Denon DVD-2930CI Review

August 8, 2006

Denon 2930CIYesterday I had the pleasure of spending some time with the new Denon DVD-2930CI which uses the Silicon Optix Reon HQV chipset. The review took place at my good friend Raj Birbal’s ‘Home Cinema Entertainment’ in Alpharetta Georgia. I have to say it was quite a home theater geek-fest, as we not only tested the 2930CI but the Denon DVD-1730 and Calibre Vantage-HD video scaler/switcher but as if this wasn’t enough, all viewing took place on the impressive InFocus 777 video projector.

As fun as all the above products were to play around with I want to get back to the DVD-2930CI, as you may remember I first mentioned the HQV equipped player back in mid July and at the time it was assumed (based on Denon’s ship schedule) that the earliest we would get our hands on one would be in September. Long story short luckily we didn’t have to wait that long.

As mentioned above, the display device for this review was an InFocus 777 front projector, the 777 is a three chip 720p projector that I have to say, beyond any shadow of a doubt was simply the best 720p display I’ve ever seen, which is also problematic to some degree. I generally prefer to do my reviews at home with my equipment because, well it’s just what I’m most accustomed to.

However once I became familiar with how the 777 looked (I took my Toshiba HD-XA1 and played some SD DVD on it) I felt that the combination of the displays 720p resolution and the fact that Raj uses a massive 123” diagonal screen in his showroom, more than balanced out the differences from my system.

Or in other words even though the projector was considerably better than what I’m used to, standard definition DVD’s at 123” should by default be handicapped considerably. Well what I found was that theory holds little weight to how well the DVD-2930CI displays DVD, even on massive screens.

First Impressions: Un-boxing the player immediately told me that Denons’s heavy, solid build quality on their mid to upper end gear is still very much in place. The player felt as if it could have been extruded from a solid piece of steel rather than containing some of the most advanced circuitry to ever grace the inside of a DVD player. No flimsy plastic casing here, the shell felt as if it was professional instrument grade quality and not a piece of consumer electronics.

The remote wasn’t backlit but as anyone who’s seriously considering this player, likely owns a universal remote this was hardly reason for concern. I will say that even though it wasn’t backlit, the remote was a step up from the utilitarian remote included with my DVD-1910. The front panel controls and rear panel connection were classic Denon, simple logical and refined.

Cabling & Connections: As the player is an up-scaler (all the way to 1080p) we opted for HDMI directly to the projector and coaxial to the surround system. Even though the 777 accepts 1080p inputs, I opted for 720p from the 2930CI as it matched the projectors native resolution as well as ensured that all processing took place in the DVD-2930CI and not the projector. After all the internal HQV chipset was the real focus here.

Note: I did switch over to 1080p output from the player for a short while to ensure compatibility but again 720p display = 720p output in my book, the majority of the time anyway. Rear Panel Connections.

HQV Benchmark: I know I know, another new DVD player, what’s the big deal? I won’t even beat around the bush here folks, the DVD-2930CI and the soon to be released 3930CI are among the first consumer DVD players to utilize the HQV video processors (DVD-5910 as well) and what better way to test the 2930CI’s de-interlacing, noise rejection, detail level and cadence detection than the Silicon Optix HQV benchmark DVD.

•Color Bar/Vertical Detail: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Jaggies Pattern 1: Pass – Score 5 of 5
•Jaggies Pattern 2: Pass – Score 5 of 5
•Flag: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Picture Detail: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Noise Reduction: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•3:2 Detection: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Film Cadence: Pass – Score (Combined) 40 of 40
•Mixed 3:2 Film, Horizontal Text Crawl: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Mixed 3:2 Film, Vertical Text Crawl: Pass – Score 10 of 10
•Total Score:130 out of a possible 130.

That’s right 130 out of a possible maximum score of 130, cue the Rip Taylor confetti and party favors we have a winner. All kidding aside I can’t say as I’m actually surprised that an HQV equipped DVD player passed all of the HQV benchmark tests with flying colors but it is worth noting that the DVD-2930CI uses the Silicon Optix Reon-Vx and not the higher end Realta.

Another impressive bit of functionality directly related to the HQV video processing in the DVD-2930CI, is its multi-stepped adjustable noise reduction. Noise reduction circuitry in a DVD player is a plus, noise reduction that you can turn on and off in a DVD player is an ever bigger plus. But the DVD-2930CI not only has fantastic multi-stepped noise reduction, it’s adjustable and doesn’t greatly reduce the resolution of the image even at the highest setting.

So we’re done right? this players a winner. Not so fast, while I readily admit that the HQV benchmark is an important tool for evaluating DVD players and displays the real proof is in the viewing. Let me cite a few examples. I recently reviewed a budget video projector that failed nearly every one of the HQV cadence tests, except that is the all important 3:2 pull down detection test, end result? The projector in question will still receive a recommendation when the review posts, as I feel that it adequately passed the critical tests even though it failed on some of the less common cadences.

Second example, my Denon DVD-1910 actually scores slightly better than the Toshiba HD-A1 but the HD-A1 looks better in my system, quite a bit better as a matter of fact. At the end of the day tests and benchmarks are only half of the story. Now let’s get back to the rest of the story with the DVD-2930CI.

Image Quality:

As stated, talk is talk but image quality is the name of the game here, so I cued up the most recent disc I’d viewed with my Toshiba HD-XA1 and got down to brass tax. With the Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark (from the box set) disc in tray I was ready to see what this player is capable and again on a 123” screen, that should devour anything as measly as 480 lines of vertical resolution, or so one would think.

The first thing that jumped out at me versus the XA-1’s rendition of the same opening sequence was black level, it was defined and crisp and showed quite a bit of shadow detail once Indy moved into the temple. The color was highly saturated yet never over saturated. At first glance this was one of the best DVD images I’ve seen at any screen size much less 123”

Moving forward to chapter 23, as Indy races through the desert after the ark, I couldn’t help but notice the excellent earthtones in the soldier’s uniforms. I also noticed some of the best fleshtones I’ve seen from DVD, take a look at the screen shot below.

indy.jpg

This shot was taken from the 123” screen on a 3.2MP camera; notice the actor foreground and background have two distinct fleshtones and the shading on the foreground actor’s face. But more importantly than that take a look at the detail in his jacket, again this is a screen shot taken directly from a DVD on a 123” screen using no external video processor.

The DVD-2930CI was so good that I occasionally found myself forgetting to take notes and just got lost in the movie. As someone who reviews gear, sometimes back to back and for several weeks at a time in some cases, you will never hear a bigger endorsement for a piece of CE equipment than my comment above. All home theater gear is a means to an end and not an end itself; I don’t take any piece of gears ability to suspend disbelief lightly.

After snapping back to reality and realizing I had to put pen to paper, I shifted to the two-disc Pearl Harbor box set and skipped forward to chapter 22’s first strike. I wanted to get a feel for how the DVD-2930CI handled CGI in the attack sequence. Before I could get that far however I noticed how red the red rising sun on the zero’s were, it was a deep rich red as opposed to the orange’ish red in previous viewings.

I noticed the battle sequence was a bit easier to follow, being able to place all of the individual elements of the battle in their own space and time, definitely provided a superior experience over past viewings. I also noticed the sound effects seemed to have a better pace and rhythm with the action on screen

From Pearl Harbor we moved onto Kill Bill Vol.1 and chapter 14’s ‘The Crazy 88’s’. I noticed subtle details in the bride’s face I’d never seen before. Again I also noticed a certain ease or fluidity to the fight choreography that eluded me in previous viewings. As Beatrix back flips away from Go-Go’s mace I noticed newfound detail in the wood floor below. It was as if I was viewing the scene for the first time.

Skipping forward to chapter 16 where O’Ren finds out first hand, yes that is a Hanzo sword. The falling snow in the shot took on a convincing 3D effect that I most definitely hadn’t noticed in any previous viewing. Each flake of snow seemed to occupy its own individual place in the shot and made the presentation even more convincing.

Next I popped in the super-bit edition of ‘Hollow Man’ and skipped forward to chapter 9. Again as in all previous clips fleshtone was rendered with an almost eerie accuracy, fine detail and black level also excelled but it was with this title that I noticed something I wasn’t expecting, something that in retrospect I should have expected all along.

I saw less overall improvement with ‘Hollow Man’ than with all of the previous titles played through the DVD-2930CI. Like I said, I suppose that I was expecting every disc in my collection to be some sort of revelation and in the end this just wasn’t the case or even likely. Hollow Man is by far one of the best DVD transfers I’ve ever seen and about the only thing the DVD-2930CI could add to this already fantastic disc was increased clarity between the foreground and background objects in the film, no small feat but certainly not the ‘oh wow look at that’ factor that other titles had provided.

It seems as if the DVD-2930CI really excels at overcoming many of the flaws of inferior transfers and lets the excellent transfers really shine, in the end can we really ask for more from a DVD player? I wanted to try out one last disc to shore up my opinion on the DVD-2930CI’s image quality and picked iRobot for this task.

Skipping forward to chapter 10 on the factory floor, I noticed a finer gradient of shading in the panels of Bridget Moynahan’s coat and again in the detail department, I noticed the exposed components in the robots with more depth and detail than in previous viewings. To be quite honest, overall I felt iRobot through the DVD-2930CI was nearly as good as the recent airing on HBO-HD, often times I find that color accuracy is the first thing I notice in HD even before the the improved resolution.

Skipping forward to chapter 31 where the police chief unloads his shotgun into a rather perturbed robot was nothing short of jaw dropping and that’s something I haven’t said about DVD in ages. Later as the robots mass in the streets for their takeover, I noticed detail in the background buildings as if it was a first viewing. Overall iRobot on the DVD-2930CI was nearly flawless.

Summary: I’m starting to really get why Denon opted to sit out the format war, they are able to continue to justify the price of premium DVD players, without breaking a sweat over which side to pick. Speaking of the format wars, I’ve decided what would make for the ultimate combo-player, a Denon multi-format player that consists of whichever HD side wins and their own excellent up-scaling DVD playback.

The DVD-2930CI is by far the finest DVD player I’ve ever had the pleasuring of reviewing. But of course that statement must be qualified with, I’ve haven’t had the opportunity to fully review the Denon DVD-5910(CI) or the DVD-2930CI’s big brother the DVD-3930CI, all of which use HQV processing and scaling.

Needless to say the DVD-2930CI is highly recommended and with the right amount of care this player could conceivably carry you through the entire format war and well beyond, without ever skipping a beat. Regardless of your hi-def DVD plans if you own even a moderate DVD collection and are looking for something above the fold in DVD playback, be sure to audition the Denon DVD-2930CI before making your final decision, your eyes will thank me.

Product Details – Denon DVD-2930CI:

•Retail: $849.00 – Availability 8/8/06 Depending on Supply.
•Progressive Scan Universal DVD-V/DVD-A/SACD/CD playback.
•Silicon Optix Reon-Vx HQV chipset for 10-bit HD output from a standard definition 8-bit DVD source.
•HDMI output and scaling to 1080p.
•PC Resolution to SXGA.
•RS-232 C interface,
•Parallel audio and video outputs.
•Denon Link.



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


Comments

  • Budi

    I’ve been reading some reviews on 2930ci and is now drooling beyond control.
    I imagine having it hooked to my samsung LA37-A550 and start playing my favorite disks. I was awaken by the fact that I don’t have an amplifier to make that burr browns show who they really are, so I’m dead, sort of. (I won’t be able to afford an amplifier, a pair of speakers, and of course the denon, all at the same time). Can somebody tell me what the denon might sound when paired directly to active speakers like say Audio Engine A5 ?

  • Budi

    I’ve been reading some reviews on 2930ci and is now drooling beyond control.
    I imagine having it hooked to my samsung LA37-A550 and start playing my favorite disks. I was awaken by the fact that I don’t have an amplifier to make that burr browns show who they really are, so I’m dead, sort of. (I won’t be able to afford an amplifier, a pair of speakers, and of course the denon, all at the same time). Can somebody tell me what the denon might sound when paired directly to active speakers like say Audio Engine A5 ?

  • Raj Surin

    Hi

    It was intersting to read the very good comments and reviews on the 2930 . This was my first good quality dvd player – the others being general purpose dvd players. The reason why i’m putting down this comment is cos i actually bought this dvd player for the sake of AUDIO ONLY – Video being secondary use – (I had not even auditioned it for Video at the time of purchase) in fact it is not even connected to any display. ( i linked up after reading the reviews to check out everything that was mentioned – spent almost a month doing it- used “Phantom of the opera” and “Moulin Rouge” – its got a lot of dynamic variations in both video and sound, The dance sequences are a riot of colour – definetly rendered as good as a still image with very vibrant colour saturation. Checked it out with an old sherlock holmes Tv serial on DVD – I’m seeing details in the frills of the then clothing previously quite flat.

    My verdict : Its a great dvd player – used hdmi connected to a hitach 42″ plasma and audio via 1. a denon av reciever and alternated with ny home-brew amp and speakers – other combination of speakers used were wharfdale.)
    As far as my decision for AUDIO ONLY – I think its great – I’ve used the following speakers – Bose Acoustimass-5 – wharfedale Floortanders – and some of my own speakers. The Bose was a let down in the just below the mid-range section. The wharfdale floor standers are excellent – even at very low listening levels – I would’nt like to brag aboput my home -brew- speakers -but i like them the most (its custom built for my ears anyway).

    One surprising thing was that it gave a very impressive performance even from low grade mp3 discs -( which is available in plenty in India.) what was really the best part of this player is that my jazz collection is crisp on brass and the vocals go right into the head. The marked difference in soundtracks from movies (synthesized sound) and Music discs does not seem to be much of a damper – the movie soundtracks with all its sizzels and bells and subsounds fall in place – perhaps even more fuller and warmer than the shrill bursts i’ve noticed in most dvd players specially the Sony – It almost makes me sometimes come to the conclusion that it is MORE of an AUDIO player than a …
    Thanks all.

  • Raj Surin

    Hi

    It was intersting to read the very good comments and reviews on the 2930 . This was my first good quality dvd player – the others being general purpose dvd players. The reason why i’m putting down this comment is cos i actually bought this dvd player for the sake of AUDIO ONLY – Video being secondary use – (I had not even auditioned it for Video at the time of purchase) in fact it is not even connected to any display. ( i linked up after reading the reviews to check out everything that was mentioned – spent almost a month doing it- used “Phantom of the opera” and “Moulin Rouge” – its got a lot of dynamic variations in both video and sound, The dance sequences are a riot of colour – definetly rendered as good as a still image with very vibrant colour saturation. Checked it out with an old sherlock holmes Tv serial on DVD – I’m seeing details in the frills of the then clothing previously quite flat.

    My verdict : Its a great dvd player – used hdmi connected to a hitach 42″ plasma and audio via 1. a denon av reciever and alternated with ny home-brew amp and speakers – other combination of speakers used were wharfdale.)
    As far as my decision for AUDIO ONLY – I think its great – I’ve used the following speakers – Bose Acoustimass-5 – wharfedale Floortanders – and some of my own speakers. The Bose was a let down in the just below the mid-range section. The wharfdale floor standers are excellent – even at very low listening levels – I would’nt like to brag aboput my home -brew- speakers -but i like them the most (its custom built for my ears anyway).

    One surprising thing was that it gave a very impressive performance even from low grade mp3 discs -( which is available in plenty in India.) what was really the best part of this player is that my jazz collection is crisp on brass and the vocals go right into the head. The marked difference in soundtracks from movies (synthesized sound) and Music discs does not seem to be much of a damper – the movie soundtracks with all its sizzels and bells and subsounds fall in place – perhaps even more fuller and warmer than the shrill bursts i’ve noticed in most dvd players specially the Sony – It almost makes me sometimes come to the conclusion that it is MORE of an AUDIO player than a …
    Thanks all.

  • John watkins Jr.

    I purchased the 2930CI and have been very pleased with the disc audio performance. I collect and transfer pre-recorded tapes in 192KHZ/24BIT format and burn directly using discWelder BRONZE with exceptional results. I downsampled DGG’s Tristan Und Isolde to 48K/24BIT and the results were exceptional on DVD audio. Why this sample rate? I wanted to get the entire opera on one single layer DVD. I was very pleased with the results. My files are filtered over 40KBS to keep those tape bias oscillators out of the spectrum, always a wise idea.

  • John watkins Jr.

    I purchased the 2930CI and have been very pleased with the disc audio performance. I collect and transfer pre-recorded tapes in 192KHZ/24BIT format and burn directly using discWelder BRONZE with exceptional results. I downsampled DGG’s Tristan Und Isolde to 48K/24BIT and the results were exceptional on DVD audio. Why this sample rate? I wanted to get the entire opera on one single layer DVD. I was very pleased with the results. My files are filtered over 40KBS to keep those tape bias oscillators out of the spectrum, always a wise idea.

  • faberryman

    Is it possible to upscale non-copy protected SD-DVDs over component on the 2930CI? If so, what are the necessary settings. I can only get 480i/480p over component even on non-copy protected discs. Thanks.

  • faberryman

    Is it possible to upscale non-copy protected SD-DVDs over component on the 2930CI? If so, what are the necessary settings. I can only get 480i/480p over component even on non-copy protected discs. Thanks.

  • John W. Watkins Jr.

    I just received my Denon 2930CI from Crutchfield this afternoon. I have been making 192KHZ@24BIT audio DVDs of my extensive tape collection. I placed a 192KHZ DVD of my Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 by Peter Katin and the London Symphony (Richmond Stereo Tape AKA London/Ampex) in the drawer and was blown away. My monitor’s horizontal is kaput so I connected her and my system sound is fantastic with 192KHZ audio. Someday, I look at a DVD video. No more crappy audio within that VIDEO TS any more.

  • John W. Watkins Jr.

    I just received my Denon 2930CI from Crutchfield this afternoon. I have been making 192KHZ@24BIT audio DVDs of my extensive tape collection. I placed a 192KHZ DVD of my Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 by Peter Katin and the London Symphony (Richmond Stereo Tape AKA London/Ampex) in the drawer and was blown away. My monitor’s horizontal is kaput so I connected her and my system sound is fantastic with 192KHZ audio. Someday, I look at a DVD video. No more crappy audio within that VIDEO TS any more.

  • John W. Watkins Jr.

    I just received my Denon 2930CI from Crutchfield this afternoon. I have been making 192KHZ@24BIT audio DVDs of my extensive tape collection. I placed a 192KHZ DVD of my Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 by Peter Katin and the London Symphony (Richmond Stereo Tape AKA London/Ampex) in the drawer and was blown away. My monitor’s horizontal is kaput so I connected her and my system sound is fantastic with 192KHZ audio. Someday, I look at a DVD video. No more crappy audio within that VIDEO TS any more.

  • John W. Watkins Jr.

    I just received my Denon 2930CI from Crutchfield this afternoon. I have been making 192KHZ@24BIT audio DVDs of my extensive tape collection. I placed a 192KHZ DVD of my Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 by Peter Katin and the London Symphony (Richmond Stereo Tape AKA London/Ampex) in the drawer and was blown away. My monitor’s horizontal is kaput so I connected her and my system sound is fantastic with 192KHZ audio. Someday, I look at a DVD video. No more crappy audio within that VIDEO TS any more.

  • BC

    Hi

    I have just a 2930 here in Oz and am disappointed that it will not play many of my Australian region 4 disks; just comes up with an error, Wrong Region. But it plays my other Regio 4 disks fine.

    Do I need to change a setting, or send it back?

    Also I am playing through a Loewe Xelos CRT Tv (NB not LCD- I am waiting for Full HD 100Hz to come in to the market at a decent price). Any recommendations on settings?
    Otherwise I love it.
    Thanks all

    BC

  • BC

    Hi

    I have just a 2930 here in Oz and am disappointed that it will not play many of my Australian region 4 disks; just comes up with an error, Wrong Region. But it plays my other Regio 4 disks fine.

    Do I need to change a setting, or send it back?

    Also I am playing through a Loewe Xelos CRT Tv (NB not LCD- I am waiting for Full HD 100Hz to come in to the market at a decent price). Any recommendations on settings?
    Otherwise I love it.
    Thanks all

    BC

  • Shedman

    Hi

    I am looking at either the 2930 or 3930. Having something that makes the best of my SD DVD library is important to me hence my impending purchase.

    However I have a Optoma H50 projector which has a 800 x 600 panel and DVI (rather than HDMI).

    I am thinking that to get the best picture from this combination I would set the DVD player to output SVGA through the HDMI and use a HDMI to DVI adaptor to connect the cable to the projector.

    Do you agree and thanks for the great reviews.

    Stuart, Rayleigh, England

  • Shedman

    Hi

    I am looking at either the 2930 or 3930. Having something that makes the best of my SD DVD library is important to me hence my impending purchase.

    However I have a Optoma H50 projector which has a 800 x 600 panel and DVI (rather than HDMI).

    I am thinking that to get the best picture from this combination I would set the DVD player to output SVGA through the HDMI and use a HDMI to DVI adaptor to connect the cable to the projector.

    Do you agree and thanks for the great reviews.

    Stuart, Rayleigh, England

  • JL

    HI, just to say thanks for your detailed review. I just ordered one unit from Amazon. Hope that soon I can enjoy this awesome player (actually I have an oppo 917).

  • JL

    HI, just to say thanks for your detailed review. I just ordered one unit from Amazon. Hope that soon I can enjoy this awesome player (actually I have an oppo 917).

  • Ben Webber

    Hi There

    I was keen on the Denon 2930 DVD player after a magazine review over here in the UK. Your excellent review just makes me want the player even more. I should be buying a Sony KDL40X2000 LCD TV with 1080p Compatibility and this DVD player at the end of the month. It should really enhance my DVD collection. Keep up the good work. Ben, Swindon, England

  • Ben Webber

    Hi There

    I was keen on the Denon 2930 DVD player after a magazine review over here in the UK. Your excellent review just makes me want the player even more. I should be buying a Sony KDL40X2000 LCD TV with 1080p Compatibility and this DVD player at the end of the month. It should really enhance my DVD collection. Keep up the good work. Ben, Swindon, England

  • SD

    I have been looking at Denon 1930Ci and Oppo. I have been reading reviews on this unit as I am interested in the different chip but I am not sure it is worth the extra money.

    How is this compared to the Denon 1930CI?

  • SD

    I have been looking at Denon 1930Ci and Oppo. I have been reading reviews on this unit as I am interested in the different chip but I am not sure it is worth the extra money.

    How is this compared to the Denon 1930CI?

  • Bappy

    I am about to buy 2930 and I have a question rather than a comment. My projector is Benq W100. And it’s native resulation is 480P but capable of accepting 720p. Now should I able to upconvert it through 2930 to 720 and watch it over Benq W100. Pls advise.

    bappy

  • Bappy

    I am about to buy 2930 and I have a question rather than a comment. My projector is Benq W100. And it’s native resulation is 480P but capable of accepting 720p. Now should I able to upconvert it through 2930 to 720 and watch it over Benq W100. Pls advise.

    bappy

  • Svante Skoog

    Hi!
    I just tested Toshiba HD-XA1 for a few weeks. But I´m not keeping it. Sure the High Def picture is amazing but the format wars are a pain in the ass. I don´t want to begin collect a bunch of HD-DVD movies and realise 3 years from now that HD-DVD is dead. The same goes for Blu-Ray.

    I thinking about sticking with DVD a few more years. But my upscaling Sony DVP-NS76H doesn´t really deliver the amazing picture quality that I want to experience from DVD with lots of noise and artifacting in the image. The details in dark scenes are also dissapointing So I´m thinking about upgrading to Denon-2930.

    The DVD upscaling on the XA1 is impressive. But a bit soft. And since I live in sweden I can´t play region 2 discs in the XA1. Is the picture quality noticably sharper on the Denon 2930 than on XA1? And does it wipe out most or all of the noise and artifacting?

    Probably better than my Sony NS76 I hope 😉 (Dont know if you ever tested an Sony NS76 or what it´s called in the US). Great review by the way 🙂 Yours being the first as well 😉

  • Svante Skoog

    Hi!
    I just tested Toshiba HD-XA1 for a few weeks. But I´m not keeping it. Sure the High Def picture is amazing but the format wars are a pain in the ass. I don´t want to begin collect a bunch of HD-DVD movies and realise 3 years from now that HD-DVD is dead. The same goes for Blu-Ray.

    I thinking about sticking with DVD a few more years. But my upscaling Sony DVP-NS76H doesn´t really deliver the amazing picture quality that I want to experience from DVD with lots of noise and artifacting in the image. The details in dark scenes are also dissapointing So I´m thinking about upgrading to Denon-2930.

    The DVD upscaling on the XA1 is impressive. But a bit soft. And since I live in sweden I can´t play region 2 discs in the XA1. Is the picture quality noticably sharper on the Denon 2930 than on XA1? And does it wipe out most or all of the noise and artifacting?

    Probably better than my Sony NS76 I hope 😉 (Dont know if you ever tested an Sony NS76 or what it´s called in the US). Great review by the way 🙂 Yours being the first as well 😉

  • B.Greenway

    David, its funny you mention resale value; a friend and I were just talking about Denon’s resale value the other day, take a look on ebay and you’ll get an idea of the prices used Denon gear fetches. I wouldn’t worry about reselling Denon at all.

  • B.Greenway

    David, its funny you mention resale value; a friend and I were just talking about Denon’s resale value the other day, take a look on ebay and you’ll get an idea of the prices used Denon gear fetches. I wouldn’t worry about reselling Denon at all.

  • DBarlow

    I’m really, really tempted to get a 2930 but am hesitant because of the imminent arrival of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

    I’m worried that in a year or so’s time, re-sale value on DVD players like this one will plummit as everyone will be jumping to ship to HD players.

    On the other hand we may have to wait longer than expected before a stable HD market transpires and there are decent HD players available.

    Very undecided. Any advice ?

    Regards
    David

  • DBarlow

    I’m really, really tempted to get a 2930 but am hesitant because of the imminent arrival of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

    I’m worried that in a year or so’s time, re-sale value on DVD players like this one will plummit as everyone will be jumping to ship to HD players.

    On the other hand we may have to wait longer than expected before a stable HD market transpires and there are decent HD players available.

    Very undecided. Any advice ?

    Regards
    David

  • Lee

    I decided to take the plunge and buy one. It arrived today. I’ve only spent a couple of hours with it so far but I’m already very, very happy. Build quality is superb. The deinterlacing and scaling isn’t quite as good as the ABT102 card in my VP30 but it’s very close and costs a lot less. The (DNR) noise reduction is superb as long as it’s not set too high – level 1 (the lowest) gives the best results on my Pioneer plasma TV. I’d recommend avoiding the MPEG noise reduction (softens the image too much for my liking) and the detail enhancement options (it’s really not necessary).

    The bottom line is that this player can produce really stunning pictures – better than a lot of the real HD stuff showing on Sky HD in the UK. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to make the most of their DVD collection. Right, I’m off to watch The Matrix for the 100th time!

  • Lee

    I decided to take the plunge and buy one. It arrived today. I’ve only spent a couple of hours with it so far but I’m already very, very happy. Build quality is superb. The deinterlacing and scaling isn’t quite as good as the ABT102 card in my VP30 but it’s very close and costs a lot less. The (DNR) noise reduction is superb as long as it’s not set too high – level 1 (the lowest) gives the best results on my Pioneer plasma TV. I’d recommend avoiding the MPEG noise reduction (softens the image too much for my liking) and the detail enhancement options (it’s really not necessary).

    The bottom line is that this player can produce really stunning pictures – better than a lot of the real HD stuff showing on Sky HD in the UK. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to make the most of their DVD collection. Right, I’m off to watch The Matrix for the 100th time!

  • Craig

    Does upscaling like this benefit an LCD TV much?

    I was told on another forum not to bother getting upscaling because my LCD ‘automatically’ does it.

  • Craig

    Does upscaling like this benefit an LCD TV much?

    I was told on another forum not to bother getting upscaling because my LCD ‘automatically’ does it.

  • Lee

    I had the opportunity to demo this player recently. I was actually shopping for a new subwoofer but decided to check it out a couple of projectors (Infocus IN76 plus a competing model from Optoma) at the same time and this was the player they used for the demo. For most of the demo the player was set to output 720p – very similar to the setup you used for your test. I was really impressed.

    Having said that, I recently added a DVDO VP30 to my setup which works great with my existing Denon DVD-1920. I used to think that the scaling built into the DVD-1920 was pretty good but the output from the DVDO just has to be seen to be believed. The one gripe that I’ve got is that I can’t take full advantage of the DVDO’s capabilities with current DVD player – my DVDO has the ABT102 precision deinterlacing upgrade but my DVD player only outputs deinterlaced video over HDMI. Like I said, the picture I’ve got today is really very good but the geek in me can’t help but wonder if it could be even better for just a little more outlay.

    I understand that the DVD-2930 can output interlaced NTSC/PAL video over HDMI. It’s my understanding that Denon’s top of the line player uses the Silicon Optix Realta with HQV for deinterlacing and an Anchor Bay (DVDO) chip for scaling. Do you think I’d see a noticable improvement by adding this player to my setup?

    Regards,

    Lee

  • Lee

    I had the opportunity to demo this player recently. I was actually shopping for a new subwoofer but decided to check it out a couple of projectors (Infocus IN76 plus a competing model from Optoma) at the same time and this was the player they used for the demo. For most of the demo the player was set to output 720p – very similar to the setup you used for your test. I was really impressed.

    Having said that, I recently added a DVDO VP30 to my setup which works great with my existing Denon DVD-1920. I used to think that the scaling built into the DVD-1920 was pretty good but the output from the DVDO just has to be seen to be believed. The one gripe that I’ve got is that I can’t take full advantage of the DVDO’s capabilities with current DVD player – my DVDO has the ABT102 precision deinterlacing upgrade but my DVD player only outputs deinterlaced video over HDMI. Like I said, the picture I’ve got today is really very good but the geek in me can’t help but wonder if it could be even better for just a little more outlay.

    I understand that the DVD-2930 can output interlaced NTSC/PAL video over HDMI. It’s my understanding that Denon’s top of the line player uses the Silicon Optix Realta with HQV for deinterlacing and an Anchor Bay (DVDO) chip for scaling. Do you think I’d see a noticable improvement by adding this player to my setup?

    Regards,

    Lee

  • thomas

    Hello,
    Which Player would you choose between the 2930CI and the Toshiba HD-x1?

  • thomas

    Hello,
    Which Player would you choose between the 2930CI and the Toshiba HD-x1?

  • CW

    Will the 2930CI play multi-region dvd’s?

  • CW

    Will the 2930CI play multi-region dvd’s?

  • Jae

    Thanks for a good review. Can you give comments between HD format DVD player and this one (video quality and price) ?

    Thaanks,

    Jae

  • Jae

    Thanks for a good review. Can you give comments between HD format DVD player and this one (video quality and price) ?

    Thaanks,

    Jae

  • B.Greenway

    Hi James, I haven’t had the chance to directly compare the 2930 to the 3910.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi James, I haven’t had the chance to directly compare the 2930 to the 3910.

  • James

    How does the 2930 compare to the 3910?

  • James

    How does the 2930 compare to the 3910?

  • B.Greenway

    JB. my best advice would to find a dealer that allows in-home evaluations. That will save you from all the guesswork.

  • B.Greenway

    JB. my best advice would to find a dealer that allows in-home evaluations. That will save you from all the guesswork.

  • Ben

    Nice review!

    I completely agree with all the hype and praise levelled at the 2930ci – it is the best player i have ever seen and, in my opinion is almost equal to the 3930ci (obviously an extra £450 in Denon’s hands equals even higher quality)but in terms of the image and sound quality that comes out of this player, its unbelievable at the price. i’ve got mine running on an Infocus IN72 projector (amazing for the money!) in 720p and it consistently blows me away! time to start watching movies for the 1st time again!!!

  • Ben

    Nice review!

    I completely agree with all the hype and praise levelled at the 2930ci – it is the best player i have ever seen and, in my opinion is almost equal to the 3930ci (obviously an extra £450 in Denon’s hands equals even higher quality)but in terms of the image and sound quality that comes out of this player, its unbelievable at the price. i’ve got mine running on an Infocus IN72 projector (amazing for the money!) in 720p and it consistently blows me away! time to start watching movies for the 1st time again!!!

  • JB

    Hi, I read forums a lot to learn more about upscaling. My Marantz DV8400 does not upscale, neither does my pana th42pv60 (plasma hd ready), but the picture seems to be o.k. on dvi.(audio is great on the Marantz) Or maybe I’m missing a lot. Will an update like the 2930 be an improvement? (I like to watch and listen to music dvd’s) Questions that keep me of the street. Thanks for possible enlightments.

  • JB

    Hi, I read forums a lot to learn more about upscaling. My Marantz DV8400 does not upscale, neither does my pana th42pv60 (plasma hd ready), but the picture seems to be o.k. on dvi.(audio is great on the Marantz) Or maybe I’m missing a lot. Will an update like the 2930 be an improvement? (I like to watch and listen to music dvd’s) Questions that keep me of the street. Thanks for possible enlightments.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Larry, That’s not something I tested for specifically but I found this in the owners manual:

    “The DVD-2930CI’s progressive output (525P) is compatible with Macrovision copy guard. With TVs that are not compatible with the DVD-2930CI, the picture may be affected. In this case, set “COMPONENT VIDEO OUT” at “VIDEO SETUP” to “INTERLACED”.

    The manual can be found here: http://usa.denon.com/DVD-2930CI-OM-E.pdf

    Typically up-scalers restrict up-conversion to 480p/570p with Macrovision protected discs. Which seems to be the case here.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Larry, That’s not something I tested for specifically but I found this in the owners manual:

    “The DVD-2930CI’s progressive output (525P) is compatible with Macrovision copy guard. With TVs that are not compatible with the DVD-2930CI, the picture may be affected. In this case, set “COMPONENT VIDEO OUT” at “VIDEO SETUP” to “INTERLACED”.

    The manual can be found here: http://usa.denon.com/DVD-2930CI-OM-E.pdf

    Typically up-scalers restrict up-conversion to 480p/570p with Macrovision protected discs. Which seems to be the case here.

  • LARRY NAYLOR

    Well the 2930ci uplink to 1080 on component cables???

  • LARRY NAYLOR

    Well the 2930ci uplink to 1080 on component cables???

  • B.Greenway

    antennahead,

    Of course as with any quantification of percentile improvements in image quality, we’re often only talking about that last 15-20% difference over more conventional hardware. Even with that I felt the 2930ci was the first time I’d been “excited” about DVD in a very long time, it really is worth a look if you’re considering a new DVD player.

  • B.Greenway

    antennahead,

    Of course as with any quantification of percentile improvements in image quality, we’re often only talking about that last 15-20% difference over more conventional hardware. Even with that I felt the 2930ci was the first time I’d been “excited” about DVD in a very long time, it really is worth a look if you’re considering a new DVD player.

  • antennahead

    Thanks for the great review! I have a 2910 I am happy with, and was wondering if you could comment on how much of an upgrade the 2930 would be. I am debating the additional purchase to carry me over until the HD/Blue Ray format war settles.

    You stated: “To be quite honest, overall I felt iRobot through the DVD-2930CI was nearly as good as the recent airing on HBO-HD”. Two nights ago, Mullholand Falls was on HD net. I cued up my DVD copy (and this is not an A+ transfer, but still pretty good) to sync with the broadcast. Doing an a/b back and forth,I was amazed that the 2910 picture quality.

    In my opinion, it looked nearly as good as the HD net broadcast. I have done this with HBO-HD movies as well, and the result was similar. I would say I was 90% there. I know DTV compresses the signal more than we videophiles would like, but the DVD,in comparison, was still impressive.

    Wondering if the 2930 would gain me that much extra. I am presently viewing on a 43″ Pioneer plasma, upgrading to a 50″ in the near future. I realize this plays into the equation as well. A large screen projection system would show more flaws at 123″. Thanks again.

  • antennahead

    Thanks for the great review! I have a 2910 I am happy with, and was wondering if you could comment on how much of an upgrade the 2930 would be. I am debating the additional purchase to carry me over until the HD/Blue Ray format war settles.

    You stated: “To be quite honest, overall I felt iRobot through the DVD-2930CI was nearly as good as the recent airing on HBO-HD”. Two nights ago, Mullholand Falls was on HD net. I cued up my DVD copy (and this is not an A+ transfer, but still pretty good) to sync with the broadcast. Doing an a/b back and forth,I was amazed that the 2910 picture quality.

    In my opinion, it looked nearly as good as the HD net broadcast. I have done this with HBO-HD movies as well, and the result was similar. I would say I was 90% there. I know DTV compresses the signal more than we videophiles would like, but the DVD,in comparison, was still impressive.

    Wondering if the 2930 would gain me that much extra. I am presently viewing on a 43″ Pioneer plasma, upgrading to a 50″ in the near future. I realize this plays into the equation as well. A large screen projection system would show more flaws at 123″. Thanks again.

  • B.Greenway

    Wrt to the 5910 and 2930, I really really wanted to get a 5910 home and see what it could do but unfortunately it just wasn’t in the cards. The 5910 did look fantastic, but as the two systems I saw the 5910 and 2930CI on were quite different from each other, any opinion as to how they compare would definitely be clouded with the time passed and rather limited given the different systems.

  • B.Greenway

    Wrt to the 5910 and 2930, I really really wanted to get a 5910 home and see what it could do but unfortunately it just wasn’t in the cards. The 5910 did look fantastic, but as the two systems I saw the 5910 and 2930CI on were quite different from each other, any opinion as to how they compare would definitely be clouded with the time passed and rather limited given the different systems.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Hans,

    The only thing changed from its default value for the course of the review with the 2930CI was the high range sharpness, every other setting was left to default. After a quick display calibration we let er’ rip. That’s not to say that’s what I recommend for less than stellar disks, I’m just not much for tinkering with settings once I’ve got them optimized.

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Hans,

    The only thing changed from its default value for the course of the review with the 2930CI was the high range sharpness, every other setting was left to default. After a quick display calibration we let er’ rip. That’s not to say that’s what I recommend for less than stellar disks, I’m just not much for tinkering with settings once I’ve got them optimized.

  • Hans

    One other quick question – in your July 17 post, you mentioned that (at least in your brief time with the 5910) it was the best SD DVD image you had seen? From that recollection, would you say the 2930 matched that video performance?

    I know it was a while back and no doubt a different setup – but any such perspective would be great. Thanks.

  • Hans

    One other quick question – in your July 17 post, you mentioned that (at least in your brief time with the 5910) it was the best SD DVD image you had seen? From that recollection, would you say the 2930 matched that video performance?

    I know it was a while back and no doubt a different setup – but any such perspective would be great. Thanks.

  • Hans

    I have a 2930ci which, after display calibration, I am pretty pleased with. However, I was not able to tweak the HQV specific settings (especially MPEG DNR and Enhancer) in a way that did anything but degrade the picture?

    From your experience, can you make any recommendations on what seemed to be an optimum combination for just less than stellar disks? Would be much appreciated!

  • Hans

    I have a 2930ci which, after display calibration, I am pretty pleased with. However, I was not able to tweak the HQV specific settings (especially MPEG DNR and Enhancer) in a way that did anything but degrade the picture?

    From your experience, can you make any recommendations on what seemed to be an optimum combination for just less than stellar disks? Would be much appreciated!

  • Wade

    I have a 46″ Sony Bravia LCD 1080i and a Denon 2910 dvd player.. Do you think there would be much of a benifit upgrading just for the Silicon Optix chip.. I may be upgrading to a 1080p LCD in the near future.. Your thoughts please????????

  • Wade

    I have a 46″ Sony Bravia LCD 1080i and a Denon 2910 dvd player.. Do you think there would be much of a benifit upgrading just for the Silicon Optix chip.. I may be upgrading to a 1080p LCD in the near future.. Your thoughts please????????

  • Welsdog

    This unit is the perfect solution for me. I have a Denon AVR-3805 with DenonLink and the 2930CI also has that feature. Previously the lowest price Denon with DenonLink was $1400. The 2930CI adds the superior picture processing and I am sold. I am so not ready for the HD format wars. Staying away from that for a couple of years at least.

    I know what I am getting for Christmas!

  • Welsdog

    This unit is the perfect solution for me. I have a Denon AVR-3805 with DenonLink and the 2930CI also has that feature. Previously the lowest price Denon with DenonLink was $1400. The 2930CI adds the superior picture processing and I am sold. I am so not ready for the HD format wars. Staying away from that for a couple of years at least.

    I know what I am getting for Christmas!

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Adam,

    On 1, yes. I haven’t seen a more stable, (near) artifact free image from DVD yet, DVD is still DVD and there’s only so much you can squeeze from it, I’m of the opinion it would take at least the 3930CI or the 5910, or even something like the Ayre DVD player (5k+) to surpass this.

    On 2, the 3930CI is $1499 the 5910Ci is $3800 and the 5910 is $3500, so of all the HQV equipped players from Denon the 2930CI at $849 is the least expensive. I guess the answer to your question would depend on just how much you want from and how long you plan to view SD DVD.

    As for 3, that’s a very subjective question because I’m actually not a very big fan of up-sclaers, all the Faroudja and Genesis options I’ve seen thus far didn’t exactly excite me, the 2930CI was a pleasure to watch though.

    I haven’t seen the oppo, I’d like to but I haven’t read anything about it that would lead me to believe it was even as good as last years mid to upper range Denon’s.

    As to percentage-wise increases in PQ. That again is a tough one, to be quite honest that’s probably not something I could attach percentages to in real world terms. However not really feeling like watching a DVD versus something that made kick back and just let it play out is huge for me. Hope that helps.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Adam,

    On 1, yes. I haven’t seen a more stable, (near) artifact free image from DVD yet, DVD is still DVD and there’s only so much you can squeeze from it, I’m of the opinion it would take at least the 3930CI or the 5910, or even something like the Ayre DVD player (5k+) to surpass this.

    On 2, the 3930CI is $1499 the 5910Ci is $3800 and the 5910 is $3500, so of all the HQV equipped players from Denon the 2930CI at $849 is the least expensive. I guess the answer to your question would depend on just how much you want from and how long you plan to view SD DVD.

    As for 3, that’s a very subjective question because I’m actually not a very big fan of up-sclaers, all the Faroudja and Genesis options I’ve seen thus far didn’t exactly excite me, the 2930CI was a pleasure to watch though.

    I haven’t seen the oppo, I’d like to but I haven’t read anything about it that would lead me to believe it was even as good as last years mid to upper range Denon’s.

    As to percentage-wise increases in PQ. That again is a tough one, to be quite honest that’s probably not something I could attach percentages to in real world terms. However not really feeling like watching a DVD versus something that made kick back and just let it play out is huge for me. Hope that helps.

  • Adam Griffith

    Yeah, thanks for the review – certainly piqued my interest. I knew nothing of it or this chipset prior to your site.

    Couple questions…

    1. Do you think video performance justifies the price?

    2. Do you think one should buy this before waiting for the other, more advanced models to come out? And approx. how much will those models cost?

    3. How does the upscaling/PQ compare to that of other upscaling players you’ve seen (and the Oppo w/it’s latest firmware specifically, if possible)? How much better would you say the PQ is, say pecentage-wise?

  • Adam Griffith

    Yeah, thanks for the review – certainly piqued my interest. I knew nothing of it or this chipset prior to your site.

    Couple questions…

    1. Do you think video performance justifies the price?

    2. Do you think one should buy this before waiting for the other, more advanced models to come out? And approx. how much will those models cost?

    3. How does the upscaling/PQ compare to that of other upscaling players you’ve seen (and the Oppo w/it’s latest firmware specifically, if possible)? How much better would you say the PQ is, say pecentage-wise?

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Kevin,

    Unfortunately no I wasn’t able to but I definitely wanted to get into that, the room and system where I reviewed the 2930CI just wasn’t conducive to reviewing the audio portion.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Kevin,

    Unfortunately no I wasn’t able to but I definitely wanted to get into that, the room and system where I reviewed the 2930CI just wasn’t conducive to reviewing the audio portion.

  • Kevin

    Very nice review of the player. I know you were focused on the HQV chipset and video quality, but did you get a chance to evaluate the audio quality of the new Denon unit? When I upgraded to a better player, I was looking for quality video, but Redbook/SACD/DVD-A audio quality was a more important factr to me. (I realize some purists would use a separate player for 2-ch, but I prefer one well-build machine to handle it all.)

  • Kevin

    Very nice review of the player. I know you were focused on the HQV chipset and video quality, but did you get a chance to evaluate the audio quality of the new Denon unit? When I upgraded to a better player, I was looking for quality video, but Redbook/SACD/DVD-A audio quality was a more important factr to me. (I realize some purists would use a separate player for 2-ch, but I prefer one well-build machine to handle it all.)

  • westcott

    It is hard to go wrong with a Denon for DVDs. The price of their players is in line with the video quality produced. It is nice to see the HQV chipset in a lower priced player like this one. If you think US$900 is too much, try US$3500 for the Denon 5910.

    Thanks for the review on a great player.

  • westcott

    It is hard to go wrong with a Denon for DVDs. The price of their players is in line with the video quality produced. It is nice to see the HQV chipset in a lower priced player like this one. If you think US$900 is too much, try US$3500 for the Denon 5910.

    Thanks for the review on a great player.

  • Mitch

    Thanks guys, I will probably ask again when ours truly dies.

  • Mitch

    Thanks guys, I will probably ask again when ours truly dies.

  • Ray

    The Denon 1930 is nice, and only a bit more than $250.

  • Ray

    The Denon 1930 is nice, and only a bit more than $250.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Mitch,

    The Denon DVD-1730 is a nice piece at $169.00. I’ve also heard good things about the Oppo up-scaler, haven’t seen that one though.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Mitch,

    The Denon DVD-1730 is a nice piece at $169.00. I’ve also heard good things about the Oppo up-scaler, haven’t seen that one though.

  • Mitch

    I want one! Our two disc Toshiba is slowly dying and your review made me want to run out and get this. But, ther’s always a but – $850 is kinda steep for me. Do you ever review the el cheapo stuff? Say around $200-$250?

  • Mitch

    I want one! Our two disc Toshiba is slowly dying and your review made me want to run out and get this. But, ther’s always a but – $850 is kinda steep for me. Do you ever review the el cheapo stuff? Say around $200-$250?