After years of lambasting the technology, Denon has announced it is to make a major U-turn and release a Blu-ray player later this year.

Announced in the US this week and expected to be coming to the UK shortly, the Denon DVD-3800BDCI BD-ROM (which will cost around £1000) and the DVD-2500BTC BD-ROM players will be the first BD-ROM Profile 1 version 1.1 Blu-ray Disc Players from a Blu-ray Disc Association member featuring the 10-bit Silicon Optix Realta chipset.

What does that mean? Well according to Denon, the players will provide users with the highest resolution high-definition video available today via HDMI connection, as well as audio decoding and DDSC-HD audio output.

The move is a dramatic turn around from the company's line on the next generation technology just 9 months ago.

At last year's IFA technology show in Berlin, Denon launched two new DVD players, which it claimed where of quality equal or better than the next generation Blu-ray or HD-DVD efforts.

"In tests, we've found the experience of playing The Fifth Element on our systems considerably better than on the new Blu-ray format", a spokesman for the company told Pocket-lint at IFA 2006 in Germany at the time.

The key features of the new DVD-3800BDCI include 1080p support, as well as a secondary audio and video decoder that allows for simultaneous playback of a secondary audio and video track, which may be used for interactive audio and commentary and for picture-in-picture capability.

Sound wise the players will support a variety of audio technologies, including Advanced AL24 processing. The player offers HD Audio and DDSC-HD, with decoding of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and is capable of outputting both 7.1-channel analog signals and PCM audio via HDMI output.

There will even be an SD card reader on both Blu-ray models.

In addition to its Blu-ray Disc introductions, Denon is updating its lineup of DVD players and changers with six additional models, including the DVD-1940CI (SRP: $349) and DVD-1740 (SRP: $169), as well as the new DVM-1845 (SRP: $269) 5-disc DVD changer.

Three new models in the company's Retail Home Theater DVD lineup have also been added, including the DVD-758 (SRP: $349) and DVD-558 (SRP: $169) DVD players, as well as the new DVM-745 (SRP: $269) 5-disc changer.

Denon UK has issued a statement saying: "Potentially Denon Europe will launch PAL versions in the Autumn and UK model numbers, prices and exact availability will be released
in line with finalised release dates."

We will keep you posted.