up to 1080p@30 fps and 1080i/720p@60 fps)
With optional cinema plug-in:
• Cinema: MPEG2 (up to DVD resolution MP/D1)
With the above codecs, the device can play video files with the following extensions: AVI, MP4, MOV, 3GP, MPG, PS, TS, VOB, MKV, FLV, RM, RMVB, ASF
Audio Playback (1)• MP3
• WAV (PCM/ADPCM)
• AAC (3), AAC+ 5.13
• OGG Vorbis
• FLAC
With optional cinema plug-in:
• AC3 5.1
Subtitles • .srt, .ssa, .smi, .sub formats supported

(1) Certain bitrates, resolutions, and/or file variations may not be compatible.
(2) MPEG-4 ASP@L6 (MPEG-4: ISO standard by Moving Picture Experts Group) without GMC.
(3) Does not read AAC protected files.

Please check our other article for an extensive review of the audio compatibility on the Archos G9

According to fudzilla.com website , competing processors dual core Tegra 2 CPU (used on mainly high end tablets such as Acer Iconia Tab, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Advent Vega, Motorola Xoom) have serious limitations for 1080p decoding. In fact, support for 1080p in H.264 encoding, accepts only BaseLine or Main profiles up to 20 Mbit/s. High Profile is accepted only for 720p up to 6 MBit/s. It supports also H.263 (Profile 0, 8 MBit/s), Xvid (8 MBit/s), MPEG-2 (Main profile, 8 MBit/s) and MPEG-4 ASP (10 MBit/s).

Our Youtube video below illustrates most of the multimedia capabilities on our Archos 101 G9 1 GHz test device:
1. Video Player application
2. Tablet screen viewing angles
3. Music Player application
4. Music and Video widgets
5. HDMI output on an Optoma PK201 pico video projector

ARCHOS multimedia apps

Archos video player application is nicely done, it helps to sort your video archive by getting the movies information (title, director, actors and poster) from the Internet based on the file name. Our quick tests gave good results, even for episodes in TV Series.

This “Search info online” feature is demonstrated on the Youtube video above and on our previous article regarding the media scraper feature in the Gen8 devices.

1080p testing

Using firmware version 3.2.34, we have tested many video files and did not encounter any viewing problem. We choose the following 4 movies to illustrate the HD playing capability of various formats.

Avatar trailer
GeneralFormat : Matroska
Format version : Version 2
Overall bit rate : 11.2 Mbps
VideoFormat : AVC (Advanced Video Codec)
Format profile : High@L4.1
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames
Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Bit rate : 9 488 Kbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 080 pixels
AudioFormat : DTS (Digital Theater Systems)
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 1 510 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz

Limitless trailer
GeneralFormat : MPEG-4
Codec ID : mp42
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Overall bit rate : 8 696 Kbps
VideoFormat : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Main@L4.0
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 8 550 Kbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 080 pixels
AudioFormat : AAC (Advanced Audio Codec)
Format profile : LC
Codec ID : 40
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 144 Kbps
Maximum bit rate : 175 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels

Birds scene from Planete Earth Movie
GeneralFormat : Matroska Version 1
Overall bit rate : 38.0 Mbps
VideoFormat : AVC (Advanced Video Codec)
Format profile : High@L4.1
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames
Codec ID : V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Bit rate : 37.2 Mbps
Nominal bit rate : 40.0 Mbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 072 pixels
Frame rate : 23.976 fps
AudioNo audio stream

Big Buck Bunny H264 1080p
GeneralFormat : MPEG-4 – Format profile : QuickTime
Overall bit rate : 9 725 Kbps
VideoFormat : AVC (Advanced Video Codec)
Format profile : Main@L4.1
Format settings, CABAC : No
Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
Format settings, GOP : M=2, N=24
Bit rate : 9 283 Kbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 080 pixels
AudioAudio
Format : AAC (Advanced Audio Codec)
Format profile : LC
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 448 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Compression mode : Lossy

Viewing angles


Previous Generation 8 Archos 101 devices suffered a lot critiscism because of their very limited viewing angles. Luckily, Archos did good on the Gen9 devices and the picture is now quite clear from any angle. This screen gives a good result, certainly for a cheaper price than those expensive IPS displays found on Apple IPAD or Asus EEE transformer.

HDMI output on a Video Projector


The Archos 101 G9 can do miroring to an HDMI device, that means you will get the screen output both on the tablet and the external HDMI screen. We have done a test on an Optoma video projector, this miroring feature worked immediately. We haven’t tested yet if there are limitation in term of resolution on the HDMI output. For instance, some Tegra 2 tablets are currently limited at 1280 x 800 output resolution on HDMI…

Conclusion

We found the new Archos G9 tablet to be a amazing and versatile player for all your multimedia content, including HD movies. Thanks to the power of the OMAP4 CPU/GPU, Gen9 devices effectively play videos up to 1080p resolution in H264 high profile. In the tablet world, playing content in definition this high, is currently quite unique, as most of the competing devices are limited to 720 High Profile. The Archos Gen9 devices are currently one of the only tablets being able to read a Blu-ray file, these media being encoded in H.264 High Profile at 25 Mbit/s average.

It’s important to note that some formats (MPEG2/DVD, audio AC3 5.1) require to buy the Archos commercial Cinema plug-in available for the amount of 15 euros or $14.95 USD.

We hope you enjoyed this article, please come back soon for more reviews about Archos G9 products.
If you want to buy one of these tablets, please refer to our Archos G9 specifications and prices to know more about the device availability.

If you have a specific video file to be tested on the device, please let us know in the comments section below.

26 COMMENTS

    • Archos G9 comes with UPNP/DLNA/SMB support in the video player. There had been problems reported with some remote media servers and there are still small bugs on the player, like it does not play srt subtitles if they are on a remote server. But overall remote playing is quite OK and should be polished as Archos improve their firmwares.
      I haven’t tested 1080p support, but it should be fine as long as the network access is fast enough.

  1. Great tests – thanks.
    My question, and perhaps the most important after the specifications: how good is the build quality (say compared to an iPad or Galaxy Tab)? The specifications on the Archos looks excellent, but many people have questioned how well put together it will be because of the low price. Any comments?

  2. great review cant wait to see more

    but how is the screen is it like asus transformer or galaxy tab 10 cuz i own both they have great screen i will sell my galaxy tab 10 to get archos if its screen good and its have 1g ram

    and what about the sound quality ?

    thank you

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