New HQV Equipped DVD Players From Denon

July 17, 2006

HQVWith all the high definition disc posts of late, you might have assumed that I’ve lost all interest in standard definition DVD’s. While hi-def discs are without a doubt my current fascination, I’ll continue to view standard-def DVD’s until the overwhelming majority of my favorite films are available on HD DVD.

Not only will I continue to view SD-DVD’s, I haven’t ruled out the purchase of one last (knock on wood) standard-def DVD player. I believe we’ve yet to see that last nth degree of performance squeezed from the format, at least from players that don’t require a second mortgage to purchase.

I know it may sound a bit odd to state that format defining DVD players may be forthcoming considering the format is nearly ten years old and Blu-ray/HD DVD players are upon us, but this wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened. The Pioneer HLD-X9 and X0 LaserDisc players are widely considered to be some of the finest LD players ever released and both came relatively late in the formats life cycle.

Up-converting DVD players have been all the rage of late, but to be honest I’ve had (at best) mixed results with them. The assumption that simply scaling 480p video up to either 720p or 1080i results in a better image, is foolhardy in my opinion.

After all no matter what resolution you scale up to, standard definition DVD’s will never contain more than 480 lines of vertical resolution. The quality of the internal video processor is much more important to the image quality than how many lines of resolution the player re-creates.

About those video processors in up-converting DVD players: By and large all upconverters use one of two chipsets for this task, either one from Faroudja or Genesis Microchip, and in my experience both have their own sets of pros and cons. I’ve yet to see an up-converter that utilizes either of the above chipsets that truly thrilled me.

But I haven’t given up on up-converters altogether, to the contrary I’ve seen one that delivered the goods, unfortunately it (the Denon DVD-5910) retails for $3500 and is beyond my meager means. What makes the Denon-5910 so special is its incorporation of the Realta HQV  “Hollywood Quality Video” chip by Silicon Optix.

The Realta is a 10-bit broadcast-quality, video processing chipset and I can tell you first hand that chip nestled inside the Denon 5910 produced the best looking SD-DVD images I’ve ever seen. If only that pesky $3500 price tag wasn’t in my way…

Kris Deering of Secrets of Home Theater and Hi-Fi, said of the HQV equipped DVD-5910, “this is the best video processing and DVD video performance I have seen to this date.” And while I wasn’t lucky enough to facilitate a full review, what limited time I did have with the 5910 at a clients home, definitely peaked my interest in the HQV chipsets.

Ok, by now I’m sure you’ve realized this entire post isn’t about a DVD player I can’t afford. This September Denon will release two new DVD players that incorporate Silicon Optix’s HQV chips. The Denon DVD-2930CI will use the Silicon Optix Reon HQV chipset and the DVD-3930CI will employ the Silicon Optix Realta HQV chipset (the same chip found in the 5910)

The price you ask? Ah that’s the beauty, the DVD-2930CI will retail for $849 and the DVD-3930CI will sell for $1499. I have to say the same chipset found in the 5910, for less than half the price is an intriguing proposition. Then again a HQV chipset for less than a third of the price of the 5910 isn’t exactly anything to sneeze at either. Both of these figures are pre-launch and subject to change but I wouldn’t expect much deviation from those numbers.

Another interesting feature on both the 2930CI and 3930CI is their support for SXGA resolutions, read pixel-for-pixel plasma image mapping. Of course as with any mid to high end Denon DVD player SACD, DVD-A playback and HDMI, Denon Link outputs will be included as well.

Obviously I can’t wait to get my hands on both of these units for a full review; specifically I’m interested in the Denon DVD-2930CI and its new Reon HQV chipset, as I haven’t seen it in use yet. Given what I’ve seen so far from the Silicon Optix HQV chips, it looks like another SD-DVD player is indeed in my future, September can’t come soon enough.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Previews


Comments

  • Hans

    I couldn’t agree more that SD DVD’s will stay play a big role in high end home theaters for a while.

    The Home Theater Store finally has 2930CI’s in stock (Houston warehouse). I am supposed to have mine by 8/10 and can’t wait.

    I currently have a Denon 2910 that feeds a Mitsubisih 65″, DLP RPTV (with the new 6 segment color wheel) via HDMI. 65″ is pretty big and definitely can highlight the shortcomings of the scaling and deinterlacing processes.

    Overall, I have been very impressed with the current combination – nontheless, I am upgrading for two reasons.

    First – On 90% of WELL MASTERED DVDs that are taken from GOOD SOURCES, my current combination looks superb – easily rivalling the HDTV channels I get from Comcast (as they are so highly compressed – Discovery HD being the notable exception).

    HOWEVER, even the best disks all seem to exhibit some macro-blocking. You see it, for example, on any of the Star Wars disks in scenes that are dominated by black star-fields. Bugs the heck out of me. The Realta implementaiton in the 5910 has apparently entirely erradicated this. That alone would be enough to make the switch.

    Secondly – like many newer displays, my new Mitsubishi is 1080P native – and the most the 2910 can spit out is 1080i. So I have my choice of handing off 720p and letting the sets inferior scalers kick in (I do notice a slight loss of resolution and apparent sharpness vs. the 1080i feed) OR I can give it 1080i and let the sets inferior de-interlacer kick in (I then notice some motion artifacts). It would clearly be ideal to have a single deinterlacing and a single scaling process – as opposed to multiple processes – and to do it on the best platform.

    If the 2930 (with it’s Reon chip) doesn’t do it, I’ll probably cough up the extra for the 3930 as the implementation should be effectively the same as the 5910.

  • Hans

    I couldn’t agree more that SD DVD’s will stay play a big role in high end home theaters for a while.

    The Home Theater Store finally has 2930CI’s in stock (Houston warehouse). I am supposed to have mine by 8/10 and can’t wait.

    I currently have a Denon 2910 that feeds a Mitsubisih 65″, DLP RPTV (with the new 6 segment color wheel) via HDMI. 65″ is pretty big and definitely can highlight the shortcomings of the scaling and deinterlacing processes.

    Overall, I have been very impressed with the current combination – nontheless, I am upgrading for two reasons.

    First – On 90% of WELL MASTERED DVDs that are taken from GOOD SOURCES, my current combination looks superb – easily rivalling the HDTV channels I get from Comcast (as they are so highly compressed – Discovery HD being the notable exception).

    HOWEVER, even the best disks all seem to exhibit some macro-blocking. You see it, for example, on any of the Star Wars disks in scenes that are dominated by black star-fields. Bugs the heck out of me. The Realta implementaiton in the 5910 has apparently entirely erradicated this. That alone would be enough to make the switch.

    Secondly – like many newer displays, my new Mitsubishi is 1080P native – and the most the 2910 can spit out is 1080i. So I have my choice of handing off 720p and letting the sets inferior scalers kick in (I do notice a slight loss of resolution and apparent sharpness vs. the 1080i feed) OR I can give it 1080i and let the sets inferior de-interlacer kick in (I then notice some motion artifacts). It would clearly be ideal to have a single deinterlacing and a single scaling process – as opposed to multiple processes – and to do it on the best platform.

    If the 2930 (with it’s Reon chip) doesn’t do it, I’ll probably cough up the extra for the 3930 as the implementation should be effectively the same as the 5910.

  • westcott

    This is great news as I have been contemplating an upgrade myself. Trying to explain to your wife why you want a $1500 player is a lot easier than $3500. I guess I better buy a HDMI switchbox first so it does not seem like such a financial hit.

  • westcott

    This is great news as I have been contemplating an upgrade myself. Trying to explain to your wife why you want a $1500 player is a lot easier than $3500. I guess I better buy a HDMI switchbox first so it does not seem like such a financial hit.