Three new Denon Blu-ray players due from July
Denon has confirmed UK specifications and release dates for its Blu-ray line-up, which includes the DVD-3800BD (£1600; due November; shown above), DVD-2500BT transport (£800; July), and entry-level DVD-1800BD (price TBC; November).
Denon claims the players will be great all-rounders, offering excellent DVD upscaling and CD replay, as well as superlative Blu-ray playback.
The four pictures featured in this story are of the black US models. The UK designs will be available in black, silver (more of a gun-metal finish) and premium silver, so users can find the ideal colour-match for both existing and new Denon components.
Denon DVD-2500BT transport arrives first
First into shops, then, will be the £800 Denon DVD-2500BT. This is a Blu-ray transport, designed to be the perfect partner for receivers that feature HD audio decoding and video processing – "so the customer just pays for what they need."
Denon believes HD audio decoding is ideally done in a suitably equipped AV receiver, rather than Blu-ray player, as there's a shorter signal path involved.
Accordingly, the DVD-2500BT sends HD audio via bitstream for a receiver to decode. You can see the simplicity of its connectivity in the back shot below.
The DVD-2500BT will upscale DVDs to 1080p, but unlike its DVD-3800BD sibling does not apply additional, high-end video processing for Blu-ray or DVD playback - again, it's leaving that to suitably equipped receivers.
Denon DVD-3800BD due in November
Both the DVD-2500BT and DVD-3800BD are impressively well-built machines, inside and out. They feature multi-layered construction; anti-electric and mechanical noise shielding; a separated block layout (to isolate video and audio circuitry); and a 'SVH' (Suppress Vibration Hybrid) mechanism, designed to provide more stable, accurate disc reading.
The Denon DVD-3800BD is due in November, priced £1600. As you can probably tell, this is a fully loaded player, complete with HD audio decoding and advanced video processing, plus a full suite of analogue outputs - making it an ideal companion for AV amps and receivers without HD audio decoding or picture processing.
Whereas the DVD-3500BT uses a standard 10-bit video chipset, the DVD-3800BD uses a 10-bit REALTA HQV design, which Denon claims can boost even 1080p Blu-ray pictures still further.
The manufacturer says the DVD-3800BD's performance with DVDs is equal to that of its dedicated DVD-3930 DVD player, while stereo performance is comparable to "a high-end CD player".
All models are Blu-ray Profile 1.1
Few details, meanwhile, are yet available for Denon's DVD-1800BD Blu-ray player. Due in November, the company claims this entry-level design "will look more like a Sony or Panasonic player, with, say, a 4Kg build rather than the 10Kg chassis of our higher-end models".
Intriguingly, all Denon's 2008 Blu-ray players are Profile 1.1 specification, as they do not feature Ethernet ports. Firmware upgrades will be available via disc.
Denon insists the lack of Profile 2.0 support will not diminish users' Blu-ray experience, and suggests the 2.0 spec is a film-studio-driven feature rather than a performance issue.
You'll be able to read reviews of all the new Denon Blu-ray players here as soon as test samples become available.