Denon and Pioneer

Denon DBP-2010

One of Japan's most respected videophile brands brings out its follow up to the DVD-1800BD, which offers BD Live support for the first time. But what's likely to set the DBP-2010 apart from most rivals is its heavyweight build quality and impressive electronics, which include Anchor Bay Technologies VRS (Video Reference Series) processing and a 12-bit video encoder supported by Denon's Noise Shaped Video (NSV) tech.

What's more, the high-grade audio components and independent audio circuits should make this a decent CD player and the internal decoding of Blu-ray's HD audio formats and 7.1-channel analogue outs will go down well among audiophiles.

What also jumps out from the spec sheet is the inclusion of DivX HD and AVCHD playback - always welcome in our book - but on the downside there's no Wi-Fi support and the lack of built-in memory means you need an SD card for BD Live downloads. And then there's the price - at £600 you'll need deep pockets to afford one. Find out how it fares when we get our hands on a sample in the coming weeks.


Pioneer BDP-LX52, BDP-320, BDP-120

With a track record like Pioneer's, the expectations for this new trio of players is understandably high. Its previous machines have demonstrated that the company excels at delivering the purest, cleanest and deepest Blu-ray pictures around, and we're crossing our fingers for more of the same, this time with the added bonus of BD Live support and hopefully faster disc loading times.

The £550 BDP-LX52 and £300 BDP-320 are the higher-end models and come equipped with 1GB of internal memory, which saves you the expense of adding an external USB flash drive - although both models feature USB ports if you want to add extra storage capacity.

Both players also feature Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio decoding, as well as Pioneer's Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS), which reduces jitter when transferring uncompressed multichannel LPCM audio over HDMI to a Pioneer AV amp (the BDP-320 only offers PQLS for two-channel LPCM, from CD for example).

The entry-level BDP-120 is aimed at those who want that famous Pioneer performance without all the bells and whistles. It lacks PQLS, won't play MP3, WMA or DivX and supports 36-bit Deep Colour as opposed to 48-bit (NOOOO!) but it comes with a 1GB USB memory drive in the box and sells for about £90 less than the BDP-320.

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