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Denon DBP-2012UD review



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  • Luxurious build quality
  • Top-drawer pictures and sound
  • DLNA networking, 3D and YouTube


  • No Wi-Fi support
  • Expensive
  • Limited web content

Review Price £649.00

Key Features: 3D support; DLNA 1.5 certification; YouTube video streaming (with firmware update); Universal disc support, including DVD-Audio and SACD; Solid construction and high-grade AV circuitry; Anchor Bay ABT2015 chipset for DVD upscaling

Manufacturer: Denon

Loads of affordable mass-market Blu-ray players pass through our doors but every now and again we get a more ‘heavyweight’ HD spinner, aimed at buyers with bigger budgets – and Denon’s DBP-2012UD is one such machine.

It’s a subject of much debate as to whether it’s worth splashing out on a high-end player when cheaper models do the same job – often with more features – but there are definitely benefits, not least when it comes to audio playback and build quality.

Denon DBP-2012UD

And in terms of the latter, the 3D-ready DBP-2012UD is certainly impressive. It comes from the same stock as Denon’s much-revered DBP-4010UD and DVD-A1UD, which means a dual-layer top cover, separate audio and video circuits and Direct Mechanical Ground Construction – all of which is designed to suppress unwanted vibration that can have a negative effect on picture and sound performance. There’s even a rubbery coating on the surface of the disc tray mechanism, again intended to make operation as smooth as possible – instead of rattling forward, it glides out quietly, always a sign of good deck design.

This all translates into a beautifully made, ultra-robust piece of kit, garnished with chunky buttons on the fascia and a bright, informative display panel. But it’s far from utilitarian, boasting an elegant design with a slightly curved top edge and a minimal fascia. It’s certainly bulky but that’s par for the course with high-end players like these. It’s available in black or silver.

Denon DBP-2012UD

On the rear you get an impressive line-up of sockets, which includes a set of 7.1 analogue audio outputs and a separate set of analogue stereo outputs, plus component, composite and coaxial digital audio outputs. There are also remote control input and outputs and a RS-232 port, which will help when integrating the deck into a custom installation setup.

HDMI-wise you get a single v1.4 output, which makes those 3D pictures possible, but the lack of a second audio-only output won’t be helpful if you want to watch 3D with HD audio but your AV receiver lacks v1.4 inputs. You can send hi-res audio separately through the 7.1-channel analogue outputs but that’s not as convenient as using HDMI cables.

An Ethernet port provides a wired network connection, while the USB port on the front provides a way of playing digital media from storage devices.

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August 16, 2011, 1:19 am

Without wishing to cast aspersions on your judging methodologies, I can't help but question the extent to which one Blu-ray player can produce a "better" picture and sound quality than another, given both start with the same compressed digital bitstream, decompress it using the same algorithm, and output an uncompressed digital bitstream. The idea that one can produce greater detail or more faithful colours or smoother motion or whatever, without applying any kind of picture processing (generally frowned upon at source level and best applied only sparingly if at all at monitor level) seems counterintuitive to me.

This makes me question whether the additional £550 for this deck over a bargain basement deck is simply going on features, build quality and aesthetics. All important features I'm sure, and this looks like a very desirable bit of kit, but is there anyone on the TR staff who can consistently tell a high end deck from a low price deck, either on picture or on sound quality, in a blind test? Same screen (connected by HDMI, naturally), same disc, same room and same sound setup. I'm throwing the gauntlet down and asking to be proven wrong.


March 29, 2012, 2:35 pm

Apparently, 2012UD with the new software upgrade plays MKVs!

Martin Dye

October 11, 2015, 10:58 pm

I have the same questions regarding video - because it is just digital. The sound on this unit is good though, so it is worth it just for that. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison between a SACD played on this unit and a PS3 (I think they can play SACDs).

As I can't rent blu-rays anymore because Blockbuster closed down, I use MKVs and the problem here is that:

1) If the lossless DTS audio tracks are included with an MKV file then playing that MKV file will crash the player and you have to turn it off and then turn it back on again.

2) If you are listing files from a DLNA server, and then on that server, you add one more file, you get a "read fail" error, meaning you have to turn it off and then turn it back on again.

3) When I press rewind whilst watching an MKV file movie that was ripped straight from a blu-ray, it goes straight back to the beginning (for example Chappie).

4) So now I've just accidentally gone all the way back to the beginning of a movie I was watching. I decide I want to fast forward back to the place I was originally at. At speed 2, the player fast forwards fine (just slowly). When I increase the speed, the movie stops completely. So I have to leave it on x2 speed and go and do something else whilst waiting. If I accidentally pass the point I wanted to get to, I have to go back to step 3 above.

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