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.
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.