Harman Kardon The Bridge
- Styling and design, Controls your iPod through the receiver and remote, Visual display capabilities, Easy to set up
- Some issues with menu interface speed
If you own a Harman Kardon receiver and an iPod, you should run out and buy this now. For the rest of us, you can just hope more products like this become available.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
We know what you're thinking right now: Not another iPod dock! However, this isn't any normal dock and it provides a number of unique functions including the ability to output on-screen menus to a television and supports full operation of your iPod via your receiver's remote control.
Designed to match the elegant and striking style of Harman Kardon AV products, The Bridge allows you to connect your iPod directly to the AVR40 range of receivers and provides an audio and control link between the two. Basically, this means that you dock your iPod in the Bridge, sit back on your lounge and control your tunes through the receiver's remote. It's a pretty nifty idea.
Aesthetically, there isn't much to The Bridge, though its design is typically Harmon Kardon. Its dark silver plastic finish with a chrome Harman Kardon logo blends in excellently with the AVR340, which we used for testing purposes. Furthermore, the subtle blue LED under The Bridge is a nice touch and adds a degree of class. It looks fantastic sitting in your lounge room, which is a refreshing change from most ugly and bulky AV equipment.
The Bridge connects to your receiver via a single cable and there is no need for any power connections or batteries. We connected it to the AVR340 which provided access to all playback and menu functions on the unit itself and on the television (once we selected the source). This can be done with either the remote control or the on-screen controls. When the iPod is connected, a message appears in the front panel and on-screen displays confirming that The Bridge is connected.
The iPod menu system is fully replicated and displayed on the screen of the receiver. However, it isn't in list format and takes a little getting used to. The display shows one menu at a time; for example, Playlists, Artists, Albums etc. in the same order as normally seen on the iPod. Each iPod button corresponds to a button on the AVR Remote Control and AVR Front Panel Controls. For example, to scroll clockwise like you normally would with the click wheel, you use the Preset Up button on the front panel of the AVR. It sounds complicated but it is actually pretty simple and once you are familiar with the corresponding controls, you'll get used to it in no time.
Our main complaint with The Bridge is with the speed of navigation. The whole process is frustratingly sluggish at times and holding down a button does not speed up the cycling process. This is especially annoying if you are looking for an artist or track towards the end of the alphabet. We were pleased to see that the iPod menus were accessible on the receiver itself, but the implementation of this feature obviously still needs a little work.
In saying this, the ability to see track and artist information, as well as time elapsed on your television or receiver screen is an excellent feature and, if you own a Harmon Kardon receiver, this product comes highly recommended.
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