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As Denon prepares to unleash the astounding DVD-A1UD - the world's first Blu-ray player to also play DVD-Audio and SACDs - we're taking an overdue look at its first reference deck, the DVD-3800BD. This player is a cinephile's dream, as it's bursting with high-end video and audio circuitry and built like a tank, but as you'd expect for such a luxurious piece of kit there's a high price tag attached - making it one for dedicated home cinema enthusiasts only.
Hauling the thing out of its box, it's immediately clear where your money's going. The construction is simply sublime and at a whopping 10.3kg it's reassuringly heavy. Take a look at the exploded diagram below - every inch of the player's complex internal layout is geared toward delivering the cleanest picture and sound quality possible. For instance, the two-layered top cover and three-layer chassis bottom help protect the circuits against vibration, while the video and power circuits inside have been separated into two independent blocks with each one mounted on its own board.
It also boasts a unique drive mechanism developed specifically for Blu-ray discs, which is shielded to keep out noise, magnetic forces and dust. It uses Denon's Suppress Vibration Hybrid (SVH) protein-coated loader tray to ensure stable disc rotation, accurate disc reading and a smooth, quiet action when loading.
And on the outside it looks the business too. Forget the svelte slimline shape of the DVD-1800BD - this deck is big and proud and boasts an elegantly curved brushed aluminium fascia. Our sample is black, but it's also available in Premium Silver or Silver finishes and all of them look stunning. Set into the front panel's wide surface area is a minimal array of buttons, giving you up-close control over disc playback, HDMI resolution and video noise reduction, plus there are both standby and on/off switches.
The rear panel boasts a suitably comprehensive selection of sockets for a high-end deck. There are two sets of component video outputs, one RCA and one BNC, plus an HDMI 1.3 port and 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs. There's an isolated pair of analogue stereo phonos for pure audio playback, coaxial and optical digital audio outs, S-video and composite video outputs plus RS-232 and IR transmitter/receiver sockets for multiroom use.