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Harman Kardon Upgrading AVRs' Connectivity

6/20/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

STAMFORD, CONN. — Harman Kardon focused on networking
and connectivity in its 2011 A/V receiver (AVR)
line.

With the launch of the four new AVRs shipping at a suggested
$479 to $1,099, the brand is bringing networking
capability to mainstream price points, launching its first
three models with HDMI audio return channel, bringing
HDMI 1.4a connections down in price, and increasing the
number of HDMI inputs on all models, a spokesman said.

All but the opening price $479 model connect to the
brand’s iPod/iPhone-docking Bridge IIIP dock, which enables
streaming of audio and video from a docked iPod or
iPhone and up-scales iPod video to 1080p.

For these and other AVRs, Harman Kardon is also working
on an Apple AirPlay solution, enabling them to stream
music via Wi-Fi from iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads
and from iTunes-equipped PCs. Details were unavailable.

The new models are the 5.1-channel $479-suggested
AVR 1565 and $599-suggested AVR 1650, both of which
are 5.1 models, and $879 AVR 2650 and $1,099 AVR
3650, both of which are 7.1 models.

In networking, the brand is bringing DLNA-compatible
audio streaming from a PC and network-attached
storage drive down in price to the $879
and $1,099 price points, from $2,500 in a model
that has been discontinued. Like the $2,500
model, both models also stream thousands of
Internet radio stations.

In other changes, the brand dropped the
opening price of HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs
to $479 from $799 to passthrough 3D formats
used by broadcasters and by Blu-ray and game
publishers. In expanding the number of HDMI
inputs on all models, the brand is offering one
model with three inputs, one with four, one with
five and one with six. The inputs on the six-input
model include a front-panel HDMI input.

The company is also bringing a front-panel
USB/iPod input to a lower price point of $1,099
to stream audio only from a USB-connected
iPod.

In addition, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master
surround decoding is dropping down one
price point to $479, and Dolby Pro Logic IIz is appearing in the line for the first time at
$879 and $1,099 to add a pair of frontheight
channels to a surround system, a
spokesman said.

Dolby Volume volume-leveling technology
appears in the top two models,
as it did in the predecessor models.

Proprietary Harman headphone surround
technology and analog-to-HDMI
video transcoding appear in all four
models, with the step-up $599 model
adding room correction, HDMI audio
return channel, and higher power. Powered
second-zone audio appears at
the $879 price point along with compressed-
music enhancing technology
and input for Sirius Connect satelliteradio
tuner.

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