I have been looking for something simple, yet decent build, sound and picture quality to use in a small living room. I didn't want to run center and surrounds, just a simple 2.1 setup. I found a HK BDS 2 on sale at one of the local wharehouse clubs for a very good price. Thought I would give it a chance as it was priced right, looked good and I thought would work very well for my application.
I have a 40" Sony LCD, an Apple TV, a cable box and a pair of Martin Logan motion 10 speakers to connect up to this. I am working on adding a pair of Rel T-3 subs as well, just do not have the "Y" connectors and cable for them yet, so cannot comment on sub operation at the present.
This reciever has 2 optical inputs, a coaxial input, one sub out, and 2 pairs of analog inputs for other devices. It also has the Bridge 3 connector for an iPod dock, something I will try at some point. The single HDMI out is for the built-in Blu-ray player, and does not offer any other video switching, which might be a negative for some. I just ran my HDMI for the Apple and cable box directly into my Sony and switch video inputs from the supplied remote from the HK.
The reciever also has a built-in FM only tuner, which is of decent quality, and one I do use every now and then if not streaming radio or other iTunes music from my Apple TV.
Overall, I find the build quality to be very good, the speaker binding posts very nice quality, and the overall looks of the reciever is very nice. Display size is good providing you aren't too far away from it, but my eyes are getting old too! The front panel illumination can be set to 100%, 50%-which also extinguishes the volume knob lamp, or dim after a certain period of time after any command is sent to the reciever. Some of this may not matter, as a lot of the operations you will perform also have some basic on-screen info. Nice touch though overall.
The supplied remote is decent for most of the basic uses, I am still working on some of the programmable portions of it and l am trying to get a better feel for just what it can "learn", especially for the auxillary inputs. I was able to program a few buttons for my Sony TV with no problem. About the only thing I can say is a small negative are the button sizes and nomenclature on the buttons-again, my eyes aren't what they used to be. Also, this remote is not backlit which might be an issue for some.
The sound and picture quality I find to be very good and very hard to fault anything here. From the built-in blu-ray player for video or CD playback, or the FM tuner and any of the inputs, I got very good sound/picture. I am very pleased. The amplifier drove the Martin Logans very well, and at one point, I even temporarily hooked up my Magnepan MMG's, and the HK did a very admirable job. If one has a pair of reasonably sensitive speakers with a fairly easy load(and not too hard on the volume knob), you shouldn't have any problems with the amp section.
All in all, this reciever was a great purchase for me, the price was right, and it does all that I need it to do, and does it very well. The big question is, would I have paid the full retail price for this and be just as happy? Not sure on that one, if you read the Home Theater review of the BDS 5, the question comes up about value. I tend to agree, value is a tough one to place and only the purchaser of anything can answer that for themselves. For me, at list price, I might have looked into other inexpensive AVR's and separate blu-ray player. But I wanted simplicity, one-box solution as well, and this fills the bill quite nicely in my opinion.
For those of you looking for a simple one-box setup, this might work well for you, and I imagine, the BDS 5 with surround also might be a simple solution too for some of you out there. Give it a try, you might like it! Well done HK!