As much as we'd hoped high-end AV companies such as Denon and Arcam would choose to support both HD DVD and Blu-ray, it doesn't seem to have panned out like that. Instead Denon seems to have plumped for Blu-ray only, with two models recently announced in the US, the DVD-3800BD and DVD-2500BT.
The DVD-3800BD boasts on-board decoding ofand DTS-HD Master Audio, which it can pump out via the analogue outputs. There's no mention of what version of HDMI the player supports, though. The DVD-2500BT is much the same as the 3800BD, but lacks the built-in audio decoding, but this might suit you if you already have the relevant decoder equipment.
Both players support secondary audio and video, which means they can offer picture-in-picture playback and extra audio commentaries. Additionally, both players have SD card sockets. Denon explains this as a way of accessing additional interactivity by allowing customers to download features such as subtitles, extra video or games, which can be placed on a memory card and played alongside the original disc content. This strikes us as a very clumsy way of doing what HD DVD manages with a built-in Ethernet connector.
We don't have any firm pricing yet, but the DVD-3800BD will be $2,000 in the US. Denon has warned us this definitely won't mean it will be the equivalent £1,000 when it reaches the shores of good old rip-off Blighty. We wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being more like £1,500 to £2,000 when it gets here. However you look at it, that's an awful lot of moolah for a Blu-ray player, even one made to Denon's exacting standards. -Ian Morris