Archos is the first provider of a Youtube HD set-top-box solution by the Archos 5 Internet Tablet simply being the worlds first Android product supporting the playback of H264 High Profile at 1280x720 and 2mbit/s that is the format, resolution and bitrate that Youtube encodes all their HD videos in. More and more videos are uploaded to Youtube in HD quality (including this video that I embed in this post) and all those videos playback awesomely on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet since the 1.2.11 firmware version by just clicking on the embedded videos play button or browsing through all the Youtube videos at http://m.youtube.com
As Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said at the Royal Television Society Convention, the coming of new cheap set-top-box products that can play Internet video will be the biggest enabler of the IPTV revolution towards Video-On-Demand, with Youtube already delivering more than 1 Billion views per day, with cheap set-top-boxes with direct Youtube support on people's HDTVs, Youtube would reach even many more views per day and there will be a greater demand for higher quality Youtube videos at up to HD quality. Archos delivers this solution with the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, the first cheap embedded support for Youtube HD on a HDTV.
Waiting for Flash 10.1 support in Android is not even required for Youtube HD, HQ and Normal qualities to work. Flash 10.1 support will come on Archos as soon as Adobe releases Flash 10.1 for Android.
If Archos can support full MKV 720p H264 high profile support with full bitrates in optimized firmware updates, then the Archos 5 Internet Tablet starting at $249 MSRP for the 8GB version is effectively about to become a pocket-sized replacement for Blu-ray. With better features than Blu-ray since Youtube HD support basically is like HD quality video-on-demand.
A few things that I think Archos, Google and third party Android software developers should do to provide a perfect Youtube HD experience:
- Someone should create a YoutubeHD.apk application that should launch Youtube HD/HQ/Normal quality videos automatically in playlists and based on the Youtube user's Youtube account to list recommendations, subscriptions, add searches and tags, display overlay ratings and comments, even provide live overlay chat for videos and for Youtube channels. It could be called Google Watch, be the same as Google Listen, but for Video. Even provide clever podcatching storage and caching of videos and not only go onto Youtube but use any other video sources of the web.
- Archos should provide the user with a choice to limit the quality to HQ or Normal if the user does not want to stream HD quality for some reason, for example perhaps the bandwidth that is available is not enough for that user to have a smooth Youtube HD experience.
- http://m.youtube.com needs to be improved, I want to sort searches by date for example.
- Archos should provide overlay text input facility such as commenting and chatting around the videos and channels. The social features around videos can be really powerful to increase the value proposition of IPTV set-top-box video-on-demand.
- Archos should release a $150 screen-less set-top-box with Android, with only 8GB built-in storage, but possibility to connect any EXT3 formatted USB hard drive or a local NAS to expand storage for DVR functions and for Video downloads also using BitTorrent and RSS. What is cool that you can see in this video of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, is that this is a proof that Archos certainly has the hardware and software know-how to make this happen. Once the easy-to-use Youtube HD set-top-box arrives with BitTorrent, RSS and USB hard drives storage support, for below $100 to $150, I think Video-on-demand and the real IPTV revolution will finally really happen.
You can discuss this video here http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27221