In a world where Google TV has never really caught on and the latest Android powered gaming systems don’t really offer a true Android experience, you’d think someone would be able to deliver an “Android powered smart TV providing the full Android ecosystem.”
Say hello to the Archos TV Connect, an add-on which transforms your TV into a basic Android device.
Unlike Google TV, Ouya and GameStick, the Archos TV Connect isn’t out to change the way you watch TV or play games. All it really wants to do is deliver the true power of Android on a large screen device. To do that, Archos has put together an oddly-shaped system which sits on top of your TV which includes a built-in webcam of video calls and an absurdly large gamepad like controller with a full QWERTY keyboard. While the setup may be a bit awkward, the end result is a nearly-stock version of Android 4.1 with access to the full Google Play store and countless apps, movies and songs.
While the traditional Android tablet layout may not be the best UI for a large screen TV, the Archos Media Center app is one of the best available for Android. The app can access and manage media files stored locally or on network-connected devices.
The Archos TV Connect is scheduled to go on sale in February for $129.99. It may be a little more expensive than Roku of Apple TV, but TV Connect certainly delivers a lot more functionality. We’ll be sure to stop by the Archos boot at CES next week to get some hands-on time with the new TV Connect.