The large, paddle-shaped remote is almost big enough to paddle someone. It's extremely well laid out, and its different button colors and shapes help keep things straight. The remote covers all the standard DVD features, and it also lets you enter up to five bookmarks and select between two different kinds of virtual surround sound if you're playing discs through only two speakers. You can also tweak the picture (contrast, brightness, sharpness, color, black level, and gamma), select among four picture modes (Normal, Soft, Fine, and Cinema), select the kind of video output that matches your display (direct-view, CRT projector, LCD projector, projection TV), and even choose among four different video noise-reduction settings.
Installing a DVD-Audio/Video player is about as undemanding as installing a standard DVD-Video player. In this case, I connected the component-video output to my Princeton Graphics widescreen HDTV monitor and both the optical digital and multichannel analog audio outputs to my Denon receiver. I powered up the player and checked out the onscreen menus.
Like most DVD players, the Denon has a setup menu that lets you select menu and subtitle languages, aspect ratio, TV type, and so on. However, this player also has a multichannel audio menu showing a 5.1-channel speaker setup. Here's where you tell the player if your system has a center speaker, surrounds, or a subwoofer and where you set levels for the center and surround speakers and the subwoofer, set delay times for the center and surround channels, and, most important, select a "large" or "small" speaker size for the five main channels. This setup menu worked nicely.
While you're playing a disc, other onscreen menus let you change some settings on the fly, such as picture settings and virtual surround on/off. I was impressed by the extent of the video adjustments. For example, in progressive-scan play, you can independently adjust horizontal sharpness, vertical sharpness, and edge sharpness. Even better, the player can remember your custom settings for up to 200 DVDs.
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