Harman/kardon is one of the preeminent audio brands in the world and with the brands that the parent company Harman Int. it is an absolutely juggernaut in the audio world. Having said that they have never really been known for making video gear (Lexicon, one of the Harman group companies make some ridiculously good gear with a huge emphasis on video performance). This DVD player can be purchased separately or comes in the Harman/kardon DPR System One with the DPR1001 receiver.
Features and Build Quality
The DVD101 is not the DVD player that you are used to seeing at the local electronics superstore. It does not have a 4 page long list of acronyms for the different formats it will play (it does play burned CD’s and DVD’s as well as SVCD’s and MP3). It has a simple neat clean face plate with basic controls on the player that you could almost miss they fit into the faceplate so well. The remote is similarly simple and well laid out as well as being fully backlit.
The player is switchable between interlaced or progressive scan and also contains 3:2 pull down correction (this accounts for the difference in frame rates between film at 24fps and your TV witch is 30fps, this difference can cause artifacts). Simple, straight forward and well built-in with a pretty face, what else could you want. An interesting side note the remote has a button labeled Test that I couldn’t resisting pushing, this brings up a standard SMTPE color bar and gray scale screen for adjusting your TV, how cool is that!
If I had too sum up this DVD player in one word it would be understated. It performs more then adequately but does not stand hugely above a number of other very good players on the market. Image performance is rich and detailed with very few artifacts or issues. Audio performance was exceptionally good, most cheap DVD players tend to be very thin and tinny sounding but this unit nice and robust with very good image detail and good powerful bass.
I also threw a number of different discs at the player and it handled all of them with ease (SVCD, VCD and the newly discovered KVCD) and I also tried a few with scratches and one that has a defect that my normal player has issues with and this machine just kept on truckin’ through all of it. So it may not stand out from the crowd in a big way but it does a very good job doing what it should and that is playing movies with great picture and exceptional sound.
This is player is a great alternative at all the over hyped cookie cutter machines on the market today. If Harman/kardon announced tomorrow that they where releasing a new versions for the same price that included SACD and DVD-audio playback I would be the first one in line to grab one.