French media player specialist Archos is the latest to offer a modern take on the bedside radio alarm clock. Rather than wake you with a simulated sunrise or other mood lighting, the Arnova's alarm can be set to your favorite internet radio station or web TV channel. Users can load audio, photo or video files directly to the device's internal memory or via SD cards, wirelessly stream content from a computer via uPnP, and feed in tunes from an external MP3 player.
Front and center of the Arnova web radio and TV is a 3.5-inch, 320 x 240 resolution color display where users can choose to watch videos, clips, and shows from around 1,500 web TV channels. Feature menus and functions are also accessed via the display and controlled via a circular dial that sits at the rear top of the unit, or by using the included remote control.
The 7.8 x 3.3 x 3.3-inch (199 x 84 x 84 mm) entertainment hub also allows access to the 12,000 or so internet radio stations, and uPnP functionality allows users to play computer-based music libraries through Arnova's 2W stereo speakers over an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connection. To the rear, an audio line-input jack caters for sounds from an external music player to be fed into the device.
Video playback support comes in the shape of AVI, MPEG-4 and FLV formats and audio in MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC and FLAC (no OGG though, which is a personal disappointment). The Arnova's alarm clock can be set to wake users up to a favorite radio news or music station, a web TV channel, or even some of their own music from the 2GB of onboard storage, slotted SD media card or connected external media player. Users can also set up a photo slide show to accompany any music that's playing.
The Arnova can run on a quartet of AA-sized batteries but will no doubt spend much of its time being powered from the mains via the mini-USB 2.0 port at the back, which also caters for direct connection to a computer. In order to use the device, you will of course need to already have a wireless router and broadband internet connection.
There's no word as yet on price or availability, but we'll let you know.