The thought of being able to select music on the(Amazon link) iPod from across the room has always intrigued me. I mean – come on now – most of us have a lineup of remote controls on the coffee table for a TV, Cable box, DVD player and our receiver. Until now, the iPod was stuck in its own land of “wheel control” consisting of clicking and turning when you needed to find Van Halen down at the bottom of your list.
But thanks to Harmon Kardon’s slickly designed Bridge iPod docking station, you can now select music with your(Amazon link) AVR 40 Series receiver remote either on a TV screen or directly on the receiver display itself.
Harmon Kardon AVR-240 rocks with The Bridge.
Harmon Kardon makes incredible stereo receivers, but have you seen the(Amazon link) Harmon Kardon Bridge yet (Amazon link)? Well, we have, and it’s connected to the powerful Harmon Kardon AVR-240 Home Theater Receiver. Just plug your compatible iPod into The Bridge and you’ll have remote control operation and the ability to display your menus on a TV or Video display.
The thought of being able to select music on the iPod from across the room has always intrigued me. I mean – come on now – most of us have a lineup of remote controls on the coffee table for a TV, Cable box, DVD player and our receiver. Until now, the iPod was stuck in its own land of clicking and turning when you needed to find Van Halen down at the bottom of your list. Harmon Kardons slickly designed The Bridge iPod dock now lets us select music with our AVR40 Series receiver remote either on a TV or Video screen – or directly on the receiver display.
The Bridge works with Harmon Kardon’s iPod friendly AVR 40 Series receivers (AVR 740, 340, 240, 140 models). Included in the Bridge kit are various docking connectors, making it compatible with third-gen or higher iPods, including the video models (note that video and photos will not be displayed onscreen). Simply click the single plug into the back of the “DMP – The Bridge” input on the receiver and you’re ready to go.
Once docked, you have to choose DMP The Bridge as the source on the receiver itself. The two-line display of the receiver and/or television will then scroll a “DMP/ THE BRIDGE IS CONNECTED” message. When the connection is confirmed, you navigate through the iPod using the receivers remote control.
The Bridge and remote now operate together, using software in the receiver that Harmon Kardon developed. Running from The Bridge’s cable to the receiver, software then interprets data from the iPod – and formats it so the multiline data info from the iPod screen shows up as the text display on the receiver or TV. Definitely cool.
The analog stereo output of the iPod is now controlled with the AVR’s remote, allowing you to navigate through the iPod to choose songs. You can also control typical functions such as start/stop/pause and track choice, as well as Playlist, etc.
After the initial greeting, the first message you’ll see is the MENU display on top and PLAYLISTS on the bottom. When you need to make a choice, simply press the Set key. For example, from the MENU where PLAYLIST is in the submenu, you can use the right arrow to scroll to ARTISTS, and then hit the SET key. Now all your ARTISTS will show up in the submenu, in alphabetical order. Then you again use the Right Arrow to begin scrolling through your artist list. When you’ve found the correct choice, hit the SET button again. To begin playback, hit the SET button once more. The Song will scroll by first (on the main menu), followed by the ARTIST, then the ALBUM. The submenu now displays elapsed time and time remaining. If you get ‘lost’, just hit the SPKR (menu) key on the remote to start over.
While it all sounds great in theory, using the remote to navigate through my music collection was frustrating at first – especially when the iPod has as much in it as mine does. However, I quickly got used to it and began to really enjoy the Bridge capabilities.
Aside of using just the remote, you can navigate via the Preset Up and Down buttons on the receivers front panel. That means if you loose your remote or the batteries run out, you can still get around. Note that once the iPod is connected to The Bridge, you have to switch back and forth between The Bridge button and the AVR button to control additional functions – such as volume when you want to crank it up.
Overall, I found it easiest to use the “Genre” category, allowing me to get to my artists/songs quicker. I did find that after repeated use, I totally dig The Bridge. Sitting at my desk, I can whip out the remote and call up a tune at my whim. Yes, it does take some getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s hard to go back to clicking and turning. Plus, it’s a bonus that’s The Bridge charges your iPod when its docked. I hope HK works on a few shortcuts for the next generation of this product, but for now, it’s definitely cool to have.
The Bridge retails for a suggested retail price of $69.99.
Note that I did review The Bridge on a Harmon Kardon AVR 240 Audio/Video Receiver. The AVR-240 itself had great sound and was quite easy to use for a fully functional AV receiver. There’s quite a difference between and HTIB setup and a serious piece of gear like this one. Some of the ‘240’s highlights include:
- 7.1 channels
- Front A/V connections including Composite (1), Coaxial (1), Headphones, Optical (1), S-Video and RCA jacks.
- Six digital and five S-Video inputs overall.
- Surround sound capabilities include Dolby Digital, Pro Logic, Pro Logic IIX and EX, DTS ES, THX EX and DTS Neo:6.
- EzSet, which automatically sets speaker levels.
- 7X50 Watts/Channel in Surround mode.
- HDTV Compatible Component Video Switching.
- Great tone overall.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.