Harman Kardon DVD 22, full review

June 17, 2004

dvd22With HD-DVD months away by even the most conservative estimates a standard definition DVD player still makes a lot of sense. After all in 2003 a consumer electronics study showed only 13% of respondents were likely to buy a HDTV display device. So even at those numbers SDTV monitors are likely to be with us for some years to come, as well as standard definition DVD players.

The Harman Kardon DVD 22 is Harman’s latest DVD player (and at the time of this article the only one listed on their website) The DVD 22 is a progressive scan player that handles all the usual media, DVD,DVDR/RW and DVD+R/RW as well as CD, MP3, VCD and JPEG formats. This player is not compatible with SACD.

The first thing I noticed about the player was its slim design, it’s just under 2 inches tall, making it an ideal player if you have very tight vertical space considerations. The supplied remote was adequate, and had all the on-remote features you’d expect.


On to the Video and Audio features, all the normal features you’ve come to expect from a DVD player were present, progressive scan, 3-wire component, S-Video and composite out. As for audio coaxial, optical and analog outs are all present as well as Harman’s hardwired remote control pass through.

Menu navigation was simple and intuitive, especially if you’ve operated another DVD player from HK of late. All of the standard menu controls and navigation were present, such as language, subtitles, parental controls, screen saver and angle controls. Other controls such as audio dynamic range, PCM limits and digital output selection are included. Video menu controls consisted of default aspect ratio, scan type and video mode. One handy feature of the DVD 22 was the built in test screen, If you’ve ever needed some test material but didn’t have such a DVD handy you’ll appreciate this feature. Included in the Test Screen are settings and “how-To” instructions for brightness ,contrast and color, these features obviously wont replace test material such as Digital Video Essentials or The Avia Guide to Home Theater test disc but are handy to have nonetheless.

On to the visuals, test discs used for this review were Digital Video Essentials, The Avia Guide to Home Theater disc, and just for kicks the THX optimizer on the double disc edition of Finding Nemo. Reference films used were The Fifth Element Superbit edition, The Brotherhood of the Wolf, Matrix Revolutions and Finding Nemo.

Images as you’d expect were crisp and clear with little to no hint of visual ringing, via a component cable to my Monivision DM-6552SW 32″ direct view CRT. Colors were bright vivid and on par with the better DVD players I’ve reviewed. The dark shadowy “cave” scenes in Brotherhood of the wolf hinted and some lack of low level resolution in grey scales but nothing unbearable or distracting. One seemingly difficult color scenario to render in Matrix revolutions, is the super slo-mo over the top punch Neo delivers to Mr. Anderson toward the end, on low end budget players, the scene is often flat dull and has the all too famous “green” hue prevalent to the Matrix films, The DVD 22 rendered this scene quite well showing that not only are there indeed fleshtones in the shot but that the rain effects have unusual clarity.

Moving on to the Fifth Element a movie with particularly vivid colors, I didn’t notice any blooming in the many scenes with intense orange, something I’ve seen in other sub $300.00 players. In action scenes the motion was fluid and jitter free. I wanted to check out some animation so I moved onto Finding Nemo, one thing I use this disc for is finding that opaque milky sheen that one friend of mine called “wax paper” I know what he means but I’m not sure I’d concur with his description. Animation particularly animation with an excellent DVD transfer, is great at finding this, although I did see a few scenes where this was present it was only in the darker scenes where elements providing a higher degree of contrast weren’t present, in other words very dark scenes with little to no images to offer a competing light level, nothing I wouldn’t expect from a player of this price level.

That raises a great point at which to address price. The DVD 22 has a List Price of $249.99 (although easily found cheaper).There are several other DVD players available or soon to ship in this Price range. Most notably the Samsung HD-941 DVD player, expected to ship sometime in July. The 941 has several features the Harman Kardon DVD-22 doesn’t, such as a DVI output, Faroudja DCDi and SACD ability.

All in all the Harman Kardon DVD 22 is a fine DVD player and I’d have no problem recommending it to someone looking for a good quality user friendly, Home Theater DVD player. That said there are other DVD players available, and soon to be, that should be investigated in this price range.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under DVD Player Reviews


Comments

  • Brian

    I have the same issue where neither the buttons on the unit nor the remote bring the unit’s functions or display to action.

    I’m afraid this is the third unit from harman/kardon I’ve purchased which has had faults. I’ll probably buy others because they are superb when functioning properly. I just wish they’d fess up to some of these issues.

  • Brian

    I have the same issue where neither the buttons on the unit nor the remote bring the unit’s functions or display to action.

    I’m afraid this is the third unit from harman/kardon I’ve purchased which has had faults. I’ll probably buy others because they are superb when functioning properly. I just wish they’d fess up to some of these issues.

  • the man

    HA DAVIDS A DUETCHE AND GOES OUT OF HIS WAY TO CORRECT SPELLING

  • the man

    HA DAVIDS A DUETCHE AND GOES OUT OF HIS WAY TO CORRECT SPELLING

  • David

    Bill: unfortunately no bonus. 🙂

    But seriously. I’ve never had problems with any of my h/k products. (3 of them were purchased in the US, two of them in Europe.)
    Are you guys buying these units on ebay? (the place where s*** comes from)

  • David

    Bill: unfortunately no bonus. 🙂

    But seriously. I’ve never had problems with any of my h/k products. (3 of them were purchased in the US, two of them in Europe.)
    Are you guys buying these units on ebay? (the place where s*** comes from)

  • Tom

    Yes, I have had the same problem with my DVD-22. When I e-mailed H/K they said to send them proof that I had purchased it within the year and they would send me a new one. Unfortunatley, I bought it over 2 years ago, so they told me sorry, I am out of luck. This seems to be a known problem (go to Amazon and see the reviews). It did not phase the support person that I told them I would never buy H/K products again….

  • Tom

    Yes, I have had the same problem with my DVD-22. When I e-mailed H/K they said to send them proof that I had purchased it within the year and they would send me a new one. Unfortunatley, I bought it over 2 years ago, so they told me sorry, I am out of luck. This seems to be a known problem (go to Amazon and see the reviews). It did not phase the support person that I told them I would never buy H/K products again….

  • Ron

    I’m also having problems with a Harman Kardon DVD 22. It will not read some discs, and on occasion will freeze up. Going in to Future Shop for the third time for the same problem. They are willing to replace it with a Samsung or Toshiba machine worth $99.99 Canadian,
    or a Panasonic worth $149.99 Canadian. I don’t think so! Mine was almost $300.00. Their service rep. tells me that Harman Kardon no longer make DVD players. Harman Kardon tell me that Oh yes they do. They never stopped and likely never will.
    The top of my players is also badly scratched and chipped from service as they refused to accept my original packaging when I sent it in for service. They are offering me a $20.00 gift certificate as compensation for damage caused by them or their agents. How generous. Anyone know if this is a common problem with these machines and if it can be fixed? In future I will avoid Future Shop and their extended warranty as it would seem that it is no longer worth the paper it’s written on.

  • Ron

    I’m also having problems with a Harman Kardon DVD 22. It will not read some discs, and on occasion will freeze up. Going in to Future Shop for the third time for the same problem. They are willing to replace it with a Samsung or Toshiba machine worth $99.99 Canadian,
    or a Panasonic worth $149.99 Canadian. I don’t think so! Mine was almost $300.00. Their service rep. tells me that Harman Kardon no longer make DVD players. Harman Kardon tell me that Oh yes they do. They never stopped and likely never will.
    The top of my players is also badly scratched and chipped from service as they refused to accept my original packaging when I sent it in for service. They are offering me a $20.00 gift certificate as compensation for damage caused by them or their agents. How generous. Anyone know if this is a common problem with these machines and if it can be fixed? In future I will avoid Future Shop and their extended warranty as it would seem that it is no longer worth the paper it’s written on.

  • David Warren

    Anyone else had problems with their Harman Kardon DVD 22? Our 2 1/2 year old unit stopped responding to any buttons pushed on the unit itself or on its remote control. Once powered up, it can’t even be powered down, but will eventually return to stand-by mode on its own. Lastly, our big screen tv cannot receive a signal from it any longer.

  • David Warren

    Anyone else had problems with their Harman Kardon DVD 22? Our 2 1/2 year old unit stopped responding to any buttons pushed on the unit itself or on its remote control. Once powered up, it can’t even be powered down, but will eventually return to stand-by mode on its own. Lastly, our big screen tv cannot receive a signal from it any longer.

  • Bill

    David, I hope you got a good bonus from H/K with your response.

    I had similar problems as Jesse. I’ve had 2 avr 340 models that had problems. Both had problems with the video displays. The sound quality of the receivers WAS excellent. I made the initial purchase in December of 2006 and it is now almost March 2007 and I am still waiting for my third (and hopefully) working receiver.

    I think Harman products are great (if you actually get a working model).

  • Bill

    David, I hope you got a good bonus from H/K with your response.

    I had similar problems as Jesse. I’ve had 2 avr 340 models that had problems. Both had problems with the video displays. The sound quality of the receivers WAS excellent. I made the initial purchase in December of 2006 and it is now almost March 2007 and I am still waiting for my third (and hopefully) working receiver.

    I think Harman products are great (if you actually get a working model).

  • David

    Dear “Jesse”,

    It is obvious that you have never had a problem, or for that matter any of the products you’ve mentioned. Otherwise you would be able to spell HARMAN/KARDON correctly. Yes, it is written with an A, not O.

    About crushed boxes: if someone is not intentionally droping the box, it is unlikely to break. How come none of my units broke, not even the avr 8500, or the Infinity HPS 1000, which was shipped to Europe, from California!? Was I lucky? Maybe..

    Regards,

    David

  • David

    Dear “Jesse”,

    It is obvious that you have never had a problem, or for that matter any of the products you’ve mentioned. Otherwise you would be able to spell HARMAN/KARDON correctly. Yes, it is written with an A, not O.

    About crushed boxes: if someone is not intentionally droping the box, it is unlikely to break. How come none of my units broke, not even the avr 8500, or the Infinity HPS 1000, which was shipped to Europe, from California!? Was I lucky? Maybe..

    Regards,

    David

  • Jesse Trace

    I’ve never written to a BLOG, or for that matter to the Better Business Bureau. However, this situation warrants all feedback I am about to give.

    I purchased a Harmon Kardon AVR 340 from Circuit City to upgrade (previously had an AVR 330) taking advantage of the “Video Conversion Uplink” which provides a technology to use various inputs from a DVD, VCR, CABLE box etc using a single output from the receiver to the television.

    This was in hopes of minimizing the amount of cable I would have to run for my home theatre system. When I got the unit home, I tediously hooked up all of the connections in anticipation of an incredible experience. However, there were some problems with the display (flickering and not playing the VCR signal only). After talking with the support folks at Harmon Kardon, I was told to bring the unit back to Circuit City to exchange for another as it seemed there was a problem.

    Doing as I was instructed, I got the NEW new unit home only to find the same behavior. This time I was told by the support representative at Harmon Kardon there was a know issue with this model and the only way it could be resolved would be to send it back to Harmon Kardon for repair.

    So I didn’t have to be without a sound system for 2 weeks, I agreed to pay in advance full list for a new AVR 340 to be delivered to my house from the factory… my cost… my time… not to this customers satisfaction.

    The new unit arrived about a week later in a box that was crushed… so was the AVR 340 inside the box. I informed Harmon Kardon how disappointed I was about this incident, but again to no avail.

    My last resort is to return the unit to Circuit City, return the crushed unit to Harmon Kardon. As well as acknowledge to potential customers the lack of response I have received from Harmon Kardon in this matter.

    Harmon Kardon has acknowledged there are issues with their AVR340. I was also told, most customers would never even realize the issue (thus that lack of recall) and it would be too large of an expense for them to undertake.

    They are only dealing with it on a complaint request.
    I have also been in touch with the Better Business bureau regarding this matter as the company is selling goods which are known to be defective and doing nothing to remedy the situation.

    I have now turned my focus to DENON… I expect a better experience.

  • Jesse Trace

    I’ve never written to a BLOG, or for that matter to the Better Business Bureau. However, this situation warrants all feedback I am about to give.

    I purchased a Harmon Kardon AVR 340 from Circuit City to upgrade (previously had an AVR 330) taking advantage of the “Video Conversion Uplink” which provides a technology to use various inputs from a DVD, VCR, CABLE box etc using a single output from the receiver to the television.

    This was in hopes of minimizing the amount of cable I would have to run for my home theatre system. When I got the unit home, I tediously hooked up all of the connections in anticipation of an incredible experience. However, there were some problems with the display (flickering and not playing the VCR signal only). After talking with the support folks at Harmon Kardon, I was told to bring the unit back to Circuit City to exchange for another as it seemed there was a problem.

    Doing as I was instructed, I got the NEW new unit home only to find the same behavior. This time I was told by the support representative at Harmon Kardon there was a know issue with this model and the only way it could be resolved would be to send it back to Harmon Kardon for repair.

    So I didn’t have to be without a sound system for 2 weeks, I agreed to pay in advance full list for a new AVR 340 to be delivered to my house from the factory… my cost… my time… not to this customers satisfaction.

    The new unit arrived about a week later in a box that was crushed… so was the AVR 340 inside the box. I informed Harmon Kardon how disappointed I was about this incident, but again to no avail.

    My last resort is to return the unit to Circuit City, return the crushed unit to Harmon Kardon. As well as acknowledge to potential customers the lack of response I have received from Harmon Kardon in this matter.

    Harmon Kardon has acknowledged there are issues with their AVR340. I was also told, most customers would never even realize the issue (thus that lack of recall) and it would be too large of an expense for them to undertake.

    They are only dealing with it on a complaint request.
    I have also been in touch with the Better Business bureau regarding this matter as the company is selling goods which are known to be defective and doing nothing to remedy the situation.

    I have now turned my focus to DENON… I expect a better experience.