Harman Kardon’s BDS 570 is as distinctive as it is unusual. Just 40cm wide and 10cm high, it’s a shoebox-sized home cinema solution intended to bridge the gap between conventional ‘all-in-one’ systems (think Panasonic SC-BTT370) and larger, more capable but also more complex separates-based set-ups.

To that end, the BDS 570 includes a 3D-capable Blu-ray drive – which, naturally, can also be used to replay older disc formats, including DVD and CD – plus five channels of digital amplification rated at a reasonably accurate 65W each.

Harman Kardon BDS 570: sound quality

But what of its performance? Here, the BDS 570 demonstrates, once again, the deftness of its relative compromise.

Simply put, the Harman Kardon represents a significant sonic step up over even the best home cinema in a box system: it even has the gumption to motivate our full-sized Monitor Audio Platinum speakers and, in harness with a more price-appropriate 5.1 package, its generous scale and considerable agility can’t fail to impress.

Harman Kardon BDS 570: no streaming

Our only real complaint – and one significant enough to dock the Harman Kardon a star overall – is its dearth of support for online media streaming.

Both the home cinema in a box and full-sized separates components you could buy for £750 will give you access to online streaming services such as BBC iPlayer or, in some cases, Last.fm, Napster and Spotify.

The BDS 570, by contrast, has no truck with such modernity. That seems a curious omission, especially in context. Still, should the absence of such niceties not concern you, there’s much to admire here in other regards.

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Harman Kardon BDS 570 review

If you like the idea of a compact, convenient home cinema system, the BDS 570 could be perfect for you