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HK Offers Music Server, Audio-Ripping DVD Player

Denver —Harman Kardon’s first HDD music server is a 720p up-scaling DVD-Audio/Video player that rips CDs, transfers the content to an internal HDD, and transfers the files to USB drives and memory cards for playback in portable devices. The server also stores digital images and plays back compressed music files and digital images stored on portable media and CDs.

A separate DVD-A/V player from the company similarly doubles as a music-filling station, ripping CDs and transferring the content to portable media at up to 4x speed. It also plays back compressed music files and digital images stored on portable media and CDs.

The devices, billed as Digital Media Centers, are the DMC 1000 HDD server/DVD player at a suggested $2,999 and the DMC 250 DVD player at $399. They’re due in November with a new on-screen user interface and new industrial design that uses a transparent base to create a floating appearance.

The DMC 1000 features an 80GB HDD and independent, simultaneous playback of up to four audio streams through multiroom-audio systems. Track information and cover art can be displayed on a connected TV and on a remote-zone in-wall keypad or touch screen.

The 1000 rips CDs to its HDD in compressed-music formats at 4x speed, but it also rips at 1x speed if a consumer wants to hear the CD’s music while the CD is ripped. After ripping, the server connects via broadband to the Internet to download album metadata, which is sorted and displayed with available cover art on a connected video display. The front-panel display also displays metadata.

With a free software upgrade available in early 2007, the DMC 1000 will also burn data CDs with CD Audio files.

The DMC 1000 also plays back audio and still image files from USB storage devices, flash-memory cards (in the CF, SD, MMC and MS formats), and mini and micro versions of the cards when used with card adapters. With an optional Bridge iPod docking station, the DMC 1000 plays back iPod-stored music and video. iPod menus and metadata will appear on the server’s front panel display and connected TV, controlled from the server’s included remote or touch-sensitive front panel controls.

Supported audio codecs are MP3 and WMA. Supported image formats are JPEG and Kodak Picture CD. The device, however, transfers audio only in MP3 form to portable flash media.

An aux input enables the transfer of content from analog sources to the HDD. The 100 also features HDMI 1.1 output.

Like the 100, the DMC 250 DVD- A/V player rips and transfers content from CDs to memory cards and USB storage devices in MP3 format, and it plays back audio and video files from them. It is said to be the first DVD player to offer portable media recording and playback capability.

It supports the same audio and digital-image formats as the HDD model. Likewise, in transferring CD music to portable media, the device transfers CDs to portable media at 4x speed. Users can also listen to a CD while ripping it at 1x speed.