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Introduction


The Denon DVD-2200 is one of the current entry level machines that Denon have on the market, but if you are familiar with any of their products that isn’t necessary a bad thing. My past experiences with Denon have been good; I currently own one of Denon’s cheaper amps but even so it is a good performer. I joined the DVD phenomenon quite early on and I still use my Pioneer 525 player because it can be relied upon to play pretty much everything I throw at it. However there comes a time when you have to move on and after five happy years I thought it was about time I investigated how DVD players have progressed.

Denon DVD-2200

First Impressions


As expected, my first impressions of the 2200 were favourable; the player was well packaged and was accompanied with a huge instruction manual. This DVD player comes in several different colours but for the purpose of this review I decided to take a look at the classy looking silver model. The remote control was considerably better than my Pioneer remote and came with batteries. The Denon remote has come under a little criticism but I’ll talk more about this later. This player has all the connectors you would expect for a player in its price range. There is a RGB scart socket, S-Video out, colour component output connectors, coaxial, optical digital outputs and audio output connectors.  There are also connectors for Room to Room Remote Control

Aesthetics


As mentioned above, the DVD-2200 comes in three colours, black, gold or silver. Silver equipment is considered to look superior and that is certainly the case with this model. Although this player is a lot bulkier than some of the slim-line players on the market this is actually not a bad thing. Denon has built up a reputation for producing sturdy units and size is not that important. Therefore whenever purchasing a Denon product you can be assured that it will last for a long time and be of the utmost quality. This player is 85mm thick and the front panel is the home for various buttons such as super Audio CD setup, progressive scan, various display options as well as the standard function buttons (play, stop, open etc…). Most of the main function buttons are just over 10mm in thickness and look funky. The LCD display is positioned in the middle of the panel and clearly shows all the information you could wish to see.

One of the downsides of my Pioneer player was the disc tray which had a clunky opening mechanism and also made a tremendous noise when the disc was playing. The DVD-2200 is far superior; the opening and closing mechanism is smooth and it is quiet throughout DVD playback. The only gripe I have with the disc drive is a slight vibrating noise that could be heard occasionally. The GUI was a little complicated at first but after a few minutes I got the hang of it.

Denon DVD-2200

Remote


The remote control for this player is well designed (see left). The buttons are backlit and their positioning is probably the result of hours of research. The main power buttons are coloured red and are positioned at the top left of the remote, and the main playback buttons (including play, stop and various menus operations) are situated in the middle of the remote. The other buttons are positioned in a logical order and this is certainly one of the better remote controls that I have come across. The size of the remote is probably one of the largest you will come across, but that isn’t really a problem and is in my opinion one of the areas that this player comes under unfair criticism for.

Settings


The GUI was mentioned briefly above but I will now go into much more detail on this subject. The interface has six tabs (Disc Setup, OSD Setup, Video Setup, Audio Setup, Ratings and Other Setup) at the top of the screen. For the purpose of this review I am going to concentrate on the Video and Audio Setup. The Video options allow you to choose you TV Aspect, TV Type (NTSC, PAL or Multi), Still Mode, Black Level, AV1 Video Output and Progressive Mode. The Audio options available are Audio Channels (Multi or 2 Channel), Super Audio CD, Digital Out, LPCM and Bass Enhancer. If you select the Multi Channel option you can then select the type of speakers (Large or Small) that you want.  The GUI is reasonably user-friendly and should be easy to pick up even without looking at the instruction manual.

DVD/Video Playback


One of the strengths of my Pioneer player was the fact that it would play pretty much any disc that you put in front of it. Therefore, I was hoping for the same sort of performance from the DVD-2200. Sadly though this is one of the main areas where I was disappointed. DVD playback was faultless, but I tried several VCD and SVCD discs and they either did not play or I had sound drop outs every 30 seconds. With the increasing advent of home movies and MPEG playback, if you are looking for a player which will deal with the VCD/SVCD formats then it is probably worth considering a different one. If truth be told, there are far cheaper players on the market which deal with such discs.

I was warned by fellow colleagues that I would notice very little difference between the DVD-2200 and my previous player, but even on my 28” TV the results were noticeable. The picture seemed much sharper and contained a lot more detail than I was used to. One of the heavily marketed components of this player is the “Pure Progressive” scan circuit which apparently displays the DVD with a quality near that of the original, and also removes flickering. On the evidence of what I saw, this certainly seemed to work. Probably the main difference that I noticed was in the colour reproduction which was much more vibrant than I had experienced before. When comparing the colours to my Pioneer player the differences were huge, with the colours far more exuberant and lifelike. Layer changes were also an improvement and I can’t recall noticing any such pauses in the 20 or so discs I trialled this player with. The only other difference I noticed was in the movement around menus and skipping chapters. The DVD-2200 deals with these aspects exceptionally well, and navigation around discs was pretty much instant.

There are a few additional features that I was impressed with, for example the zoom functionality supports 2x and 4x, and the fast forward/rewind options allow you to navigate the disc at various different speeds. This functionality is particularly easy to operate and should be straightforward even for novice users. The same cannot be said for the subtitles and audio selection options. Moving through these options requires a few different button presses and the onscreen display is not the most user-friendly that you will come across. This player also supports multi angles, but sadly this is an area of DVD that is not fully utilised as yet.

DVD-A/CD Playback


Now onto the audio aspects, and one of the areas I was particularly interested in was in that of DVD-Audio. Previously I have listened to the discs on my standard DVD player, but I was assured by others that the sound would be much crisper when listened to on a player that could output true DVD-A sound. The DVD-2200 is capable of DVD-A playback and does a good job. Having listened to the capabilities of DVD-A, my only hope is that more artists will decide to commit to this format. CD playback is also respectable and I came across no problems while testing this player. I didn’t test the MP3 playback or the JPEG picture functionality, but reading other reviews of this player I understand that it deals with them efficiently.

Denon DVD-2200

Overall


I was expecting great things from the DVD-2200 and for the most part it lived up to my high expectations. If you are looking for first class DVD playback at an affordable price then this player just about fits into that category. There will be some people who will be put off by the £500 price tag, but if you are serious about the DVD format then you cannot afford to ignore this player. Although it struggles with VCD/SVCD playback that is hardly surprising considering Denon’s reputation for concentrating on first class DVD playback, and anything extra happens to be an added bonus. This may sound a little naïve but when they produce the sort of images that you will experience when using this player, you can see why they take that stance. There is no doubt that Denon are at the forefront of DVD player market, and the DVD-2200 is a welcome addition to their entry level range.


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