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Denon DBP-4010UDCI Blu-ray Player Review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Article Index
Denon DBP-4010UDCI Blu-ray Player Review
Setup and Performance
Blu-ray and DVD

ImageThe realm of the reference Blu-ray player can be a fickle one nowadays, where a home theater enthusiast is asked to take an even larger leap of faith above the rest of the pack for incremental improvements.  However, it’s these nudges upwards in quality that create an even more satisfying experience, which is the climate where Denon’s Reference DBP-4010UDCI Universal Blu-ray player makes its entrance.  For a $2,000 list price, you’re going to get a rather impressive-performing audiovisual Blu-ray device; however, the price tags also comes with a few hindrances that’ll squelch a good bit of HD-ready eagerness, namely some time-lagged quirks under the hood and some aesthetic grievances that shouldn’t be experienced with such a esteemed piece of equipment.  Still, the precision once up and roaring is exceptional, boasting the advanced-performing quality with Anchor Bay Technology’s VRS video processor and dual 32-bit DDSC-HD bass processors that you’d expect from the high-end company.  It stands behind its “universal” claim to handle just about any disc thrown in the machine, rendering itself into a sluggish yet stellar device.  

Out of the Box:

Denon’s line of receivers have always been rather large and heavy, something that the aurally-proficient company has carried over into their flagship Blu-ray player.  However, they’ve also got a vein of attractiveness that almost justifies the bulk.  The DBP-4010UDCI towers at 5 and a half inches tall and clocks in at roughly 23 pounds, easily making it one of the tallest and heaviest players around.  It’s obviously constructed with the mind that it’ll be paired with other Denon products in an adjustable rack, seeing as how the height could be problematic in almost any space designated in a media center for a Blu-ray/DVD deck.  It’s sporting the classy brushed aesthetic that’s become the norm for Denon’s electronics as of late, as well as being overwhelming solid with its construction – weighty, sure, but certainly constructed to last for quite a long time.  Denon have also included an Ethernet cable, heavy duty composite / stereo cables (one white-red stereo, one composite video), a thick PC-style power cable, a rather large remote (more on that later), and a dense owner’s manual in both English and French.

Denon Front Disc Tray

Along with being eye-catching at the front, the interface at the front of Denon’s player is also pleasingly streamlined.  At the lower left is a standard power button that glows a dim green when powered on, as well as manual toggles for Disc Layer, Pure Direct, and HDMI Resolution.  Indicator lights hover above those for Clock Control, Denon Link, and Advanced AL24 (essentially standing for Advanced Analog 24 for improved 24-bit PCM output), while the standard array of Elect, Stop, Fast Forward, Pause, and Source buttons are available on the right-hand side.  At the center lies the Display, which contains indicators for HD Resolution Audio being active, Super Audio CD, DVD/CD, Blu-ray discs and SD Memory Card usage.  When the disc tray is ejected, you’ll notice a “gripping” rubbery material that holds the disc in place as it makes its way into the machine.  It’s an attentive earmark that lowers the concern of scuffed discs, as well as adding satisfying, sturdy rigidity to the flexibility of the tray.
Denon’s consideration for inputs in their receivers can be clearly seen in the satisfying array of inputs on the rear of the DBP-4010UDCI.  As to be expected, an HDMI port can be found alongside Digital Out in both Toslink/Optical and coaxial varieties, as well as two Ethernet style ports – one for actual Ethernet usage, and the other for usage with the Denon Link functionality.  Lower-grade video resolution outputs are also available, in Component and S-Video/Composite out jacks.  Also included, however, are a dense handful of analog jacks, one series for 7.1 audio out and the other for separate 2-channel stereo functionality.  And, pleasantly, IR remote control and RS-232C jacks have been made available for usage with universal remotes.  For the purposes of the bulk of this review, a 1.3b HDMI cable was sent to Onkyo’s bitstream-capable TX-SR605 and then routed to LG’s 55LH40 LCD. 

Denon Left Front Side


Denon has made it pretty clear that they had the usage of their DBP-4010UDCI with universal remotes in mind, because their RC-1140 remote device is an unpleasant clunker.  Its size rivals the likes of Motorola’s cable box remote, measuring at 9 inches in length and nearly an inch and a half thick at its deepest.  Though the bulk of Denon’s remote adds to the awkwardness, the weight and curvature doesn’t help; when in-hand, it’s simply uncomfortable to try and flip through the array of buttons.  The layout is pretty standard, with Resolution/HDMI mode toggles near the top with the two Power On and Power Off buttons (yep, two separate buttons) , with the circular spindle at the center for directional / setup navigation and standard program progression (Play, Pause, FF/RW) buttons nearing the bottom.  Of note, there’s also a Dimmer button to lower visibility of the player’s LED display, a Picture Adjust button to select the “picture mode” elected for usage with the player, and a Disc Layer button to toggle between layers on SACD and such.  Note that a backlight has not been included on this remote, but the buttons are made with brightly luminescent glow-in-the-dark material.  


Diving underneath the hood of the Denon DBP-4010UDCI with their gracefully-flowing GUI offers a fine array of tailoring options to both visual and sound elements.  HDMI Setup allows for adjustments to DeepColor (On/Off), Audio signal translation (LPCM, 2CH, Mute), SACD Audio Out (On/Off), HDMI Control, changing between Max Resolution and Panel Resolution, I/P direct conversion of 24fps, and a toggle for RGB Normal/Enhanced and YCbCr Color Space.  Under TV Setup, we can tailor the Aspect Ratio of the television (16x9 Squeeze/WIDE, 4x3 Pan and Scan/Letterbox)), the Component output’s resolution (480i/p, 720p, 1080i), Progressive Mode and TV Active Area.  Mostly, these are straightforward adjustments that were optimized for the purposes of this review – maximum resolution, Deep Color enabled, etc.

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