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Christmas Gift Guide
Home Entertainment

Denon AVR-3808: A battleship that can decode surround sound

If you want to hear the very best surround sound, you don't need to go to the cinema -- just drop £1,300 in the hand of your local AV dealer and take one of these Denons home to annoy the neighbours

No one could argue that when it comes to decoding surround sound Denon has an excellent track record. Its AV receivers are built like battleships and sound amazing. The latest effort from the company, the AVR-3808, includes support for every format known to man and every input ever invented.

The 3808 supports up to 7.1 channels, but you'd need a very understanding 'other half' to get away with putting seven speakers on the walls and tucking a sub away somewhere. That said, you can obviously just use it as a 5.1 system, which should be easier to explain when your wife/husband comes home to see all the walls in your lounge with holes in them.

It goes without saying that the AVR-3808 supports every surround-sound format you're likely to encounter. Including the new high-definition, loseless formats such as DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD. Just make sure your HD DVD or Blu-ray player can send these over HDMI before you get too excited.

At the back of the AVR-3808, you'll find the usual baffling array of inputs and outputs. There are four HDMI inputs and one output, a bunch of optical and coaxial digital sockets and all manner of analogue RCA connections.

Excitingly, the AVR-3808 can also play media from your home network, including lossless FLAC and Windows Media. You'll also note there is support for something called an 'iPod'. We aren't sure what one of those is, but if you're one of the few people that owns one, we're sure you'll be chuffed.

The AVR-3808 is available in both battleship grey and battleship black -- we aren't sure if battleships come in black, but we think they should, and if they did, it would be Denon black. It costs £1,300, which doesn't seem like a lot of money when you look at the back of it. -Ian Morris