Denon DVD-1800BD Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Denon DVD-1800BD Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Denon has released a new entry-level Blu-ray player...well, entry-level for Denon. The DVD-1800BD still carries a price tag of $599, but that's a lot lower than the $2,000 flagship DVD-3800BDCI. This Profile 1.1 player is best mated with an A/V receiver that offers high-resolution audio decoding.

DVD1800BD_Front.gifThe DVD-1800BD is Denon's third Blu-ray player. With an MSRP of $599, it's also the least expensive model that Denon offers, behind the $1,999 DVD-3800BDCI flagship model and $899 DVD-2500BTCI digital-only transport. The DVD-1800BD is a Profile 1.1/BonusView player, which means it contains the necessary audio and video decoders to support picture-in-picture playback. However, it does not support BD-Live Web functionality, nor does it use the higher-end Silicon Optix Realta HQV video processor found in the flagship model.

Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find an LED HDTV or plasma HDTV to get the most out of the DVD-1800BD.

On the video side, the DVD-1800BD's back panel features HDMI 1.3a, component video, and composite video outputs. For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and 1080p/24. While many players must be set up to output either 1080p/60 or 1080p/24, the DVD-1800BD offers separate 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 modes, so you can easily switch between the two for comparison. For component video, output-resolution options are 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. The setup menu does not offer the full complement of video controls you get with DVD-3800BDCI, but it does offer noise reduction and basic picture adjustments like brightness, contrast, color, sharpness, black level, and gamma correction.

For audio, you get HDMI, coaxial digital audio (no optical), and two-channel analog audio outputs. This player lacks the 7.1-channel analog audio outputs and the internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoders found in the flagship DVD-3800BDCI. It will pass the high-resolution formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. It will also pass 7.1-channel PCM audio over HDMI. For those who plan to use the DVD-1800BD as a high-quality CD player, the unit sports Burr-Brown 24-bit/192-kHz digital-to-analog converters and includes a Pure Direct mode that shuts down unneeded video circuitry to achieve higher-quality audio through the analog audio outputs.

Read about the high points and the low points of the DVD-1800BD on Page 2.

DVD1800BD_Front.gif

The DVD-1800BD supports BD, DVD, CD audio, MP3, WMA, JPEG, and Divx playback through its disc drive, and it has an SD card slot through which you can view JPEGs and listen to MP3/WMA audio files. As we mentioned, this is not a Profile 2.0 player, so it does not have an Ethernet port to access BD-Live Web features or perform quick firmware updates. The connection panel does not include advanced control ports like IR or RS-232.

Highs Points
• The DVD-1800BD offers excellent Blu-ray performance and does a good job upconverting standard DVDs.
• The player can pass Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio in bitstream form over HDMI. 
• It can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• The SD card slot allows for easy playback of digital music and photos.

Low Points
• The DVD-1800BD is not Profile 2.0 and lacks an Ethernet port.
• It also lacks multichannel analog audio outputs and internal high-resolution audio decoders, so it is not a good choice for someone with an older A/V receiver.

Conclusion
There are other Blu-ray players on the market that offer more features for less money, but the DVD-1800BD is targeted at the step-up market. Denon loyalists might appreciate a less-expensive Blu-ray alternative, especially if they've already purchased a Denon receiver with onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding and don't need all the features found on the flagship DVD-3800BDCI. If you want the ability to access Web content on Blu-ray discs, you should look elsewhere.

Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find an LED HDTV or plasma HDTV to get the most out of the DVD-1800BD.

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