May 29, 2008
| by Arlen Schweiger
Beauty and brains—the new Harman Kardon A/V receivers have ‘em both with their refined elegance appearance and upgraded video and audio performance.
Harman’s introduced for late spring its 7.1-channel AVR 354 and AVR 254, and 5.1-channel AVR 154 receivers, plus the HK 3490 and HK 3390 stereo receivers.
The AVR354 and AVR 254 will rock your theater system with video upconversion to 1080p featuring Faroudja DCDi Cinema digital-video processing, and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio for lossless, high-resolution soundtracks. Combined with the 7.1-channel surround sound, your Blu-ray content will especially appreciate the improvements.
There’s also a high-definition full-color on-screen menu to take you through the receiver setup, using pretty pictures and text to ease you along. The redesigned backlit remote controls and intuitive design make the button-pressing easy and fun as well.
For more convenience hooking up your iPod and enjoying the thousands of tunes you’ve got stored on there, the AVR 354 includes the Bridge II docking station, which will also let you operate your iPod through the remote control and see menus on a TV and the receiver’s front-panel display.
The Harmon additions won’t be an eyesore in your A/V rack, either, with gloss-black top panel and dark graphite lower panel complemented by soft white lighting.
Here’s pricing: AVR 354 ($899), AVR 254 ($649), AVR 154 ($399), HK 3490 ($499), HK 3390 ($399).
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.