|Harman Kardon BDP 1 Blu-ray Player Review|
|Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players|
|Written by Thomas Spurlin|
|Thursday, 09 July 2009|
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With their signature two-tone, slick yet simple aesthetic and a penchant for quality in the audio / video spectrum, especially with a range of excellent receivers, Harman Kardon have always had a way with throwing together capable machines that also project a certain electronic sex appeal. It’s only natural that their flagship Blu-ray player, the BDP 1, carries along the same blend of sharp looks and capableness in the quality department. Though lighter on features when compared to other models within its price range (namely the OPPO BDP-83) and fairly skimpy on personal adjustment, Harman Kardon have justly taken their stronger qualities into consideration and built a proficient 1080p/24, Profile 2.0 Blu-ray / upscaling DVD player with an eye for streamline design.
To the rear, the BDP 1 utilizes a standard array of jacks. Along with the v1.3 HDMI port utilized primarily throughout this review, it also sports component jacks, coaxial; and optical output jacks, and an RJ-45 Ethernet port for internet connectivity. There’s also an IR Out for a remote. It does not have 5.1 analog plugs for non-HDMI receivers, but it does have standard Composite and Stereo Analog jacks. Along with that, the power supply runs from a standard, removable AC power input, equipped alongside a Master Power On / Off switch. No frills, just the bare bones that the player needs.
Along the same lines, Harman Kardon have done a stellar job with their infrared remote for this unit. At first glance, it has the appearance of being a little on the “Star Trek” prop side – sporting a contoured head at the top that’s wider than the bottom. Once handled, this little remote proved to be very comfortable and weighted well. It’s coated on the bottom with a matte rubber-like substance that creates a comfortable feel against the palm and fingertips. After a little tinkering with the buttons, the “set phasers to stun” sensation quickly disappeared.
At the top of the remote lies the core of the playback navigation, with buttons in the shapes of their functions – triangle for Play, upright dashes for Pause, etc., all of which are a reasonable size. The remote sports separate Power On / Off buttons instead of a singular button, with the Open / Close button sitting somewhat in between them on a lower level. Chapter and time code information can be brought up using the Status button, yet it doesn’t offer monitoring of bitstream flow, codec status, or resolution status. Standard menu buttons are available, including the two pop-up and disc menu functions, along with a Dimmer function to toggle the brightness of the LED display’s blue lettering at the front of the unit. The display ranges from bright blue to completely pitch black, a nice touch to limit the amount of light coming from the player itself.