The Short Form
|$3,500 / 17.125 x 6.125 x 17.125 IN / 40 LBS / USA.DENON.COM / 973-396-0810|
|•Superb audio and video performance.
•Accurate bass management for all formats, including DVD-Audio and SACD.
•Wide range of video adjustments.
•Extremely flexible connectivity.
•Backlit remote control.
|•Remote labels not illuminated.
|•Internal scaling to 720p and 1080i signal formats
•Plays DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW (except VR mode or dual-layer), DVD-Audio, SACD, MP3, WMA, and JPEG
•outputs HDMI; DVI; component, composite, and S-video; optical, coaxial, IEEE 1394, and Denon Link digital audio; multichannel analog audio
•Bass management and speaker-distance compensation for all formats
|Measured as well as onscreen video tests produced excellent results, particularly for the DVD-5910's progressive-scan conversion. If anything, audio performance was even better, with superbly low background noise levels. DVD-Audio noise was an astonishing 23 dB below CD noise, which was itself right at the theoretical 16-bit limit. Bass management and distance compensation were correctly applied to all signal formats.|
MOVIE PERFORMANCE With all the high technology packed inside the player, it was no surprise that it performed outstandingly via both its progressive-component and HDMI outputs. The toughest program material I could muster was our collection of test patterns and sequences, especially a disc issued by Silicon Optix that lets you gauge how a DVD player handles the initial conversion to 480p (see page 30). The usual result of poor progressive-scan conversion is jagged near-horizontal and diagonal edges, and we unfortunately find these "jaggies" with most DVD players.
Jaggies were entirely absent on the Denon, not only with the Silicon Optix disc (as might be expected) but also in the live-action test pattern found in Chapter 9 of The Bourne Supremacy. While Matt Damon's fight scene is a nifty piece of combat choreography, it's the background of thin Venetian blinds that represents the real video challenge. No jaggies here. Nor were there any other progressive-conversion problems with programs that switch frequently between video- and film-based sources, such as routinely occurs in DVD "making-of" documentaries.
And the picture just got better the closer I looked. In the director's cut of The Chronicles of Riddick, Chapter 8, the Denon realistically conveyed the wide variety of skin tones of the ethnically mixed crowd listening to the Lord Marshal's speech as well as the pinpoint highlights on the costumes. Vast expanses of near-flat or gently curved surfaces, as seen throughout The Incredibles, are difficult to reproduce - they can be degraded by "contouring" or "color-band" effects where there should be an even gradation of brightness or color. There were no such problems here - images looked very clean, crisp, and smooth.
But while the DVD-5910's wide array of picture fine-tuning adjustments may give it an edge on picture quality over some players, we've tested much cheaper models that look nearly as good. You'll need to look beyond video to fully justify the Denon player's premium price.
MUSIC PERFORMANCE Fortunately, you'll find that justification on the Denon's audio side, where its capabilities and performance clearly put it in a class by itself. The DVD-5910's sonic performance with both multichannel DVD-Audio and SACD was absolutely superb.
A continuously loud movie soundtrack or song is far easier for a player to reproduce impressively than music filled with soft and delicate passages, where a player's added background noise - the most difficult thing to eliminate - is most obvious. And no piece is better at stressing a player's dynamic range than Ravel's Boléro. The DVD-5910 took the wide dynamics of Paavo Jarvi's Telarc SACD in stride. The sound remained clean and clear from the pianissimo drumtaps at the beginning to the fortissimo, pounding-bass-drum climax. Bass management and speaker-distance compensation - which rarely work correctly in any DVD player - performed perfectly as I switched among disc types and signal formats, with no change in the bass balance I dialed in during setup.
BOTTOM LINE The Denon DVD-5910 offers faultless audio and video reproduction, and its wide range of adjustments and rock-solid bass management guarantee that no matter how good your HDTV and sound system are, your DVD player will never be the weakest link. If state-of-the-art is on your shopping list and price is no object, you won't go wrong.
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