Denon's high-end upscaling DVD player, the DVD-2930CI ($850 list), is initially a somewhat confusing product. With Toshiba's HD-A1 HD-DVD player going for $500 and upscaling DVD players costing about $150, who wants to spend $850 for a non-high-def DVD player? Well, plenty of videophiles still aren't quite ready to spend their money on a high-def format that could eventually go the way of Betamax, yet still want the absolute best picture quality they can get out of their existing DVD and audio disc collections. If you're that guy, and you have a lot of cash, the DVD-2930CI was built with you in mind.
The design of DVD-2930CI immediately sets it apart from your bargain DVD player. Its solid construction and all-black brushed metal faceplate give it the feeling of a serious A/V component. There are quite a few front panel buttons, including chapter forward/backward buttons and HDMI resolution controls, which are handy for when the remote goes missing. At 4.02 inches high, 17.09 inches wide, and 16.19 inches deep, it's a bit larger than a usual DVD player, so make sure you have room in your cabinet to accommodate its size.
The remote, like the unit, is bulkier than average. We found it easy to navigate, and the buttons are logically placed. It's not backlit, but we're guessing most people spending this much on a DVD player probably can spring for a good universal remote.
There aren't a lot of extra features, such as network media streaming or USB ports on the Denon, but it does handle both high-resolution audio formats: DVD-Audio and SACD. In addition, it can handle several different file formats, such as DivX, MP3, WMA, and JPEG. It also has a "pure direct" mode that disengages all video processing so that audio-only discs have less chance of picking up interference.