Harmon Kardon Receivers Include 'The Bridge' to the 21st Century

Harmon Kardon brings its receivers into the 21st century with a group of four HDMI equipped and iPod-friendly systems. The higher-end AVR 347 ($999) and AVR 247 ($549) are packing 7.1 sound, while the lower priced at AVR 147 ($449) and AVR 146 ($349) crank out 5.1 sound and less power.

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Harman Kardon makes it easier to incorporate your iPod into the system with its included "The Bridge" dock that works with all these receivers, a device that isn't exactly new but welcome nonetheless. The Bridge is highly capable, moving audio and video into the receiver, giving you acess to the player with the receiver's remote, and letting you see the iPod's menus on your TV screen.


Expect to see the four receivers shipping in April.

Harman Kardon Bridges the iPod Gap [Gearlog]

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Beware. Allowing a USB port is a license to the engineers to ship early with more bugs. Now your stereo is like your PC and will need to be patched.

My AVR745 does have a USB port in addition to the iPod bridge. Although, it is not for a hard drive it's usage is quite innovative. The USB port allows you to install your receiver as an external "sound card" and HID compliant device "mouse".

The audio is then sent directly from the PC to the HK receiver over USB. The "mouse" feature allows the remote control commands to be sent from the receiver to the PC to control playback.

I have tested both features with a PC running WMP10 and it works! This may not be a big deal for those of you using a SPDIF connector for audio but more PCs these day support USB than SPDIF.

The other use for the USB port is to upgrade firmware. I have not tested this feature but I need it. The AVR745 has various known bugs which inlcude compatibility with Tivo and Comcast boxes. Tech support is hoping to release a firmware fix which will take advantage of the USB port.

Trust me. A USB port is good indicator of buggier or unstable products.