By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Stamford, Conn. — A trio of A/V receivers (AVRs) launched by Harman Kardon reduce the brand’s opening price point for networked AVRs to $299 from $499.
The new AVRs feature the brand’s first two models with embedded stereo Bluetooth, and include the brand’s first two models with MHL and HDMI ports, the former which are Roku-enabled.
One model at $549 adds Apple AirPlay, available previously at $499.
The three models in the new AVR 1x10 series are the $299-suggested AVR 1510, $399 AVR 1610 and $549 AVR 1710. All are available now exclusively at Best Buy and through Harman Kardon’s website.
All three models have a new smaller, streamlined design and GreenEdge technology, said to provide dramatic energy savings without compromising premium performance.
All also feature Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master decoding, 4K by 2K passthrough, and ability to be controlled from iOS and Android apps.
The lineup starts with the $299-suggested AVR1510, a 5x75-watt model with vTuner Internet radio to stream thousands of Internet radio stations. It also features DLNA 1.5 to stream audio from DLNA-enabled computers and mobile devices. A Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad USB port also plays music from USB sticks. The component also comes with four HDMI 1.4a inputs and proprietary Logic 7, which creates multichannel soundfields from two-channel sources, a spokesman said.
The $399 5x85-watt AVR1610 adds embedded Bluetooth with Harman TrueStream technology to improve the quality of compressed music. The device also adds back-panel Roku-enabled MHL/HDMI port, enabling users to connect a Roku Streaming Stick to access Roku’s more than 750 video channels directly from the AVR’s remote.
MHL itself lets mobile devices send 1080p video with 7.1-channel surround sound to a home theater system. The port also charges the mobile device, and A/V playback can be controlled from the AVRs’ remote.
The AVR1610 also adds new NSP Natural Sound processing, which replaces Logic 7 processing in the AVR1510. NSP also up-converts stereo sources to multichannel, and it’s said to deliver the correct localization of individual music sources and create the “sensation of the performance space where the original recorded event took place or a plausible artificial space created by the content producer,” the company said.
The AVR1610 also adds EzSet/EQIII technology to automatically set system parameters and tailor sound to a given room’s acoustical characteristics. The number of HDMI 1.4a inputs grows to five, including the back-panel Roku-enabled MHL/HDMI port. The AVR’s HDMI 1.4a output features audio return channel.
At a suggested $549, the 7x100-watt 7AVR1710 adds AirPlay, two subwoofer outputs, multi-room capability, six HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs with audio return channel. One HDMI input is the Roku-ready MHL/HDMI input. The component also adds Dolby Pro Logic IIz post processing to add a pair of front-height channels to a 5.1-speaker setup, a spokesman said.
The AVRs join two models unveiled in April at a suggested $799 and $999.
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