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Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


The DBP-2012UD is fairly speedy when loading discs, taking 52 seconds to start playing Terminator Salvation and 41 to load Spider-Man 3. Getting it under a minute is always respectable, yet that’s still a longer wait than some people would like.

Still, you can console yourself with the fact that the deck’s picture quality is seriously good. 2D Blu-ray discs like Children of Men look fabulous, bursting with detail across the screen without so much as a pixel out of place.

During the opening scenes of Children of Men, showing shots of a bustling Oxford Street, the Denon reproduces the gritty textures of the shop fronts and vehicles in the background with pin-sharp clarity, plus you can make out fibres on Theo’s shabby clothes and the stubble on his jaded face. But the deck’s respectful picture circuitry leaves nuances like the film’s deliberate grain well alone, giving you a faithful and gorgeously cinematic representation of what’s on the disc. Denon DBP-2012UD

The wow-factor continues with amazing colour reproduction – natural, smooth and subtle, as well as bright and bold when called for – and profound blacks. It’s an all-round top-drawer picture, backed up by a near flawless run-through of our Silicon Optix HQV disc.

All of this pays dividends when you throw a 3D disc into the tray. The image is sharp, vibrant and wonderfully immersive, with the Denon outputting those left and right-eye 1080p images without any glitches.

Where the DBP-2012UD has a real advantage over its cheaper counterparts is in audio playback. That’s immediately clear when you spin any SACD, which sounds intricately detailed, warm and well-balanced. Switch to CD playback through the stereo outs and the top-end clarity and overall punch is delightful to hear.


It may not be as cutting-edge as the latest Samsung, Panasonic and Sony decks, but the Denon DBP-2012UD’s feature list is a cut above previous Denon Blu-ray players and many similarly-priced high-end players. The presence of YouTube, 3D support, universal disc support and DLNA are good to see. But such hi-tech trickery isn’t really why you buy a player like this. Of greater interest to AV enthusiasts is its sensational build quality, eye-popping pictures and smooth audio playback, which may not completely justify that high-price tag but certainly shouldn’t leave anyone feeling disappointed.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Value 7


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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