Initial impressions of Denon DVD-1920 (video only)
I've been running my new DVD-1920 through its' paces today, and my initial impression is that it is an improvement over the 1910. It does a number of things very well. I have only tested video so far, but this is what I have seen:
1 - Passes HQV torture test disc easily. There are no noise reduction controls with the 1920, but it scored well on the HQV section that evaluates noise reduction performance.
2 - Calibrates through DVE & Avia with exactly the same settings in my set-up as my Panny S97.
3 - Outstanding picture quality - exceptional detail and color fidelity. No jaggies on the HQV test disc, and no shimmer on the DVE skyscraper sequence.
4 - Macroblocking levels comparable to S97 (there to see, but nowhere close to the levels of the 1910). I am not finished
with MB testing, however. I believe this is where the 1920 will either fall in with the other Faroudja players, or separate themselves from the pack.
5 - Menu navigation is average, chapter skips are good. Layer changes are OK, about 1 second. Not exactly a 2900!
6 - There are 5 forward and reverse search speeds (x2, x8, x20, x50, x100). There is no reverse frame-by-frame, only forward, by way of repeat pressing of the PAUSE button. Kinda disappointing.
7 - Plays DVD+R DL media with no problems.
I have examined the performance of the 1920 using Toy Story I & II, Seven (2-disc Special Edition), Robocop (Criterion), Dark City, True Lies, The Silence of The Lambs (Criterion), The Killer (Criterion) and Alien 20th Anniversary Edition in addition to the HQV Benchmark, DVE and Avia.
1 - Remote control is HUGE, but has decent range. Layout is different
- specifically with the transport keys. Buttons for functions included on the remotes of the 2910, 3910 & 5910 are only available on the front panel with the 1920 (Pure direct mode, HDMI output). A lot of unused real estate on the face of this puppy.
2 - User adjustments are good, but not in the same league as the Panny S97. No incremental zoom (only 2X & 4X), GUI or subtitle brightness tweaks, etc. No user picture presets. There are no noise reduction adjustments, either.
3 - No 16:9 squeeze/compressed setting. 4:3 Squeeze setting plays back 16:9 material and 4:3 full-frame correctly. This is the best setting for 16:9 displays. However, non-anamorphic WS titles like True Lies are stretched horizontally to fill the display. Many displays have no way to correct this. None of mine, at least. This is a point against the 1920, as the Panny S97 has auto detection of 4:3 material (non-anamorphic WS is just a letterboxed 4:3 image) and incremental zoom to fill your 16:9 display exactly.
4 - No PAL support whatsoever. This is a slight disappointment, but I figured that Denon would cut some
5 - Selection of HDMI resolutions is limited to the front panel of the 1920 only. With all that unused space on the remote, it's a little unusual not to have the convenience of cycling through the available resolutions from the remote. However, once you have settled on the resolution that works best for your display, the need to change it is basically nil.
6 - Available resolutions through HDMI are 480p, 720p, and 1080i. Nothing more. No 480i.
7 - Unit is very light, but build quality is quite acceptable and styling is classic Denon. Front panel is aluminum. I like its' looks very much. It reminds me of my Denon DVD-1600. I have the black model DVD-1920, but it is available in silver as model DVD-756S (in stock at Onecall.com).
I am not finished evaluating the 1920's video performance, but thus far it is a very solid performer on par with the Panny's and the Oppo. It is not as full featured as the Panny S97. But, as the S97 is the top player in Panasonic's DVD line, this is not surprising. There are three
models above the 1920 in the Denon lineup.
I will be testing DVD-A and SACD this evening, if time permits. I have Beck (Sea Change), Pink Floyd (DSOTM), Joe Satriani (Strange Beautiful Music), Miles Davis (Kind Of Blue), Roxy Music (Avalon) and Nine Inch Nails (Downward Spiral) that I will be listening to on SACD, as well as DVD-A discs NIN (With Teeth) and Foo Fighters (One By One). My other universal player is a Pioneer DV-59AVi, so I will compare the 1920 to that unit.
Time to go have some fun!