Official Harman/Kardon AVR x54: Problems and Solutions Thread - Page 16 - AVS Forum
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post #451 of 2864 Old 09-12-2008, 01:24 PM
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woot woot
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post #452 of 2864 Old 09-12-2008, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenaa View Post

Another question. If I connect my Dish via HDMI, are the standard def channels going to be upconverted? I'm not clear from the owners manual.

What dish receiver do you have? I have the 722 and noticed that it upconverts everything to 1080i (when you set it to 1080i) - there is no native mode which sucks!
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post #453 of 2864 Old 09-12-2008, 02:33 PM
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Oct 25th? Jesus, these guys really don't know how bad the rep is now...
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post #454 of 2864 Old 09-12-2008, 04:14 PM
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Sorry if this question has been asked but how will the update work. Will we be able to do it ourselves or will we need to take it to a dealer to update it for us. I would guess if we can do it ourselves we would need that cable, in which I still haven't found... does anyone know...I'm not giving up on my 354
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post #455 of 2864 Old 09-12-2008, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T2k View Post

Oct 25th? Jesus, these guys really don't know how bad the rep is now...

Or they understand and want to take the proper time to get it right. Rushing to make a marketing deadline is probably what caused the issues to be present in the initial release to begin with.
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post #456 of 2864 Old 09-12-2008, 06:40 PM
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We all know they'll bump the firmware to "early next year" a week before the 25th.
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post #457 of 2864 Old 09-13-2008, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bommai View Post

What dish receiver do you have? I have the 722 and noticed that it upconverts everything to 1080i (when you set it to 1080i) - there is no native mode which sucks!

Dish Network. Their signal is just not good. They compress to MPEG 4, which according to my Sony TV Repairman is pushing it for HD broadcasts. Some of thier HD channels look like I expect, but most are sub par. Thier SD channels are very grainy. I hoped the upconvert would make a big difference, but it didn't. I"ll be switching to cable or Direct TV when my contract expires. The upconvert does work extrememly well for SD DVD. I'm receiving my order of Aperion speakers today, so I'm siked to see what the H/K will really sound like. Right now it's hooked up to a couple of small boom box speakers. Better than the TV speakers but not dynamic at all.
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post #458 of 2864 Old 09-13-2008, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenaa View Post

Dish Network. Their signal is just not good. They compress to MPEG 4, which according to my Sony TV Repairman is pushing it for HD broadcasts. Some of thier HD channels look like I expect, but most are sub par. Thier SD channels are very grainy. I hoped the upconvert would make a big difference, but it didn't. I"ll be switching to cable or Direct TV when my contract expires. The upconvert does work extrememly well for SD DVD. I'm receiving my order of Aperion speakers today, so I'm siked to see what the H/K will really sound like. Right now it's hooked up to a couple of small boom box speakers. Better than the TV speakers but not dynamic at all.

Direct compresses as well. So does everyone, you have to in order to transmit that many channels. It depends on how far they compress. I have Dish with a 622 and the picture is way better than the crap cable was putting out. I saw a 722 recently and was horrified by the picture, but I think its the wiring in the house I was at. I've never seen cable around where I live that even comes close to dish on SD, it looks worse than VHS to me.
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post #459 of 2864 Old 09-13-2008, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myerss View Post

Direct compresses as well. So does everyone, you have to in order to transmit that many channels. It depends on how far they compress. I have Dish with a 622 and the picture is way better than the crap cable was putting out. I saw a 722 recently and was horrified by the picture, but I think its the wiring in the house I was at. I've never seen cable around where I live that even comes close to dish on SD, it looks worse than VHS to me.


Well, I have the 722 and the picture sucks bad for SD and is inconsistent for HD. My folks have comcast in MD and their HD and SD picture is far superior. According to my Sony Repair man, the compression in MPEG 4 is pushing it too far. But, maybe the 722 just sucks. I'm going to have them come out with a 622 for comparison.


On a sad note, I returned my 254 this morning. I received my speakers, hooked em up and began testing. Stupid thing would lock into their Surround decoder and gray out the Dolby and DTS. So I picked up an Onkyo 705. It doesn't have the upconversion of SD DVD that the 254 did, but I'm getting a BD player soon, so that doesn't make much difference. Really wish H/K had already solved these issues.
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post #460 of 2864 Old 09-13-2008, 08:12 PM
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So help me out here: I've been reading this thread for about a month and a half and have been a 254 owner for about a month. Fortunately, I haven't had any issues (that I know of). I have been putting my system together piece by piece, and now I am in the market for a Blu Ray player. I was leaning toward the PS3, but this thread has been making me move further and further from that idea. What is my best move?


My current setup is eD speakers, XBox 360, Dish VIP 722
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post #461 of 2864 Old 09-14-2008, 08:29 AM
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Hard to say. I have the ps3 and the 254 and I have only had one audio dropout while watching the scorpion king when I paused it a few times then the center channel went out and I had to restart the movie. That and the clicking sound are the only issue that I have seen. Even my avr335 on optical still would not play the first 2 seconds of a song and that receiver was purchased 3 years ago and has no hdmi. If you are a hardcore user of the ps3 then you will have problems but if that is the case then I recommend you go with a denon or a pioneer because buying a standalone bluray player when you can get the ps3 that does everything for the same amount makes little sense. The ps3 is an awesome console and is by far the best out of all of them capability-wise. It's the 254 that has the problems here, not the ps3. If you are a casual ps3 user like me who does little gaming on it and only plays the random blu-ray, because netflix never has any in stock mostly, then you will be ok. I've played about 15 blu-rays on my ps3 and the scorpion king was the only issue on any of them. Not a bad ratio. With any luck these guys will get that firmware out because I am getting noticeable crush through my cable box and ps3 in dark and white scenes and processing is turned 'off'. The firmware had BETTER turn the processing off this time. How these things made it through QA is just a travesty. A few firings are in order at HK either way.
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post #462 of 2864 Old 09-14-2008, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milkman_jpl View Post

So help me out here: I've been reading this thread for about a month and a half and have been a 254 owner for about a month. Fortunately, I haven't had any issues (that I know of). I have been putting my system together piece by piece, and now I am in the market for a Blu Ray player. I was leaning toward the PS3, but this thread has been making me move further and further from that idea. What is my best move?


My current setup is eD speakers, XBox 360, Dish VIP 722

I've had no problems with the ps3 and the 254 unless you want to call the XMB clicking a problem. Much like Escrotumus I use the ps3 mainly as a bluray player and I haven't come across any drop outs yet. I also do some gaming and no problems there either. I've had the 254 for over a month now and I have no regrets. It sounds amazing even with my 8 year old cerwin vegas.
Hope that helps.
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post #463 of 2864 Old 09-14-2008, 03:28 PM
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I think I speak for lots of the noobs here in that this will be my first experience of any kind with having to update "firmware." What are the odds that firmware updates will fix these issues? That is, for those of you who have had other types of home theater components and updated the firmware, was there a noticeable improvement? Enough to make you think that the HK x54 is fixable? Thanks in advance for your patience and your input.
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post #464 of 2864 Old 09-15-2008, 08:38 AM
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it kinda depends... for instance my AVR 247 worked fantastic after I updated it.. then I got a 1080p tv and realized my amp had the overheating/sparkles issue. This kind of explained some goofy operating once in awhile.


In the midst of replacing my 247 and upgrading to 354 they went out of stock and hopefully are getting new firmware/fixing the inherent no-no's before sending it or I'll gladly take my 247 back.

So long as they fix it up right I'll take the 354 and leave it at that for a looong time.
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post #465 of 2864 Old 09-15-2008, 11:14 AM
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Another "noise" problem just cropped up. I have the fan noise but now I am also hearing a fairly loud static pop at the start of each new music track when playing CDs. It is much louder when playing through HDMI on my Blu-Ray player but still noticable through digital coax on my DVD player.

Any idea what could be causing this problem ? I wasn't planning on returning the receiver for the fan noise but now I don't think I have any other option. The loud pop at the start of each song is not acceptable and I suspect this problem will get worse since it was not there for the first few weeks of ownership.

Sean
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post #466 of 2864 Old 09-16-2008, 09:03 AM
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I have complained to the Harman Distributor in Canada about these issues. Hopefully more people will contact Harman rather than simply complain on here hoping they will see the problems on this thread.

Healthy skepticism is the best component for your HT
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post #467 of 2864 Old 09-16-2008, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphapyro View Post

Hey everyone just got word back from HK today regarding the 354's ...





That would mean perhaps these models will be updated/fixed.

can I get a woot?


I know....

that date is only for AVR-354 update, or its to AVR-254 too ????

because I would like to buy AVR-254, but actually after all issues that I heard about it, I have a lot a doubts to buy this HK or not..

Best regards
alex
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post #468 of 2864 Old 09-16-2008, 12:18 PM
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I've been following the info on this and other HK forums for some time now but, if I'm not mistaken, this is my first post. I have been using HK AVR247 for some months now and have been very happy with it. I found the receiver to have very musical and warm sound and since I use it mostly for stereo and 5.1 music listening I quite liked it. The only thing that was really bugging me was that it didn't have enough HDMI inputs so I had to manually switch HDMI cables to be able to use all my audio gear (not really fan of HDMI switchers). Anyhow, by accident I discovered yesterday that I could get the new AVR254 from an authorized local retail for about $480 Canadian, tax included, (regular price is $799 + tax), and, as the line goes, this was an offer I couldn't refuse. So I picked it up and set it up last night, and here are my impressions so far:

1. Build quality doesn't seem to be as impressive as with AVR247. The fine(er) details are missing and the feel of AVR247 is a bit more authoritative.

2. Fan noise is definitely there although not really noticeable in the context if my room/gear setup. But when close to the receiver, it is definitely noticeable. I guess this speaks to the issue of build quality

3. User manual is scaled down compared to the one for AVR247 and is lacking especially on video processing/upscaling details (there is in total about 2-3 pages dealing with all video processing options). The manual for AVR247 had very clear and explicit information about what video signals are upscaled and when, and under what circumstances the receiver only passes the video signal through. As far as I could tell, this information is completely omitted in the manual for AVR254 which I find very problematic. Moreover, even when the information is present, the wording is such that it is not very clear what is actually meant. For example, on page 49 the information reads: "The default setting of Processor Off passes the video signal to the display without any processing". What does this mean? Is it that only the video processing options (such as noise reduction, cross color compressor, etc.) are not engaged or that the video processing options PLUS video upscaling/downscaling are completely bypassed. Since this is not clearly stated, we can only guess about what 'without any processing' really means.

4. THE REAL TECHNICAL ISSUE is, of course, that AVR254 does not offer video signal passthrough option when both video in and video out use HDMI connection. HDMI video passthrough worked flawlessly with AVR247 on my setup, but AVR254 doesn't seem to be capable of doing it. I think this is a big problem. Could it be because the new model eliminates the Simplay HD feature of its predecessor, or is it simply a technical bug that can be fixed with firmware update? Given the vague wording in the manual mentioned above (under 3) it may turn out that HK dropped video passthrough option altogether in favor of what they call 'outstanding "Torino" video processing'. The only indication in the manual so far that points to, unfortunately the non-existence of video passthrough over HDMI is the opening sentence in Video Adjustment section (p. 39) which reads: 'The AVR 254 uses leading-edge Faroudja DCDi Cinema video processing technology, with incoming video signals upscaled to 1080p'.

5. SECOND TECHNICAL ISSUE, with my setup at least, is that the only video output resolution that works properly with my Optoma HD7100 projector is 1080p. All others generate heavily distorted picture with strong green color. This is a bit odd given that the projector's native resolution is 720p but so far I haven't been able to get it work properly with anything other than 1080p video signal output from AVR 254. This was not an issue with AVR 247 and I could use any resolution without any problems. As I do not have a TV I cannot test the issue on a different video display.

6. AVR 254 also seems to have less audio processing options than its predecessor (perhaps because HD Audio processing was added). Personally, not a big deal since I do not use most -- if any -- of them, but the cut-back is a bit odd.

Overall, I am not all that unhappy with the receiver but given all these issues and the fact that there doesn't seem to be any noticeable difference in sound quality between AVR 247 and AVR 254 I am wondering whether getting the new model was the way to go. It seems that all I gained was one extra HDMI input (which I needed) with some unwanted (or, is it, scaled back) technical shortcomings (which I really did not need). I will most definitely email HK for clarification on HDMI video passthrough and will share my findings here. As for the rest, I will do some more research/comparison to see if something else comes up.

My current setup: HP Elite PC, Oppo DVD Player, Pioneer DVD Recorder (all three connected to HK AVR 254 via HDMI video/audio in), and Optoma HD7100 for video projection (receiving video signal from HK AVR 254 via HDMI)
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post #469 of 2864 Old 09-17-2008, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagortenej View Post

...clarification on HDMI video passthrough and will share my findings here....

Just an FYI, it was mentioned earlier in the Owner's thread as well as on page 1 of this thread (I think) about the "Processor Off" option not disengaging all processing (ie. de-interlacing/upscaling/etc). So yeah, bummer, but hopefully it is addressed in the FW update. I presume it should since before all this was going on, HK had mentioned they were working on an update for BTB/WTW (which would require the X54 units to stop molesting the video signal and just let it go by untouched).
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post #470 of 2864 Old 09-18-2008, 05:16 AM
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I wouldn't hold my breath on the crush being fixed. I am running my HTPC direct hdmi to tv and using optical for now until it is (if ever) fixed. I just know HK and how they operate and would be flabbergasted if they fixed this issue any time soon, if ever. Frankly I would be very surprised to even see a firmware released this year for the x54 units. This is really the only bad thing about my 254 and overall I love the unit so far though.
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post #471 of 2864 Old 09-18-2008, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escrotumus View Post

I wouldn't hold my breath on the crush being fixed. I am running my HTPC direct hdmi to tv and using optical for now until it is (if ever) fixed. I just know HK and how they operate and would be flabbergasted if they fixed this issue any time soon, if ever. Frankly I would be very surprised to even see a firmware released this year for the x54 units. This is really the only bad thing about my 254 and overall I love the unit so far though.

Well, while I'm trying to fight the feeling of being delusional, I also don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that these issues are addressed. HK has commented (before all these other issues) about a fix for BTB/WTW, but when is it to be released ... nobody knows. I have an HTPC too and re-routing around is no issue. The problem for me is more on the 360/PS3. Games are typically made with the Full RGB palette and re-routing the PS3 would lose the HD codecs. Since I'm upgrading my AVR mainly for the HD codecs, its a bit of a dealbreaker for me if they don't address BTB/WTW. Given that they have a freeze on shipments, I think the chances that something gets fixed is fairly reasonable, what that is? Your guess is as good as mine...
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post #472 of 2864 Old 09-18-2008, 08:31 AM
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I guess we can take this with a grain of salt, but here's the latest email I got from customer service:

"HDMI issues are being evaluated and an upgrade is planned for release, hopefully within the next month if all goes as planned."
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post #473 of 2864 Old 09-18-2008, 08:47 AM
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any word on whether the Oct 25 update will fix the inability to select surround formats?
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post #474 of 2864 Old 09-18-2008, 04:25 PM
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"HDMI issues are being evaluated and an upgrade is planned for release, hopefully within the next month if all goes as planned."

I truly love H/K's constant BS.
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post #475 of 2864 Old 09-19-2008, 10:45 AM
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I was having audio cut out intermittantly with a 1080p movie I streamed through TVersity on my PS3.

The problem did not exist with the AVR154 via optical cable, I decided to upgrade to the 254 because of its support for 7.1 and higher wattage as well as HDMI 1.3a support.

I was able to resolve the issue by going into my Playstation 3 Audio Settings, selecting HDMI, choose Manual Setup and then unchecked everything but Dolby Digital 5.1 Ch and DTS 5.1 Ch. (and 2 other Linear PCM settings that could not be unchecked).

Now when I play the movie the AVR254 displays DOLBY DIGITAL (instead of Multi-CH PCM) and the audio playback is flawless.

Note: Doing so does effectively disable TrueHD audio and only allows compressed surround sound formats. If you are not listening to sources with TrueHD audio, or you are but the audio is choppy, this work-around may be best until Harman/Kardon resolves these HDMI issues with a firmware update.

I still do not hear anything in the XMB menu (except every now and then, i think i'll just shut that off entirely through the ps3 options).

Video playback is better as well, it was a bit choppy previously but I wasn't sure if that was because of a bandwidth issue (its a 13gb movie), playstation decoding problem or HDMI passthrough the receiver -- now that I switched the audio settings playback is smooth, but I still don't know where the source of the issue was (my theory is that it was the ps3 having issues decoding audio/video, now the bitstream is sent over hdmi to the receiver the cpus on the ps3 now have more power to dedicate to video decoding).

I don't play any Mp3s on my PS3 (I stream them though TVersity as well) but it seems to me that they start to playback faster, someone may want to see if this can resolve the mp3 playback delay when you start to play a song with this?
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post #476 of 2864 Old 09-19-2008, 11:24 AM
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By doing that you have effectively disabled any and all HD audio. If you don't care, good for you, but then there were probably better, less expensive receiver choices for you.

If changing the audio settings improved your image, I would seriously worry about the HDMI cable quality. Bandwith should not be an issue even with Multi-ch PCM and 1080p, but crappy cables might be the reason for that.
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post #477 of 2864 Old 09-19-2008, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockstarLeo View Post

If changing the audio settings improved your image, I would seriously worry about the HDMI cable quality.

Sorry I wasn't clear, the bandwidth I was referring to is on the LAN. I am streaming up to about 30mbps to the PS3. The jittery playback was either coming through the 254's video shananigans or the ps3.

I'm inclined to believe that the firmware on the AVR254 is crap and that I need to wait for a firmware upgrade to resolve the issues I am having. In the meantime this is the only work-around I have.
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post #478 of 2864 Old 09-20-2008, 12:44 PM
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Another "center channel" issue.

First off, i don't have a physical center channel in my setup. Just 2.1. So the receiver is set to fake it. Anyway, i was playing Grand Turismo yesterday and the "center" just disappeared one race. All I heard was the sound of cars when i passed them in the left or right channel. The next race it was back fine.
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post #479 of 2864 Old 09-20-2008, 03:32 PM
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I really hope that the firmware fix comes soon as I returned my 354 and am now testing a Denon 989. It's nice and has all the inputs/features I need but it is no HK sound..
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post #480 of 2864 Old 09-20-2008, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Axle- View Post

Just an FYI, it was mentioned earlier in the Owner's thread as well as on page 1 of this thread (I think) about the "Processor Off" option not disengaging all processing (ie. de-interlacing/upscaling/etc). So yeah, bummer, but hopefully it is addressed in the FW update. I presume it should since before all this was going on, HK had mentioned they were working on an update for BTB/WTW (which would require the X54 units to stop molesting the video signal and just let it go by untouched).

The real issue for me regarding HDMI is whether, in the first place, AVR 254 was designed with the option to pass through HDMI video signal to video display. Since there is no explicit mention of this anywhere in the manual, HK can always say that "Processor Off" was never meant to disengage de-interlacing/scaling of video signal, but only image enhancement. If this turns out to be the case -- and I really hope it won't -- it will be a big minus for AVR 254.

Incidentally, for those who own(ed) the previous model, AVR 247, what is your impression about sound quality of AVR 254? Do you hear significant differences between the two? I have 5.0 surround setup (B&W 602 S3 (front), B&W 601 S3 (surrounds), and B&W LCR600 (center)) and, while I love how my speakers sound paired with HK receiver, I cannot really say that I notice any real difference in sound quality between AVR 247 and AVR 254.
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Reply Receivers, Amps, and Processors

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Harman Kardon Avr 354 7x75w 7 1 Channel Home Theater Receiver , Harman Kardon Avr 254 7x50w 7 1 Channel Home Theater Receiver With Hdmi 1 3a Repeater
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