Okay, I've been fondling the remote for around three hours now and here's what I can say right now....
First, associated equipment and configuration;
TV is a Mitsubishi WS-65411, ISF calibrated on both 480i/480p and 1080i inputs. Current and recent DVD/universal/CD players I have used are a Zenith DVB318 (current), Denon 2900, Denon 2200, Panasonic RP91, and a Rega Planet CD player.
My TV does not have DVI/HDMI so I use analog component for video. Audio is configured for digital, 2-channel analog, and 6-channel analog into an Anthem AVM-20. For instance, playing a CD, I can switch between a pure direct analog path, an analog path using digital bass management in the Anthem, and a digital path.
I will say up front that some of you on pins and needles can relax. Denon has not created the perfect DVD player. In fact, in many respects, I find the new 3910 only incrementally better than my previous 2900 and in at least one respect, worse. But more on that in a minute.
First the good news. As a DVD player, the 3910 produces 480p images that are, in a word, spectacular. I don't believe I have ever seen the absolute depth in a video image from a DVD. The best transfer look very nearly 3-D. With the extreme sharpness and what appears to be some type of digital image enhancement happening, I suspect some people with displays that tend to exaggerate edge enhancement or add ringing themselves will find this player to produce and overly harsh, "digital" looking image. On a calibrated CRT display, it just looks so good one can almost step into the picture.
One thing to watch for is black level. For some reason, this player was way too light out of the box. It was a simple matter to adjust the black level on the TV, but still rather odd that there would be this much variation. Other than that, The picture is just stunning. Colors are the best I have seen, bar none, both for accuracy and saturation. Sharpness is excellent without ringing or other nasty artifacts (on my TV). Deinterlacing appears perfect to my eye (no test gear for me) using the usual test material. No interlaced chroma issues (so far), certainly no chroma upsampling error, and I haven't seen any combing yet, though I have yet to look at any video based material.
EDIT: I just figured out the black level issue. This player give one the choice of black level setup of 0 IRE or 7.5 IRE. This is found in the "pic adjust" menu. The default is 7.5 IRE and switching to 0 IRE brings the black level to something closer to what I have found on previous progressive players.
Macroblocking, as has been described in the Denon 5900, is, as best I can determine, absent from the 3910. Or at the very least, so subtle as to not present a visible artifact in my system configuration. I looked carefully throughout the "Unbreakable" disc, as well as "The Fifth Element" and could not see any occurrences of overt MPEG macroblocking.
Audio? You like the musica? Well, even though I had even less time so far with audio than video, what I heard made an immediate impression for the good. Redbook CD sounds wonderful. I couldn't say how much better than either the Denon 2200 or 2900 as I no longer have those players for direct comparison, but I know neither of those struck me the way this 3910 has. And as much as I enjoyed the sound of a couple of my favorite CDs, I was totally smoked by the sound of SACD from this player. Audio performance alone would ensure a place in my system for this player. To be sure, I have sold a $900 Rega Planet dedicated CD player and won't miss it for a moment.
So, what's not perfect? A couple of things.
First, and most disappointing to me, is how the aspect ratio scaling and zoom features have been implemented, or not as the case may be.
Someone asked about pillarboxing 4:3 material. Good news, it will do that with the "squeeze mode" engaged. Bad news, with the squeeze mode engaged, everything is squeezed into a 4:3 window. This boggles my mind. On the 2900, the squeeze mode is automatic for 4:3 material with 16:9 material being displayed normally. With the 3910, one will have to access the setup menu and turn on the squeeze mode for 4:3 material then turn it off for 16:9 material. Sorry, Denon, but this is just stupid. No other word for it.
Only slightly less stupid for a player of this caliber is the lack of aspect ratio scaling for letterboxed 4:3 material on a 16:9 TV. How hard can this be guys? Panasonic did it over four years ago with the RP91. There is a zoom function on the 3910, but this is just a simple zoom that zooms the entire image. If the squeeze mode is off, the zoom is for the 16:9 frame. If the squeeze mode is on, the zoom is in the 4:3 window. The side bars are not affected. Useless in my opinion.
Build quality is good, not great. Just slightly less than the 2900, a lot less than the 5900. However, the drive unit is very quiet and stable. The drawer mechanism is quieter and smoother than the 2900 and has a more precise feel to it.
Menu navigation is good within a menu but seek time when a menu selection has been made can be a little slow. Layer change time, as you might expect with a 8 meg buffer, is non-existent.
That's about it for now. I look forward to other owner's comments as more players make their way out, and particularly Kris Deering's write up for Secrets.