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Harman Kardon BDP 1 Blu-ray Player Reviewed
By: Adrienne Maxwell - Reviewer's System

June 19, 2009


Harman Kardon has finally entered the Blu-ray player market with the release of the BDP 1. We have not performed a hands-on review of this player, but here is an overview of its features. This is a Profile 2.0 player, which means it supports BonusView/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality. It also features bitstream output and onboard decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. This model does not support any type of video-on-demand streaming or download service, such as those offered by Netflix, Amazon, and CinemaNow.

In terms of video connections, the BDP 1 offers HDMI, component video, and composite video outputs. This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI. The setup menu does not include any advanced picture adjustments, such as preset picture modes or noise reduction. Audio outputs include HDMI, optical and coaxial digital, and stereo analog audio. As I mentioned, the BDP 1 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI.

The BDP 1's disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, MP3, WMA, and JPEG playback. The back panel offers an Ethernet port for BD-Live features and firmware updates; the player doesn't include a wireless network connection option. The BDP 1 has no internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; a front-panel USB port is provided for this purpose. The USB port also supports playback of JPEG and MP3 files. Lastly, the BDP 1 has IR in/out jacks for integration into an advanced control system.

Highs Points
• The BDP 1 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• The player has internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and can pass these formats in bitstream form over HDMI.
• It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• The USB port allows for easy playback of digital music and photos.
• IR input and output jacks are included.

Low Points
• The BDP 1 lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver.
• The player lacks internal memory, so you must add your own USB drive to store BD-Live downloads.
• This player does not offer any type of VOD streaming function, nor does it feature a wireless option for connection to your home network.

Conclusion
Harman Kardon fans finally have a Blu-ray mate for their H/K receivers. The BDP 1 contains the requisite Blu-ray features, but its $499 MSRP pits it against better-endowed players that offer perks like VOD streaming, wireless network connectivity, and multichannel analog audio outputs.
 
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