Tuning in to Denon's 2009 line of AV receivers

Denon unveils its new 2009 AV receivers, bringing high resolution audio decoding and analog upconversion to all of the company's models.

Denon always unveils its new AV receivers a little later than competitors, and on Monday the company announced its new 2009 lineup. Like other manufacturers, Denon is offering more features at lower price points, including high-resolution audio decoding (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio), Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing, and analog video upconversion on every receiver. Let's take a look at the new lineup.

Key features of the Denon AVR-590:

  • 5.1 channel AV receiver
  • Three HDMI inputs
  • Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Pro Logic IIz decoding
  • Upconverts analog video signals over HDMI to 480p
  • Text-based onscreen display
  • Two component video inputs
  • No S-Video inputs
  • Three digital audio inputs (two optical, one coaxial)
  • Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic Volume
  • $350 list price, available in June

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-1610:

  • Custom installer-friendly version of the AVR-590
  • $380 list price, available in May

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-790:

  • 7.1 AV receiver
  • Four HDMI inputs
  • Upconverts analog video signals over HDMI to 1080p
  • HDMI-HDMI video scaling
  • Three digital audio inputs (two optical, two coaxial)
  • 7.1 analog audio inputs
  • Sirius-ready
  • $500 list price, available in June

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-1910:

  • Custom installer-friendly version of the AVR-790
  • $550 list price, available in May

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-890:

  • Five HDMI inputs
  • Full graphical user interface (GUI) menu system
  • Phono input
  • Three AV inputs with S-Video
  • Second zone functionality
  • $800 list price, available in June

Key step-up features of the AVR-2310CI:

  • Custom installer-friendly version of the AVR-890
  • $850 list price, available in June

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-990:

  • Networking functionality via Ethernet
  • Rhapsody and Napster streaming supported
  • Access to over 7,500 internet radio stations
  • Stream music from a connected PC
  • Built-in HD radio
  • USB front input
  • $1,500 list price, available in July

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-3310CI:

  • Custom installer-friendly version of the AVR-990
  • $1,500 list price, available in June

Key step-up features of the Denon AVR-4310CI:

  • Six HDMI inputs, including one front panel input
  • Two HDMI outputs
  • XM- and Sirius-ready
  • First AV receiver with Audyssey DSX processing
  • Connect iPod directly via USB
  • $2,000 list price, available in May

That's a lot to swallow at once, but here are our big takeaways.

Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, and analog upconversion on all models
Yes, even the entry-level Denon AVR-590 come packed with a full suite of features. While that's obviously a nice bullet point for Denon from a marketing perspective, it also translates into value for consumers as the AVR-590 compares favorably with similarly priced receivers like the Sony STR-DH800 and Onkyo TX-SR507.

No more Faroudja video processing
One of the minor knocks we had against last year's AVR-1909 was that its video processing was only average. Denon is looking to improve on analog upconversion video quality this year, and is dropping Faroudja in favor of Anchor Bay or proprietary video processing chips. We won't know how the new receivers will perform until we get them in for testing, but we're happy to see manufacturers finally addressing subpar video quality from AV receivers.

Same frustrating remotes
We consistently knock Denon for included confusing remotes with its receivers, and there looks to be no major changes this year. That means buyers may want to build in the cost of a quality universal remote when considering a Denon.

 

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