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Denon DVD-3930: Upscaling new heights

Denon's DVD-3930 offers an alternative to true high-definition players by upscaling standard DVDs to 1080p, but is it worth the money?

If you want to watch films at near high-definition quality before the dust settles on the Blu-ray versus HD DVD hi-def format war, an upscaling DVD player is the answer.

Denon has concentrated its efforts on upgrading existing technology before becoming involved in any next-generation infighting. The new DVD-3930 uses state-of-the-art technology, which Denon claims produces a picture that rivals the latest high-definition formats.

The player exclusively features Realta T2 HQV processing that effectively converts and upscales standard-definition DVDs to 1080p resolution, which promises unsurpassed picture performance from your existing film collection -- especially using the latest 'Full HD' flat-screen displays.

It's the same technology used by major US broadcasters to generate HDTV images from standard material, and by Hollywood studios to remaster films. Apparently, if bought separately, the HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) technology used would cost close to £35,000 -- which may explain the exorbitant £1,100 price tag of the player.

Universal compatibility means the player will accept all major audio and video disc formats, including multi-channel music DVD-Audio and SACD, and recording formats that carry WMA, MP3 and DivX files. As expected, connectivity includes an HDMI output that's fully compliant with HDCP copy-protected content.

It's refreshing to find Denon is supporting existing technology while other manufacturers are creating confusion with new formats, but we're not sure about claims that picture quality will rival true high definition. Using 1080p upscaling may be able to improve image quality over 720p signals, but we're hesitant to believe it will exceed true 1080p performance -- but, then again, 1080p content is not widely available yet.

Denon's DVD-3930 is available from October and we'll be reviewing it soon. -RA