Onto disc loading, and there’s absolutely no urgency whatsoever. The Spider-Man 3 test unsurprisingly produces similar results to the Marantz, taking around a minute to reach the Sony Pictures screen, and there’s also an unreasonably long pause when ejecting a disc. Denon really needs to speed things up on the next generation.
But these gripes aside, the DBP-2010 sure knows how to produce a fine-looking Blu-ray picture. With the 1080/24p mode selected your eyes are bombarded with a procession of vivid, realistic colours and blisteringly sharp detail, emphatically demonstrated by our I Am Legend disc. The Denon sets its stall out from the start, reproducing the complex opening shots of New York with the sort of depth and intense sharpness that’ll instantly convert any Blu-ray non-believers in the room. Shading is nuanced, skin tones look natural, shadow detail is clear and there’s a general punchiness and solidity to the picture that’s hard not to fall in love with.
And it doesn’t matter if the scene is light or dark, as the Denon displays both with admirable clarity. During shots of Will Smith curled up in the bath, or the tense scenes inside dark derelict buildings, we could clearly see what was going on thanks to the terrific black levels.
The DBP-2010 demonstrates a high level of composure with the Silicon Optix HQV disc too, passing all of the tests except for the Video Resolution test pattern, which – surprise, surprise – shows the same flickering artefacts on some of the striped boxes as the Marantz deck.
DVD playback is magnificent – the fast frenetic battle scenes at the start of Gladiator are conveyed with smooth motion tracking, clean edges and a pleasing lack of artefacts.
We’d also recommend this player if you’ve a keen ear for music, as CDs sound great through the dedicated analogue stereo outputs. It’s characterised by sparkling detail and irrepressible energy, but accompanied by a richness and warmth that you don’t get from many budget players. And we can’t fault the sound quality of movie soundtracks decoded internally and played through the multichannel analogue outputs either, making this an all-round sonic superstar.
Although it gives us a distinct sense of deja vu in most areas, the DBP-2010 is a likeable deck – picture and sound performance are nigh-on flawless, DivX HD playback is a bonus and on the outside it boasts the sort of sturdy construction you expect from players at this price.
What you don’t expect, however, are the tedious Blu-ray reading times and the absence of features that will soon become Blu-ray staples, such as built-in Wi-Fi, network capability and built-in memory. So on that score it doesn’t represent particularly good value for money (just like its Marantz stable mate), but if you’re still tempted then rest assured that it’ll make your hi-def discs look and sound great.