Bookshelf Speakers

Harman Kardon and Definitive Technology

ARTICLE INDEX

Harman/Kardon BDP 1 Blu-ray Disc Player

Specifications

  • BD-Live Ready (Profile 2.0)
  • HDMI (v 1.3a) with 1080p Upconversion
  • BonusView (PIP) Support
  • AVC-HD Compatible
  • Ethernet Port
  • Front-Panel USB Port compatible with flash drives and external USB hard drives/client only, FAT32 format
  • IR Remote I/O
  • Parental Control System
  • Supported Formats: Blu-ray Disc, BD-ROM (Profile 2.0), BD-R/RE (does not support BDAV or BDMV formats), DVD-Video, DVD-R/W, DVD+R/W, CD, CD-R/W, MP3, WMA, DTS-CD and JPEG (up to 5MB file)
  • Supported Audio: Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD/MA, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, and DTS
  • Supported Video Resolutions: up to 1080p/24; upconverts DVD to 720p, 1080i or 1080p
  • Dimensions: 17.3" (W) x 2.6" (H) x 13.8" (D)
  • Weight: 8.2 lbs (net)
  • MSRP: $499.99
  • MFR URL: http://www.harmankardon.com

rating criteria

The H/K BDP 1 player shares the same styling as the AVR 3600 receiver. The color of the LED's, the look of the logo, the feel of the buttons. . . each detail is so tightly spec'd that these products are nearly perfectly matched. They have a clean, modern style that has to be seen to be appreciated.

This player has BD-Live capabilities, but requires that the user insert a 1 GB or larger USB drive in the player's front-panel USB jack in order to access on line content. The front panel USB jack can also be used to stream content from and external USB hard drive. This player does not have an SD card slot. One more omission is that the H/K BDP 1 player does not stream online content from Netflix, Vudu, etc.

On the back panel, the H/K BDP 1 has one HDMI output, on component video output, a coaxial audio output, an optical audio output, and Ethernet jack, stereo analog output, an IR in and an IR out. There are no multi channel analog audio outs.

The BDP 1 player has what is probably the best remote control of any player I have reviewed. It is fully backlit with a glow in the dark button for the backlight. The buttons are large, logically arranged and are appropriately shaped for their particular function. This medium sized remote also sits comfortably in the hand and is well balanced. As far as I'm concerned, it is the reigning champ of Blu-ray remotes.

Setup and Use:

This player is a little slow to load many of the Blu-Ray discs I tried. It's not interminably slow. But it is slower than a Sony PS3 or an Oppo BDP 83 player. I didn't find this to be more than a minor nuisance, though. I usually insert the disc, grab a beverage, turn off the lights and settle in. By then the disc is loaded and the projector is mostly warmed up. So from a practical standpoint, this player was perfectly acceptable when it came to load times.

I have recently had some Blu-Ray players in for review that really struggled on scenes with lots of motion in the picture. They didn't struggle with the motion because of a deinterlacing defect. They struggled because they didn't have the processing power to decompress the image quickly enough to accommodate a lot of frame-to-frame changes in the picture. The ability of a player to handle lots of on-screen motion is becoming an important criterion that I use when rating Blu-ray players. Rendering motion is ultimately limited by the bandwidth capabilities of the medium and the compression scheme used in mastering a given disc. But lesser players don't have the processing power to approach the limit of the format.

The H/K BDP 1 does a great job passing along very busy, motion-intensive scenes. I rarely saw signs of break up or reduced image detail, regardless of the material I fed the player. Try it on the final battle scenes in Avatar or the rehearsal scenes on This is It where there are lots of dancers on stage. While not as accomplished in this regard as my reference Oppo BDP 83, the H/K BDP1's picture nevertheless held together remarkably well on these movies.

Due to editorial issues, I wound up with the H/K BDP 1 player in my system for longer that I usually keep review units. I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed using it. Its colorful menus are very slick and its set-up is straight forward and intuitive. It has worked great on all kinds of material, from the bright and colorful Avatar to the dark and grey The Road. It has never hung up on any disc and always provided a very watchable image. The sound from this player has also been first-rate. Please see the Performance Observation section below for my detailed impressions of the system as a whole.