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Best of the Week: CES 2018, Panasonic 4K Blu-ray players, Samsung 4K QLED TV and more

This was the week of CES 2018 and the show revealed plenty of new products, including a 13.2 channel AV amp from Denon and a new range of 4K Blu-ray players from Panasonic. In other news, Sound United, owner of Denon & Marantz, purchased Canadian hi-fi manufacturer Classé Audio.

For reviews, we have Denon's AVR-X3400H AV amp, Cowon's Plenue R personal music player and Samsung's QE49Q7F QLED 4K TV

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CES 2018

Denon launches X8500H 13.2-channel flagship AV amplifier

Denon's latest flagship AV amp is being heralded as the industry's first true 13.2 channel receiver. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro 3D, Amazon Alexa, Apple AirPlay, HEOS and much more.

There's also support for high-resolution audio and, on the video side, it is compatible with Dolby Vision, HDR and HLG formats.

The X8500H is due to go on sale later this month.

READ MORE: Denon launches X8500H 13.2-channel flagship AV amplifier

Panasonic’s flagship 2018 4K Blu-ray player supports Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and Alexa

Panasonic took the wraps off its new 4K Blu-ray players, the four-strong range comprised of the UP-UB820, DP-UB420, UP330 and DP-UB320.

All four are Ultra HD premium certified and boast support for various HDR formats. The DP-UB820 and UB420 both have HDR10+, while the latter supports Dolby Vision too.

Pricing is still to be confirmed, but the range is likely to be available in the spring.

READ MORE: Panasonic’s flagship 2018 4K Blu-ray player supports Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and Alexa

Sound United adds Classé Audio to its portfolio

Sound United has acquired Canadian hi-fi company Classé from Bowers & Wilkins.

Classé is a manufacturer of high-performance music and theatre products, including amplifiers, preamps and surround-sound processors.

Classé joins Denon and Marantz, Polk and Boston Acoustics under the Sound United fold.

READ MORE: Sound United adds Classé Audio to its portfolio

More CES highlights

Sony unveils 'world's first' 3.1ch Dolby Atmos soundbar with virtual surround sound

B&O Play announces flagship wireless headphones

THX and i-BLADES unite for sound-improving phone cases

Arcam’s new HDA range comprises an SACD/CD player and two integrated amps

JBL revives its retro L100 loudspeakers

Marantz AV8805 is brand’s first 13-channel AV pre-amplifier

Sony launches UBP-X700 4K Blu-ray player and STR-DH790 AV receiver

HDR10+ gets logo, gains more industry support

LG unveils 2018 4K OLED and LCD TV ranges

Monster launches AirLinks true wireless earbuds with voice control

JBL launches Google Assistant headphones and new wireless speakers

Sennheiser unveils Ambeo '3D' soundbar, plus new headphones

New Samsung TVs feature 8K QLED, MicroLED, Bixby voice control, HDR10+

New Debussy headphones boast OLED touchscreens and AI smarts

Sony WF-SP700N earbuds are the first noise-cancelling and splash-proof wireless in-ears

LG Display teases rollable 65in 4K OLED screen

AKG announces N5005 in-ear headphones, yours for £1000


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Denon AVR-X3400H

Denon starts the year as it ended the last, with another winner from its range of AV amps.

There's great power and punch to the sound and it manages to maintain a great balance, despite a rich midrange containing oodles of bass.

At this price, the competition is tough, but the Denon more than holds its own in such company.

Read the full Denon AVR-X3400H review

Cowon Plenue R

We were impressed with Cowon's Plenue D player, so the expectation levels were even higher for the bigger Plenue R.

There's a lot to like about its robust build, stylish design and solid sound, but some software glitches, lack of streaming services and a less nuanced sound compared to its rivals mean it fails to reach the top step.

It's enjoyable enough to use, but falls short of being really great.

Read the full Cowon Plenue R review

Samsung QE497QF

Samsung's latest entry into its QLED range is one of the best so far.

It excels in delivering a bright, vibrant HDR-assisted picture, comes with a useful suite of features and has a responsive gaming mode.

However, the viewing angles can be poor and its rivals have the edge in some respects. However, if you opt for this TV, it is money well spent.

Read the full Samsung QE497QF review

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Kob began his career at What Hi-Fi?, starting in the dusty stockroom before rising up the ranks to join the editorial and production team as the Buyer’s Guide editor. Experienced in both magazine and online publishing, he now runs the TV & audio section at Trusted Reviews where he keeps a beady eye on all the latest comings and goings in the hi-fi and home cinema market.