Denon DVD-1910, review

September 7, 2004

dvd1910The Denon DVD-1910 offers some interesting features for a retail price tag of $269, such as a HDCP compliant DVI output, Faroudja FLI2301 DCDI deinterlacer, 3:2 pull down detection, HDCD playback, Burr-Brown DA’s, and last but not least, 480p, 720p and 1080i up scaling.

First off, there are a few details I want to point out, as this is likely to be a very popular player given its feature set. The DVI connection only outputs 480p, 720p and 1080i. 480i is not an option over DVI, but is available over component however, the player only up scales over DVI. Also, there was no apparent way to turn on and off the internal Faroudja deinterlacer, not necessarily a problem, but it should be noted.

The DVD-1910 fits comfortably in the middle of Denon’s 2004 DVD player lineup. A lower priced model, the DVD-1710 at $179.00, lacks DVI and the Faroudja DCDI, while the DVD-2910 at $729 incorporates all of the 1910’s features as well as SACD playback, and HDMI.

Ok, back to the DVD-1910. After un-boxing the player, the first thing you’re likely to notice is it’s half the normal depth of standard DVD players, not quite the “substantial feel” you might expect. The features more than make up for whatever cosmetic shortcomings the player may suffer. The internal menu system is broken up into quick setup, custom setup, and initialize, which is pretty standard fare for anyone who’s owned a Denon before. In other words, spartan but functional.

Back panel connections include, as mentioned, a (HDCP) DVI-D port, RGB component video out, composite and s-video out. Audio connections include line level stereo, as well as optical and coaxial digital outputs, and a hardwired remote control in/out.


As anyone who’s considered an up scaling DVD player, and follows the features and bugs of such players, knows some of these units have an issue with passing blacker than black. In other words, the DVI output some manufactures use are set to a PC standard and when displaying really dark scenes they “crush” or show subtle shades of black as one big blotch of color, while the information present is actually more detailed than that. I’m happy to say the DVD-1910 doesn’t suffer from this malady, the player offers excellent black level reproduction.

Reference DVD’s used in this review were ‘Gladiator (Widescreen)’, ‘Kill Bill Vol.1’, ‘Digital Video Essentials’, ‘The Fifth Element (Superbit)’ and ‘Finding Nemo’. First off, as usual I ran the THX optimizer included on the double disc of ‘Finding Nemo’. It was nice to finally have a player in house that would allow me to calibrate contrast and brightness over DVI and with that set I was on my way. Since ‘Nemo’ was already in the tray, I played it to check how the color looked, as ‘Nemo’ is great at this. Overall the color was as I remembered from my aging Sony DVD, yet the separation between the colors was more pronounced.

From there I popped in ‘Digital Video Essentials’ to check out the waving flag footage. This clip is excellent source material for checking out a player’s ability at de-interlacing. This was the first glimpse I got at what this player was capable of. Now, most any player playing into a display device with a built in Faroudja deinterlacer can reproduce this scene correctly, however since the 1910 can up convert I was really anxious to see how it handled de-interlacing at 720p. With a quick push of the DVI button to change resolution, I was really pleased that I saw perfect de-interlacing at 720p, via the built in Faroudja chip. With this test passed, I was ready to check out some other clips to gauge over video performance.

With calibration out of the way, I moved onto ‘Gladiator’. I started with chapter 19 and one of the many arena fight scenes. The motion in this particular scene was smooth and artifact free which is something I’ve had trouble reproducing with other players. The sun shining the dust kicked up on the field looked somehow just more “right” than with the last few DVD players I’ve used.

The purple in the emperor’s uniform caught my eye. Not that I hadn’t really noticed it before, but I noticed a tad more detail in it this time, as well as how the black in collar provided more contrast to the purple in his cape with the 1910, than with my Sony DVD player.

From there I wanted to check out the scene in ‘Kill Bill Vol.1’ where Uma and Vivica have their little chat about payback. This scene on my setup has always resulted in a little pixilation. With the DVD-1910 the pixilation wasn’t totally absent, but it was diminished to a point where I’m comfortable enough to say it is the DVD and not the system.

Lastly, I threw on ‘The Fifth Element (Superbit Edition)’ to browse a few of my favorite scenes. This again provided me with some revelations. Starting with the technician who delivers the “restoration complete” line in chapter seven, there was a ton more detail in his face. I can only attribute this to the combination of up scaling via the DVI port and this was one of the biggest no brainiers I’d seen, in my time with the 1910. Another was apparent toward the end of the chapter when Leeloo is writing after her reconstruction, I had never really noticed the gold padding in the bottom of the chamber, much less the iridescent hue on it. When ever I notice details, in scenes I’ve literally seen 20 times, I can only attribute this to more detail provided by the DVD player.

All right, I’ll sum up. Are there better DVD players out and about in the home theater world? Surely, I’ve seen a few of them first hand, but with HD-DVD on the horizon, one has to seriously consider how much a mega buck DVD player is really going to be worth in the long run and how much you should spend if your planning on upgrading to HDVD, when it’s available. I have no hesitation in recommending the Denon DVD-1910 to someone who is just looking for something to tide them over until then or for someone who is more than happy with their current DVD collection, and just wants more out of it.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under DVD Player Reviews, Reviews


Comments

  • john

    I am having the same issue as Demitry, I left in unplugged for a couple of days and it forked for an hour, but after that the power went off again. Its very frustrating because fixing it would cost as much as a new player.

    The guys at DENON say that I have to send it in for repairs ($100), but I think they should find a solution for it and fix players with this issue for free, because I have seen at least 3 other posts elsewhere with the same issue.

    If this is a known problem, DENON should recall the broken ones or fix it for free, period.

    john

  • john

    I am having the same issue as Demitry, I left in unplugged for a couple of days and it forked for an hour, but after that the power went off again. Its very frustrating because fixing it would cost as much as a new player.

    The guys at DENON say that I have to send it in for repairs ($100), but I think they should find a solution for it and fix players with this issue for free, because I have seen at least 3 other posts elsewhere with the same issue.

    If this is a known problem, DENON should recall the broken ones or fix it for free, period.

    john

  • Demitry

    I bought this DVD player a year & a half back and it’s always had issues with frames freezing in the middle of a movie for just a second. This would usually happen only once or twice during the movie. And though annoying, it was tolerable.

    Now the player has a power source issue — it turned off in the middle of the movie. Restarting does not work and the power supply is completely shut off. I am very disappointed with this product. I know that sometimes you buy a lemon but this product is not worthy of the Denon name.

    Demitry

  • Demitry

    I bought this DVD player a year & a half back and it’s always had issues with frames freezing in the middle of a movie for just a second. This would usually happen only once or twice during the movie. And though annoying, it was tolerable.

    Now the player has a power source issue — it turned off in the middle of the movie. Restarting does not work and the power supply is completely shut off. I am very disappointed with this product. I know that sometimes you buy a lemon but this product is not worthy of the Denon name.

    Demitry

  • jadamsnyc

    I have heard the upconverters don’t perform as well on a CRT HDTV. Is that true? I am thinking of buying the new crt sony 30 inch xbr hdtv with an HDMI input. Is it worth buying an upconverter dvd or should i just stay with a high end progressive scan?

  • jadamsnyc

    I have heard the upconverters don’t perform as well on a CRT HDTV. Is that true? I am thinking of buying the new crt sony 30 inch xbr hdtv with an HDMI input. Is it worth buying an upconverter dvd or should i just stay with a high end progressive scan?

  • sean

    i have sony 60′ XBR LCD(DVI input incld) rear projection. i have denon dvd 2200 (pure progressive) player and it’s amazing with component output. my question is would i see a dramatic difference between my 2200 and 1910 player ( with DVI of course ) if so how much difference? or if there’s other dvd player tops 1910 which one would be best choice for my SONY 60’GRAND WEGA XBR 800? thank for reply

  • sean

    i have sony 60′ XBR LCD(DVI input incld) rear projection. i have denon dvd 2200 (pure progressive) player and it’s amazing with component output. my question is would i see a dramatic difference between my 2200 and 1910 player ( with DVI of course ) if so how much difference? or if there’s other dvd player tops 1910 which one would be best choice for my SONY 60’GRAND WEGA XBR 800? thank for reply

  • B.Greenway

    Strange, are your gamma settings set to film?

    And I take it your contrast and brightness settings are at 50% or below?

    How about keystone? Are you using it at all?

  • B.Greenway

    Strange, are your gamma settings set to film?

    And I take it your contrast and brightness settings are at 50% or below?

    How about keystone? Are you using it at all?

  • AVE

    I recently purchased the 1910 with the InFocus Screen Play 7502. Using the DVI (24 Pin) to M1 (24 Pin) DVI adaptor, I have had some serous issue with picture. When watching Black Hawk Down (720P), the day scenes are the best picture I have ever seen. Period! However, when the scene turn dark I get horrible blocking and hazing. When viewing Finding Nemo, the dark blues, reds and magentas have so much haze that it is unwatchable. I have been through all setting and systematically changed call cables and various inputs (DVI and Component). Any ideas as to what the problem my be?

  • AVE

    I recently purchased the 1910 with the InFocus Screen Play 7502. Using the DVI (24 Pin) to M1 (24 Pin) DVI adaptor, I have had some serous issue with picture. When watching Black Hawk Down (720P), the day scenes are the best picture I have ever seen. Period! However, when the scene turn dark I get horrible blocking and hazing. When viewing Finding Nemo, the dark blues, reds and magentas have so much haze that it is unwatchable. I have been through all setting and systematically changed call cables and various inputs (DVI and Component). Any ideas as to what the problem my be?

  • B.Greenway

    “Is there any evidence of macroblocking with the DVD-1910?”

    Initially I saw zero, later though in a very few scenes I got just a little. Although if I had it to do over again, I’d still buy the 1910. I just think overall it’s the best of the sub $300.00 up-converters I’ve seen.

  • B.Greenway

    “Is there any evidence of macroblocking with the DVD-1910?”

    Initially I saw zero, later though in a very few scenes I got just a little. Although if I had it to do over again, I’d still buy the 1910. I just think overall it’s the best of the sub $300.00 up-converters I’ve seen.

  • Aaron

    Is there any evidence of macroblocking with the DVD-1910?

  • Aaron

    Is there any evidence of macroblocking with the DVD-1910?

  • Mike C

    Excellent review. I was thinking of buying the Samsung 841 to hook up to my DLP Samsung HLP5063, will buy the Denon instead! DVI feature actually works!

  • Mike C

    Excellent review. I was thinking of buying the Samsung 841 to hook up to my DLP Samsung HLP5063, will buy the Denon instead! DVI feature actually works!