This is an excellent thread, one of the most informative and enjoyable I have read on this forum, and made quite the resource by Bob P. Levesqe, Drhanks and all
those who contributed their knowledge.
First let me preface my following comments by saying that I think Anthem, and in particular the D2, sound like exceptional products. My hat's off to the engineers that pulled it off, but even moreso to the product manager who specified the product. Finally a serious audio/videophile product that provides all the necessary features in a one box solution (fewer cables and one remote
As I go through my search for an HDMI centric AV upgrade, I mostly considered separate audio pre/pro (or receiver) with HDMI video switching, external video processor and perhaps even stand-alone room correction solution. The D2 has certainly made me reconsider. While I agree the D2 is probably the best speced AV processor on the market, it is just a hair short of AV nirvana (perhaps already there for some of you).
My philosophy is the the pre/pro (or receiver) is the hub, the center of my AV system, where most if not all processing takes place (I know this goes counter to BD advanced material and the like) but I see myself changing out sources and displays far more often than pre/pro.
So here is where I see room for improvement, with the following changes this product (or perhaps a D3) would be irresistible. In no particular order of priority...
- Ethernet port, they seriously need to add one. Using an outdated serial port on a device of this caliber is simply wrong and causes too many problems. I like the thought of using my wireless laptop to adjust the advanced video settings while sitting on my couch watching the TV. BTW, DVDO includes a USB/Serial adapter with the VP50 today.
- Step up to the Gennum 9450. A key feature here is the Mosquito Noise and Block Artifact reduction, both a result of MPEG video compression so it makes sense to turn these ON for poor source material. This feature is available on the Realta HQV and is coming to ABT with the new ABT2010 chip. BTW, the Gennum 9350 is no longer listed on the Gennum web site.
- More optical inputs (as opposed to coax) - I don't know if the D2 buffers and re-clocks the incoming digital signal for maximum performance but optical inputs are a great way to avoid ground loop problems between components.
- A second HDMI output for more than one display device.
- Analog video bandwidth increased from 110 MHz (in realm of $1,700 RXV-2700 - 100 MHz) to 300 MHz (Arcam AV9 realm).
- Simplay HDMI testing. If testing is only done on HDMI 1.3 (not sure) then this is reason enough to step up to version 1.3. More info on Simplay here> Simplay
. BTW, certified cables will be categorized into two classes, see this article> Simplay testing
- HDMI version 1.2a (covered by 1.3) for SACD bitstream input with appropriate decoding. Hopefully this avoids the need to switch the player to HD video mode when setup for 480i video out on HDMI.
- 1080p reprocessing, color space, overscan etc. Coming in the ABT2010, not sure if the D2 supports or has path to it but would be very useful.
- HDMI 1.3 for deep color output e.g. YCbCr 4:4:4 at 10 or 12 bit. I suspect new displays will move in this direction as a competitive feature once HDMI 1.3 equipped models come to market. The ABT2010's specs suggest support for this but it's not clear. Also support for 120 Hz refresh rates (TVs already announced by Samsung).
- A full 7.1 (8 channel) PCM input on the HDMI interfaces for upcoming HD-DVD/BD content like the announced LOTR. Again, something now available on the Yammy RXV-2700.
- Room EQ correction. Apparently on the way but no formal announcement? Some Denon receivers support this well today through Audyssey.
- On the audio front the D2 seems near perfect but I would like to see support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD bitstreams over HDMI with internal decoding.
The D2 appears to provide exceptional audio and video quality which I intend to audition soon. My suggestions point more to a slight increase in flexibility and improvement of the overall user experience.