Denon announces AVR-X4000 AV receiver with 4K upscaling
It's the year of 4K, apparently, at least it is if we subscribe to the manufacturers' schedule of what is going to be pushed this year. Sony, LG, Samsung and Panasonic all have 4K screens on the horizon, or in some cases already on sale. So what you need is a 4K AV receiver to push the very best signals to your TV. The AVR-X4000 should fill that role with some skill.
The Denon home cinema system can either pass through 4K signals or upscale them for presentation to your lovely new TV. It will output 7.2 channel surround sound too, with support for all the latest audio codecs such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD MA. There's also support for Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which gives you extra height information, should you think that a necessity.
There are seven HDMI inputs, and three outputs - including one for a second room. You also get ARC, for sending audio from your TV back to the receiver and there are two optical and two coaxial digital input - just about enough for UK users who are stuck with Sky and Virgin's apparent inability to pass digital audio over HDMI.
Also - rather good news for streaming fans - Airplay is supported, so any Apple-branded kit will easily send music to the system with almost no set-up. For non-Apple people, there's DLNA, which should also allow you to access music on compliant servers, including pretty much every Android phone on the planet.
Also in residence is support for Spotify, something that Onkyo has previously dominated in the AVR market. It's good to see, and having these services built into your home cinema equipment just serves to increase its value to you, and make it a smarter investment. Plus, Denon knows plenty about stereo music, where some AV systems let themselves down.
The addition here of 4K upscaling is interesting: when HDTVs first started to arrive, there was a very real need for high-quality external upscaling. Most TV scalers were horrible, and the results would make watching anything not recorded in HD pretty miserable. To counter that, AVRs often had high-end scalers built-in, to improve things. These days, TV manufacturers have learnt a lot and the scalers in even cheaper TVs have leapt up in quality.
Denon is also announcing two lower-cost receivers, the AVR-X3000 and the AVR-X2000, which have reduced power outputs but retain the 4K upscaling and passthrough. There's an AVR-X1000 which is limited to 1080p, but the dinosaurs have called, and they want that ancient history back with them, where it belongs.