Harman Kardon DVD50 DVD Player Reviewed

Harman Kardon DVD50 DVD Player Reviewed

Disc changers are a popular and simple way to ensure hours of uninterrupted music. You may not need 5 DVDs at once, but 5 CDs sure is great. The attractive DVD50 from Harman Kardon has lots of features and performance for even the discerning audio/videophile.

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In today's vast world of digital home entertainment there are so many formats associated with DVD and CD playback that it make component selection not only frustrating, but seemingly impossible at times.

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It's not that manufacturers are incapable of offering multi-format compatibility, but more often a matter of economics. What you may or may not know is that many of the technologies supported by a format require a licensing fee in order to incorporate them into compatible devices. While a select number of "back alley" companies choose to ignore these licensing fees, reputable manufacturers are left to foot the bill.

In some cases, manufacturers will actually invest monies into these formats, in order to further benefit the industry as a whole and ultimately the end user. Where, I'm not implying that Harman Kardon is losing money here, I am saying that I believe they have a lot more invested in the DVD50 than just good engineering--and my hat goes off to them for it.

The Harman Kardon DVD50 is a component developed for the masses and this is why.. .

Unique Features
As DVD Players began to circulate into the retail market many people whom had yet to purchase even a CD player viewed the offering as a chance to break into hi-fidelity sight and sound. Of course there was only one problem, single disc play left work to be done for the couch potato. Soon after the DVD carousel was born and we were on our way...or were we.

The Harmon Kardon DVD50 combines the best of all worlds. The DVD50 represents a benchmark in the brief and colorful history of DVD as it is the first 5-disc carousel player to offer MP3 decoding. Harmon Kardon takes it a step further by including HCCD processing as well as CD-R and CD-RW compatibility to maximize compact disc playback. Remember, HCCD will also improve the sound quality of non-HCCD encoded discs.

Of course these attributes merely make it a great CD player. Indeed, if it wasn't for the progressive scan component video output and 10-bit video D/A conversion with 27 MHz filtering.

Aside from being a magnificent CD player with the probability of being an excellent DVD player through progressive scan, Harman Kardon takes the development of the DVD50 even further by furthering the video component quality. Often times scan lines and motion artifacts are a byproduct of progressive scan DVD playback. The HK DVD50 features component video outputs that reconstruct the 3/2 pull-down process and deliver a full 60-frame playback.

The result is an outstanding visual experience typically associated with players at nearly twice the price.

Installation/Setup
The Harmon Kardon DVD50 will integrate into your home entertainment system much like any other DVD player. The real treat is found within the user interface. Not only is the on-screen menu stylish, it is also easy to navigate, set-up and better yet, understand.

The player has a variety of viewing options including multiple aspect ratio (both 16:9 and 4:3). There are also multiple viewing angles and still and motion digital zoom capabilities. You may even find the 4-speed Super Fine Slow Motion useful during frame-by frame searches in variable speeds of x1/8, x1/4, x1/8 and x1/16.

Read more about the performance of the DVD50 on Page 2.
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The backlit remote control supplied with the DVD50 is a nice touch
(no pun intended). It is relatively simple as compared to the wealth of
features the player offers and easy to enjoy full-feature operation.

With the Harman Kardon connected to the Zenith 56W25 56-inch HDTV
(also reviewed in this issue) I was able to asses the video quality of
the DVD50. The video quality was amazing, but I was most delighted by
the audio quality. In fact, I noted the Harman Kardon as one of the
best players I have ever heard.

I noticed the picture was clear and did not seem to suffer any
motion artifacts. It had a very smooth appearance overall and colors
seemed very natural.

I was able to experience my favorite DVD again--Eagles, When Hell
Freezes Over. The sound was very true a even details like picks
scratching guitar strings were revealed. I cannot remember the last
time I heard the Eagles performance sound so lively. (As a side note, I
enjoyed the audio playback from the DVD50 so much that I used it as the
source for my audio review of the Paradigm Phantom speaker ensemble in
this issue.)

Final Take
MP3, HCCD, Super CD, CD-R, CD-RW, etc., etc. etc... And there we were
again, confused consumers looking for hope. Well, here it is--the
Harman Kardon DVD50.

The Harmon Kardon truly is a full-featured DVD player and is a
handsome looker to boot. Every attention to detail on down to the way
the carousel tray edge flows into the tray open/close button, the
colors used and the clean display--I love it.

Harmon Kardon as a company is a powerhouse in the consumer
electronics industry with more names under its proverbial belt than a
street fighter. There are really two directions a company this big can
go in the CE industry today. One is to invest money into the product
development. And Two is to invest solely into marketing and let the
performance suffer. There's no doubt here that Harman Kardon has taken
the road less traveled in developing the DVD50. With styling like a
Porche, the value of a Honda and the reliability of an old Land Rover
the Harmon Kardon delivers not only an excellent product for the
masses, but the
promise of what is yet to come from the digital revolution.

If you don't have $650 in your pocket book to pick up an HK DVD50
then I suggest you work overtime, sell your car or go and pawn
something to get one.

Suggested Retail Price
$649.00

Additional Resources
• Read more source component reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a receiver to pair with this source.
• See more about the audiophile world at AudiophileReview.com.
• Discuss all kinds of gear at hometheaterequipment.com.

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