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.
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.
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.