hey man, I replied to this new question in your post that focuses on it, please read it there, I hope it helps.
Oh, and another thing for you: a good video convertor that is free is called "Super", it can convert many formats with lots of options and outputs. It is by eRightsoft. As far as your question about the recording from your VCR: what type of cord are you using to record your video?: S-video, composite video cables? (R,Y,W), or what? Make sure the connection you are recording from has the cords plugged into it properly or something will go wrong with the colour perhaps. Oh, maybe check your Archos' video quality settings in the record menu when you have it recording (it's a tab in the menu: settings or whatever) I hope this helps expand your knowledge in regards to the problems with your 504 .