Regular television is so played out. Archos is giving the boob tube a much-needed lift with its recently announced TV Connect. Comprised of a sensor and a multitouch remote, TV Connect turns any HDTV into an Android-powered smart TV. We got a chance to take TV Connect for a spin during on the CES 2013 show floor. Read on for our first impressions.
The sensor sits at the top of the television streaming Android using an HDMI cable. There's also a camera, which comes in handy when making a video call. The sensor is powered by a 1.5-GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of memory that can be expanded to 32GB via the microSD Card slot. It should be noted that the sensor needs a Wi-Fi connection to function correctly. Aesthetically the glossy, black sensor has a small profile, only creating a small bump at the top of the television when attached.
The accompanying black matte plastic remote wears a lot of hats. The top half of the remote resembles a traditional game controller, complete with dual analog sticks, d-pad, pause, select buttons and a set of four input buttons. A pair of wide, glossy bumpers sits along the top of the device. The bottom of the remote features a full QWERTY keyboard. As a result, the remote is rather bulky.
We took TV Connect for a spin, navigating between screens with the left analog stick acting as a pointer. Using the stick took a little getting used to, but soon we were switching between apps as if we were using our finger. The keyboard's buttons were nice and springy, which made for a pleasant typing experience. While watching YouTube on the big screen, it was more interesting to use Google Maps. The television's additional real estate made finding a location on the map that much easier.
Gaming on the TV Connect was really fun. Controls were surprisingly tight as we played "Dead Trigger." We were also able to fling birds with the best of them when playing "Angry Birds Space." And thanks to Netflix, Crackle and Hulu apps, TV Connect users don't have to rely on cable to keep up with their favorite shows. People looking to cut the cable cords won't have to wait long, since Archos TV Connect goes on sale for $130 sometime in February.