Denon's 2012 AV receivers announced: AirPlay-friendly

Denon's "core" line of AV receivers includes three AirPlay models, including a budget $400 model.

Denon AVR-1913
Denon AVR-1913 Denon

Denon is always last to announce its new AV receivers each year, but the company just rolled out its new 2012 line.

Denon's AVR-1912 was a hit last year with built-in AirPlay support, and now AirPlay is available on all but the entry-level $250 Denon AVR-1513. There aren't many surprises otherwise, although Denon's back panels are looking more minimalist than ever before. Here's how Denon's 2012 line of AV receivers breaks down:

Denon AVR-1513

Denon AVR-1513
Denon AVR-1513 back panel Denon

Key features of the Denon AVR-1513:

  • 5.1-channel AV receiver, 75 watts per channel
  • Four HDMI inputs (three back, one front)
  • Supports 3D video pass-through
  • Two digital inputs (one optical, one coaxial)
  • Front-panel USB input (not iPhone/iPod compatible)
  • Graphical user interface
  • $250 list price; available now

Denon AVR-1613

Denon AVR-1613 back panel
Denon AVR-1613 back panel Denon

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-1613:

  • 5.1-channel AV receiver, 74 watts per channel
  • Five HDMI inputs (four back, one front)
  • Built-in AirPlay and DLNA
  • Built-in streaming apps for Pandora, Sirius/XM, Flickr
  • Ethernet jack
  • Audio return channel (ARC) support
  • Automatic speaker calibration
  • Front-panel USB input, iPhone/iPod compatible
  • Controllable via iPhone app
  • $400 list price; available now

Denon AVR-1713

Denon AVR-1713 back panel
Denon AVR-1713 back panel Denon

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-1713:

  • 5.1-channel AV receiver, 80 watts per channel
  • Six HDMI inputs (five back, one front)
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT
  • $450 list price; available now

Denon AVR-1913

Denon AVR-1913 back panel
Denon AVR-1913 back panel Denon

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-1913:

  • 7.1-channel AV receiver, 90 watts per channel
  • 1080p analog video upconversion
  • Dolby ProLogic IIz sound processing
  • Component video output
  • Powered second-zone audio
  • $580 list price; available now

While Denon's receivers may be a lot more appealing after listening to them (the AVR-1912 was the best-sounding model CNET tested last year), nothing about these models strikes me as a huge improvement from last year. In fact, the Denon AVR-1913 loses support for Rhapsody, which was available on last year's model. I haven't tested any 2012 receivers yet, but Onkyo's 2012 line is the most intriguing from the spec sheets.

That being said, it's almost always a mistake to buy on specs alone, but if you're in the market for an AV receiver, last year's Denon AVR-1912 is selling for just $400 these days and looking like a very attractive option.

 

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