If you're looking to buy a car, you don't automatically pick the £200 J-reg Vauxhall Cavalier. Your home cinema should be no different, and that's why Denon makes high-end reference players like the 3800BD, which cost an eye-watering £1,600. Is it 80 times as much as a supermarket DVD player? Yes. Is it worth it? Let's find out what you get for your titanic wodge of moolah.
Spending that much more on a Blu-ray player means you get more features, better connectivity and (hopefully) a much higher-quality picture. The Denon has both coaxial and optical digital audio outputs, as well as analogue 7.1 audio out. For video, there are two component outputs, one using RCA jacks, the other making use of the more sturdy, professional-grade BNC jacks. There is, of course, HDMI 1.3a output too, which can send lossless digital audio and 1080/24p video to whatever sound system and display device takes your fancy.
The 3800 comes in three colours: silver, premium silver and black. Like us, you'll probably be wondering who, when faced with a choice between premium silver and boring standard silver would chose the latter. We're not sure, but whichever paint does it for you, we're sure the electronics are more important.
The good news on that front is that Denon is using the Silicon Optix Realta chipset for high-quality video decoding, and HQV picture processing to wring every last drop of information out of either DVD or Blu-ray video. 24p video support is a given, as are Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, which can be decoded internally and sent to the analogue audio outputs. Great news if you have a decoder that either doesn't support lossless codecs or one that just doesn't have HDMI.
Sadly, even high-end players like this come burdened with tedious regional coding, so don't count on being able to play DVDs or Blu-ray discs from outside your particular region. Quite why the movie industry persists with this ludicrous way of controlling media is beyond us, but we have little choice to obey its will, like the good consumers we are.
So, is it worth the wheelbarrow full of cash? Hopefully. We'll let you know when we get to review one, so keep an eye on the DVD & PVR reviews channel for that and other HD-format write-ups.