Design and Connections
The DBT-3313 is built like a tank, with an all metal construction and thick aluminium front facia that is minimalist in terms of its look. There's a centrally mounted disc tray that slides in and out on a mechanism that is both smooth and silent. Our only minor complaint would be that the space you actually put the disc into is very shallow, so make sure it is in correctly. Above the disc tray is a big display that is well laid out, informative and easy to read. Over on the left hand side is the power button, the Pure Direct button and a small blue LED that shows you when the player is connected via Denon Link HD. Whist on the right hand side there are some basic controls (play, stop, skip and eject) and a USB port.
At the rear is a very basic set of connections with just two HDMI outputs, the Denon Link HD connector, an Ethernet port, in/out remote control jacks, an RS232 serial connector for system control and stereo analogue outs for a second zone. Aside from the twin HDMI outputs there are no other digital outputs, nor are there any analogue outputs except the second zone stereo connectors. The DBT-3313 has been designed purely as a digital transport for use with HDMI and where applicable Denon Link HD. Whilst most people will probably be using HDMI, it is worth pointing out that if you're looking for coaxial and optical digital outputs or multi-channel analogue outputs, you'd better look elsewhere. The connectors themselves are gold plated and the twin HDMI outputs mean that when using the pure direct mode, you can split the audio and video over the two HDMI outputs.
The remote control is constructed from black plastic and is reasonably large and comfortable to hold. The button position is quite intuitive and the weight well balanced, making it easy to use with one hand. The remote doesn't have a backlight but the primary controls are all centrally located and the buttons are phosphorescent, making them easy to find in the dark. Along with all the usual controls, there is a Home key, a Pure Direct feature (which turns off the video circuits and display for audio-only playback) and buttons for directly accessing Netflix and YouTube. You can also set the resolution, choose the layer of a SACD or access the picture adjustment menu directly from the remote and there are basic controls for a connected Denon AVR.
Setup and Menus
In the Settings menu there are four sub-menus - General Settings, Video Settings, Audio Settings and Information. In General Settings there are sub-headings for System, Language, Parental Control, Network and Others. In Video Settings there sub headings for TV (Aspect Ration, Wallpaper and Progressive Mode), HDMI (Colour Space, Deep Colour and Output) and 3D (Output and Screen Size). As mentioned previously you set the resolution using the dedicated button on the remote and the choices are Auto, Source Direct, 480/576i, 480/576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p and 1080p24. Thankfully Denon have resisted the temptation to include any picture modes, opting instead to output an untampered video signal, aside from any deinterlacing and scaling. However there is a Picture Adjustment menu, again accessed directly from the remote, that offers a number of image controls. The default setting for all these controls is zero and that's where we'd leave them, as any such adjustments are best made on the display itself.
In the Audio Settings sub-menu you can choose whether to output PCM or Bitstream over HDMI and turn the Dynamic Range Compression on or off - we recommend leaving it off. If you are listening to a SACD, the DBT-3313 can output as Direct Stream Digital (DSD) but if the the connected device cannot support DSD over HDMI, then the Denon automatically switches to PCM. The last page is System Information, which just shows the MAC address, so we're not quite sure why Denon has bothered with it. Finally, on the remote control there is a button marked Option, where you can select secondary video, audio and subtitle settings.
Despite the lack of built-in WiFi once you have connected the DBT-3313, using either an Ethernet cable or with a wireless adapter, the networking performance is actually quite good. We used an Ethernet cable and once attached the Denon connected immediately with our network and downloaded a firmware update. So as with the rest of the setup, it all seems quite easy and intuitive. The DBT-3313 worked well in our testing and appears to support the majority of media and file formats including MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, JPEG, MPEG1/2/4 and WMV9 files over both USB and a network. The Denon also supports FLAC HD 192kHz/24-bit over a network connection.
1080p & 3D Playback
Subjective Audio Tests
However if you own one of Denon's A/V receivers with Denon Link HD then you can connect the DBT-3313 using the dedicated cable to achieve a digital audio signal transmission with negligible jitter over an HDMI connection. This proprietary technology transmits the digital sound via the HDMI but uses the A/V receiver’s master clock signal, which is sync'd with the player. Thus the ICs (integrated circuits) on both the player and AVR share a uniform clock signal. In digital signal transmissions over conventional HDMI connections, the ICs are operated with separate clock signals, resulting in jitter which can impact on the sound quality. Denon Link HD works with all HDMI digital output signals, including BD, DVD, DVD-A, SACD, CD, and music streamed from a network. We tested the DBT-3313 with Denon's AVR-4520 and whilst we wouldn't say that the difference was night and day, the use of Denon Link HD certainly resulted in a wonderfully spacious and detailed sound from all the formats we tried.
Disc Load Times
- Standby: 0W
- Idle: 12W
- Playing a disc: 14W
- Universal playback
- Excellent audio performance
- Reference video processing
- Reference build quality and quiet operation
- Very fast load and response times
- Easy to use with well designed menu system
- Two HDMI outputs
- Dedicated stereo output
- Well designed and high quality remote
- No Analogue audio outputs
- No digital outputs (apart from HDMI)
- No built-in WiFi
- Limited internet functionality
Denon DBT-3313 Universal Blu-ray Player Review
Well if we were basing our scoring purely on the build quality, the DBT-3313 would certainly be a reference badge winner with it's weapons grade construction. The heavy chassis and thick metal facia combine to give the player a wonderfully solid and well engineered feel. This is easily one of the best made Blu-ray players we've reviewed and the centrally mounted disc tray and mechanism are almost silent in operation, immediately giving the user a sense of higher-end performance. The front is clean with only a few basic controls and a USB port, along with an easy to read and informative display. The remote control is sensibly laid out, comfortable to hold and easy to use.
The rear connections are very minimal, with only two HDMI sockets and no other digital or analogue outputs, aside from stereo analogue outputs for a second zone. This makes the DBT-3313 a dedicated digital transport, designed exclusively for use with HDMI enabled equipment, which probably won't bother most people but is worth pointing out. As a result the DBT-3313 is clearly intended for use with Denon's latest line-up of AV receivers, where the user can take full advantage of Denon Link HD. The DBT-3313 doesn't have a quick start mode but overall the boot-up and disc loading times were reasonable, whilst the power consumption was good for a player of this size.
The menu system is clear, concise and quick to navigate and setup was generally straightforward; although if you have a suitably equipped Denon receiver and plan on taking full advantage of Denon Link HD, we'd recommend reading the manuals carefully. Whilst there is an Ethernet port at the rear, there is no built-in WiFi, which is surprising as we would consider wireless capability to be the bare minimum these days. The reason for this becomes clear once you access the player's limited internet capabilities. There are some decent networking features and good file support but compared to much of the competition, the overall platform is fairly simplistic.
However, no buys a player like the DBT-3313 to make Skype calls or order their weekly shop, they buy it to play their disc collection and here the Denon was sublime. Whatever disc we tried this genuinely universal player just took it in its stride, producing a very assured and accomplished performance. Obviously 2D and 3D Blu-rays were flawless but thanks to some excellent video processing, the player could squeeze every last pixel of detail out of our diminishing DVD collection. Whilst DVD-Audio and SACD were never popular formats, the DBT-3313 is a powerful reminder of how good they can sound, especially when you utilise Denon Link HD.
The Denon DBT-3313UD universal Blu-ray player may not be cheap but you generally get what you pay for in life. So if you're looking for universal playback, flawless performance, superb build quality and a touch of class, then look no further.
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
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