Upside: The DVD-2910 has all the audio and video bases covered. Audiophiles will appreciate that the DVD-2910 is a universal player, so it's equally adept at playing DVD-Audio and SACD discs. On the video side, the DVD-2910 can upscale video output to HD-friendly 720p and 1080i resolutions via its onboard DVI and HDMI connections (most players have only one or the other).
Downside: With its ability to pass high-definition video and multichannel DVD sound through just one cable, the HDMI connection shows a lot of promise. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to wait until 2005 to find an HDMI-equipped receiver to take advantage of that single-cable connectivity. Meanwhile, SACD fans will still need to run the six 5.1-channel analog cables (an issue due more to political decisions made by SACD godfathers at Sony, rather than any technical shortfall at Denon). Another knock: Neither the DVD-2910 nor its $1,299 step-up, the DVD-3910, feature even the most basic network media capabilities that we're now seeing in bargain DVD players, such as the GoVideo D2730.
Outlook: Denon products have a well-deserved reputation for quality, so the prospect of a reference-level universal player that adds HD video upscaling is an enticing one. But the DVD-2910 is going to face some stiff competition: Samsung's forthcoming DVD-HD941 has nearly the same specs but will retail for a considerably more affordable $349. We'll let you know how these players perform once they become available and we can do hands-on evaluations of each.