The premium Denon DBP-2012UD Blu-ray player is a class act, combining stellar build quality with sensational high-def video and music performance
The Denon DBP-2012UD isn't the most affordable of Blu-ray players but there's plenty on offer to justify its lofty price tag (to those have cash to burn, that is) and while it can't compete with the likes of the LG BD670 on price, it brings plenty of AV clout to the table.
Denon DBP-2012UD: Design
Seemingly hewn from granite, the heavyweight Denon DBP-2012UD towers above its slimline budget wannabes with its chunky 107mm height. The bodywork has been crafted with the utmost care and attention, with Denon’s Direct Mechanical Ground Construction keeping detrimental vibration at bay.
Available in black or silver, it’s a glamorous player, with a pleasing lack of clutter on the front and clear, legible display panel. There’s a USB port too, allowing you to feed in media from flash drives.
Rear socketry has a distinctly high-end flavour, particularly the 7.1-channel audio outputs that old-school analogue devotees will greet with open arms. Component, composite, coaxial digital audio and analogue stereo outputs complete the AV line-up.
The HDMI v1.4 output means 3D is supported, but the single output means you’ll need an AV receiver with v1.4 inputs to enjoy 3D pictures and HD audio simultaneously – unless you use the analogue outputs.
Denon DBP-2012UD: Features
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the DBP-2012UD is the lack of support for Wi-Fi, either built-in or with a dongle, which immediately puts it at a disadvantage to many cheaper players.
Still, if you’re willing to connect via Ethernet there are some tasty features to explore. Not least the DLNA media streaming and YouTube access, neither of which operates with the same slickness as Samsung or Panasonic’s players, but we applaud Denon for including them.
The Denon DBP-2012UD also plays DVD-Audio and SACD discs, great news for hi-res music lovers, as well as DivX HD, MP3, AAC, WAV, JPEG and WMV.
Like the Cambridge Audio 751BD, the DBP-2012UD is distinguished from the budget masses by its classy internal electronics, including Anchor Bay DVD upscaling chipset. You also get a detailed assortment of picture adjustments, with five memory presets to store the results.
Denon DBP-2012UD: Performance
The operating system keeps things simple, and we had no trouble getting our head round the layout and location of key adjustments.
Load a Blu-ray disc and as expected the DBP-2012UD serves up delectable high-definition pictures, bursting with detail and vibrant colours. Delicate textures are crisply resolved and shading is smooth, creating a picture you can simply lose yourself in.
It gets even better when playing a 3D disc, with the stable, artefact-free layering making the image hypnotically deep and absorbing.
Music playback is equally sublime, boasting levels of finesse and neutrality you simple don’t get from bargain basement players. Load up an SACD disc and the results are jaw-dropping.
Denon DBP-2012UD: Verdict
Like Cambridge Audio, Denon has fashioned an unashamedly high-end deck that goes for the performance jugular. Its dreamboat design and substantial construction ooze class, but the lack of a second HDMI port is surprising.
On the inside, key features include YouTube access and DLNA-certified media streaming – sometimes eschewed on high-end players – although it’s all conducted via Ethernet as there’s no Wi-Fi support. As expected, Blu-ray pictures are of the highest order, looking ultra-sharp, solid and nuanced, and the high-grade audio components deliver music to die for, particularly when spinning hi-res DVD-A and SACD.
Denon DBP-2012UD Availability: Out now
Denon DBP-2012UD price: £650