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Features and Operation

By Danny Phillips


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Review Price £649.00

Although high-end decks can sometimes be dull, featureless affairs – justifying it with a focus on performance over ‘gimmicks’ – that doesn’t apply to the DBP-2012UD. It’s equipped with many of the latest tricks currently en vogue in the Blu-ray world.

Not only is it primed for 3D playback, but it can also stream videos from YouTube (after a firmware update that wasn’t available at the time of writing) and stream media over your home network thanks to the deck’s DLNA certification. This networking functionality isn’t a patch on the latest players from Samsung, LG or Panasonic, for example, but it’s better than previous Denon decks. On the downside there’s no built-in Wi-Fi or support with a USB dongle, so you’ll need to use the more cumbersome Ethernet port and LAN cable.

The USB port in the front allows you to play DivX HD, MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, JPEG, MPEG-1/2/4 and WMV and you can also stream these over a network, but the lack of MKV support may be a turn off for some users.

The key feature as far as audio enthusiasts are concerned is the DBP-2012UD’s universal disc support, which includes DVD-Audio and SACD. This, combined with the USB port and network streaming, means you can play your music and movies all from one source, whether they’re on disc, PC or digital device, which is a real bonus.

Denon DBP-2012UD

What’s more, the deck’s high-quality internal circuitry is a feature in itself. There’s a 297MHz/12-bit video DAC, 192kHz/32-bit audio DACs for all channels and Anchor Bay’s highly-regarded ABT2015 chipset for DVD upscaling. The deck will decode DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby True HD, as well as feeding them in bitstream form from the HDMI output.

Denon hasn’t gone to town on its operating system in the same way as Samsung or Sony, but there’s a reassuring simplicity and responsiveness about the deck’s displays that makes it a breeze to operate. The Home menu sports a row of four options – Media Player, YouTube, Setup and Quit. The setup menu is comprehensive yet easy to follow, while the DLNA menus (accessed via the Media Player option) make it easy to find your content.

To tweak the picture – as AV enthusiasts are wont to do – you need to enter a separate, dedicated menu. Here, you can alter the levels of contrast, brightness, gamma, sharpness and hue, as well as fine tune the levels of white and black and apply 3D, block and mosquito noise reduction. There are five memory presets to store your tweaks.

The remote is terrific, using capital-letter labels and a generally intuitive structure that allows you to navigate round menus without looking at it.

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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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