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Kenwood DV-2070 DVD Player Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 June 2000
ImageThe Kenwood DV 2070 is a DVD player that gives you a high-end interface and style on a modest budget. At $850, it comes equipped with many of the tricked-out features you need for a your home theater. The DV 2070 passes a DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 signal with ease and will play DTS as well as traditional 16-bit 44.2 kHz CDs. The Kenwood DV 2070 is not outfitted with DVD-A capabilities, but it can output a sampling rate as high as 96 kHz with 24 Bit DAC resolution. The 2070 is also outfitted with component video outputs.

The most striking feature of the Kenwood DV 2070 is its simple to use and elegant interface. The DV 2070 is far from the black box school of audio video component design. The Kenwood DV 2070 features a highly stylized silver front plate that lights up with a icy blue DVD logo. The trick that will surely impress your friends at your first screening with the DV 2070 is the way the front faceplate folds down to give you automatic access to the DVD drawer. Just two years ago, this kind of AV sizzle was found only on cost-no-object CD transports like the Mark Levinson No. 31 and the Sonic Frontiers CD 2. Now, for $850, you get a little B&O-esque sex appeal in the way your DVD player works. Power to the people!

Many of us use only on-off and open-close buttons as direct access controls for sources such as DVD players. The importance of a remote with advance thinking has become paramount to a successful AV component. The Kenwood DV 2070 remote kicks serious butt at its price point. The remote is silver and rounded so that it fits in to either hand lengthwise. There is a mini-joystick-like button on the top of the remote that allows you access to and navigation of the DVD menus. The DVD set-up and CD control features are controlled by a hard-switched button on the side of the remote. This is smart, since most of the time you are going to be using the remote for DVD features. If you want to make a change to your set-up or direct access a CD that is playing, you can easily make the change, but the hard switch reduces the troubleshooting need to figure out why your remote isn’t doing what you want. Compare the Kenwood remote to the best DVD players like the $4,500 Theta DaViD (review coming in the December 1999 and you understand the value of this player at $850.
The performance of the Kenwood DV 2070 is good. On Super Speedway (Image DVD), the Michael Andretti and Alex Zanardi race scenes are resolute in both picture and sound, especially the Dolby Digital surround effects. The sky is crystal clear and dynamically blue, while in the same frame the multi-colored crowd (easy to visually misrepresent) looked believable. Later in the scene, the screaming red Target-sponsored race car showed some dot crawl and blurring while the drivers and crew were celebrating a victory. I tested the fast-forward feature while searching though different chapters of this DVD and, I must say, the fast-forward was the best I have seen to date. It was variably fast, clear and easy to use.

In the opening scene of Tomorrow Never Dies (MGM-UA DVD), the depth of field and resolution were not as good as I remember them being when I auditioned a Sony DVP-S7700. To be fair, that DVD machine was being tested on my Sony Plasma, which is a far more resolute and expensive video playback system than my Trinitron unit. In comparison to my reference Sony DVP-S3000, the Kenwood is more resolute and clear, with slightly better black levels.

For audio, especially DTS encoded CDs, the Kenwood DV 2070 performed quite well. On "Thank You" from Boyz II Men’s II record (DTS Entertainment CD), I found the music dynamic, with lots of zip. The mid-range clarity was very good, which provided excellent vocal reproduction. However, I did hear a bit of brightness on frequencies ranging from the highest sibilance of the voices to the high hat. When compared with its sound on my Pioneer Elite CLD-79 ($1,350 retail) Laserdisc transport, through the exact same system, the music was warmer and easier to listen to over long periods of time. The music playback feature of the Kenwood is very good, considering you have to start looking at a Pioneer DV 09 ($2,000), a Theta DaViD ($4,500) or a Meridian 800 ($10,000+) to elicit the next significant level of music playback performance.

The Downside
While the sex appeal of the Kenwood DV 2070 is lovable, the unit isn’t built to the tank-like standards you’ll find on the big- dollar machines. I doubt you’ll be walking around the house with your DVD player, so you might say, "Who cares?" With that in mind, the extra effort that went into the remote adds to the day-to-day usability of the unit.

While playing music, the Kenwood DV 2070 flashes a lame Kenwood DVD screen saver. You may be able to get it to go away, but I couldn’t easily figure out how to get rid of it. The more I lay there watching this Microsoft-esque display bounce on my screen, the less I liked it. Sony has a similar screen saver function, which is equally lame.

You can get quite a lot, but not the world, with the $850 Kenwood DV 2070. The ease of use, stylized industrial design and value deserve special praise. The picture is very good and would make the cut for all but the most demanding clients with truly high-end systems, i.e. big gun CRT, DLP and plasma owners. Keep in mind that, to get a much better picture, you are looking at $1,000 to $9,000 more in sticker price. The Kenwood DV 2070 is a DVD machine that flexes its muscles as a unit, with the ability please at a palatable price.

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