Denon DVD 2200 Review

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Denon DVD 2200
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  • Image Quality

  • Sound Quality

  • Features

  • Ease of Use

  • Value For Money

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AccordGuy's review of Denon DVD 2200

“The Denon DVD-2200 is the little brother to the more...”


written by AccordGuy on 28/12/2003

Good Points
Excellent video quality, plays pretty much ANY disc, video tweaks with 5 memories.

Bad Points
Possible issue with sound drop-outs, multi-region is fiddly and only plays R0/1/2. Progressive scan artifacts

General Comments
The Denon DVD-2200 is the little brother to the more substantially built 2900 but cheaper by £200. It retains most of the electronic features of the 2900 though (they share the same prog scan processor and 12 bit 108MHz video DACs with video noise shaping).

I had mine upgraded by the dealer to multi-region but unlike a lot of models, this was not just a remote hack but required a new firmware image from a CD to be loaded. It's a bit fiddly with regards to RCE discs. The player remembers which region it was last (1/2) but if it was in R2 and you insert a R1 RCE disc it will not play. You have to insert a non-RCE R1 disc first. This flips the player into R1 and then you can insert the RCE disc - a secret remote menu option to manually select the region would have been nice...

The other thing I was told was that it is only R1 and R2. I don't have any Korean R3 or Aussie R4 discs yet but may do in the future (some Japanese movies get released first with English subtitles in those zones rather than the US).

I've only tested the player on YUV component video and s-video and on both it excells. S-video is particularly good, only betraying slight horizontal colour seepage compared to YUV while remaining true in tone and noise-free. This was with animation footage on a 7ft screen via a HDTV projector and inspecting the details while standing close to the screen - on anything less than a 41" plasma you'd never see the difference.

A particular strength of this player is it's dark tone handling. The default setting is pretty much spot on with plenty of detail in the very darkest tones but if you come across a disc with very dark images you have a set of tweaks available - brightness/contrast/tint (not available on component out), sharpness and gamma histogram. The last item is worth fidling with for perfectionists and those with projectors where some dark tone re-shaping may help eek out some detail that gets lost in the grey haze of LCDs less than perfect blacks. I found this helped on another animated film (Grave of the Fireflies) that has some very dark BG art near the start. On other discs it didn't help as fiddling with the tone mapping only exposed big tone steps where the encoder threw away the gradient data and blocked the colours together... High bitrate discs need only apply for this job!

Colours are in general very pleasant and true but can be a touch muted. A Cambridge Audio DVD59 player I tested had very punchy colours but had a bunch of other issues that spoiled the party. If you're a saturation freak you might find the Denon a little flat - the price you pay for the subtlety of the rendition. Think woodwind rather than brass.

I don't have any SACDs or DVD-As so I can't comment on those. I play all audio through the digital input of the Yamaha DSP-A595a cinema amp so the audio performance of the Denon is largely unimportant to me except for one possible gripe... This particular example has a tendency for audio drop-outs in the data stream. After a week of playing discs I noticed some annoying sound drop-outs where maybe once or twice per disc (but only sometimes) you would get a all-channel drop-out where no sound appeared. This did not co-incide with the layer change and was not repeatable on a given section. The video did not glitch at the same time either. It did seem to happen more when the central heating was on so I bought a fully surge / spike / RF suppressed mains filter. That seems to have reduced the dropouts to next to nothing (I still had one last night) so there may be an issue with the DVD-2200's power supplies being susceptable to spikes and RF - somewhat annoying as it's supposed to have multiple power supplies that isolate the different circuit blocks and so on - none of the previous players were susceptable to mains-bourne noise [sigh]. I might change it for another to see if it's just this one that is dodgy or try a optical rather than coax audio connection.

The progressive scan converter was a bit of a mixed bag. It performed very well on some footage (better than the converter in the Sanyo PLV-70 projector) but on others it was hopeless. One disc in particular (the R1 Grave of the Fireflies) exhibited some very nasty chroma artifacts with the PS converter switched in. It would have to be a disc-by-disc 'suck it and see' effort as to whether the converter could be used. Fortunately, I can choose between two converters and pick the one that works the best for a given disc. If the built-in PS converter in the Denon DVD-2200 was your only choice, I might look elsewhere if PS output is important to you. The Denon does have a true PAL and NTSC de-interlacer whereas some players only support NTSC 480p output or cheat on PAL discs by scan converting from 575i to 480p with grotesque results.

As far as formats go this is a universal player. It happlily played CD, CD-R, CD-RW, VCD, S-VCD, DVD+R, DVD+RW. I don't have any DVD-R/RW discs but the specs claim it plays them. The specs don't mention S-VCD and the indicator on the display shows VCD when playing a S-VCD but it played them ok. I didn't test the MP3 capability but it did sucessfully play a JPEG picture disc I made. It doesn't support long filenames (truncated them) and took ages to open each 4 MPixel photo but did have a slideshow mode.

Build quality is very good but the unit should have had some vents as it gets pretty warm in use. Don't put it in an enclosure or on top of other warm equipment or else it'll cook. The remote is a bit cheap and the buttons could be laid out better but you get used to it and it has good transmission range.

You can find this model at internet outlets for about £500 but given there doesn't seem to be a single player on the market that doesn't have some kind of firmware or hardware issue of some sort, it's well worth buying from a dealer with a good returns policy even if it costs more.

I'd have rated the player higher but the audio drop-outs and variable performance of the PS converter at this price point are big negatives. If the drop-out issue gets resolved then the overall rating goes up to 8 and the VFM stays the same. If neither issue had been present it would have made 9 overall and 8 for VFM.

  • Value For Money

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Accordguy's Response to AccordGuy's Review

Written on: 15/01/2004

The dealer was happy for me to try another one and this one does not seem to suffer from the sound drop-out problem.
<br>The issues with the progressive scan converter still stand though, but those are a feature of most scan converters. It's not an easy thing to do and you can spend up to £10,000 on a professional stand-alone converter.
<br>The sooner they start making proper High Definition 720p / 1080i DVDs, the better! Sadly, that's several years away...

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Cinematics's Response to AccordGuy's Review

Written on: 07/09/2004

This model plays Region 4 after firmware modification. I am almost certain that it plays all regions.

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