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Denon unveils AV receiver-Blu-ray player combo

Denon has announced the S-5BD AV receiver-Blu-ray combo unit at CES 2010, fitting the two components into a sleek package, but for a hefty price.

Denon S-5BD
Denon S-5BD Denon

LAS VEGAS--We don't see many home theater AV receivers at CES, with home audio manufacturers generally waiting for their own line shows to release new product lines. However, most AV receivers don't have Blu-ray players built-in.

Denon has announced the S-5BD AV receiver/Blu-ray Disc player combo unit at CES 2010, melding the two components into a sleek, glossy package. Here's the initial info from the news release.

Key features of the Denon S-5BD:

The S-5BD certainly has a slick design and it's the first combo unit we've seen, but we can't help but feel it will ultimately have limited appeal. The integrated Blu-ray player has a relatively bare-bones feature set since it lacks Wi-Fi and the streaming media services (like Netflix) available on competing models. We also complain about the layout on Denon's remote controls in all our AV receiver reviews, and we can only imagine it being worse when that remote also controls your Blu-ray player.

Finally, the integrated design really limits your upgrade options. With separate components, it's easy to swap in a new Blu-ray player while you still try to squeeze some extra years out of your receiver. You could add a new Blu-ray player with the S-5BD (with its three HDMI inputs), but that's defeating the point of the unit in the first place. The S-5BD might make sense in certain applications where there's limited space or ease-of-use is a priority, but it's probably not the best choice for buyers who value flexibility in their home theater setup.