I have borrowed a Denon 2800II and an Arcam DV88 DVD players for home demo in the search for my next player. I have of course had time to play around at lengh with both and use the same material through the same equipment to get a good example of what both are good and bad at. This is in no way a scientific experiment and the results and conclusions are those based on my equipment and opinions. I am looking for a big jump in picture performance, and a player that is also musical with CD playback. The tests were done side by side for both DVD and Audio, but for the purpose of this report, i will include both seperate tests in one paragragh for each player; The HC set up is as follows; Tag AV32R Processor Rotel 1075 Amplifier (5ch THX) M&K 750THX LCR M&K SS55 Tripoles Velodyne CHT15 Subwoofer Barco Data 800 CRT Iscan Pro Da-lite Fixed screen 7.5ft 16:9 Chord Digital interconnects Ixos Speaker cables. Test discs were: DVD: Seven R1 SE SW:AOTC R1 Lilu And Stich R2 Peter Kays Pheonix Nights R2 Music CD: Michael Jackson History Manics: Greatest Hits Chillout Cinema HDCD Sting & Police:Greatest Hits Cinema Room: 14ft x 13ft with various positioned absorbers and furnishings. The Player I am Replacing is a Pioneer 444. This is a sub £200 player which is good value for money but should pale into insignificance with the Demo Players. The Arcam and Denon are Demo players from 7oaks and have the latest firmware installed and are connected to the iscan via s-video (dont have component cable) and to the tag by coaxial Chord digital interconnect(£75) for use with the 192 dacs. I have not connected them via analogue. Arcam DV88 First of all is the Arcam, this is just a plain DV88 not the plus version. I let the barco warm up for two hours and checked the convergence before the test. First was AOTC R1. First thing i noticed was the sound quality. It was a big leap ahead of the pioneer and opened up the sound stage by quite some margin. There was plenty of fine details in the sound which was dynamic and smooth. The picture quality however was a little disapointing in comparison. Using Chapter 4 where the Jedi have a meeting with the chancellor there are good tests for the Iscans 3:2 pulldown with slow pans and good close ups of faces for detail. The player managed the pans very well, but it was in the fine details that let it down. The image was very soft looking and even made me check the PJ in case i had a problem. There was no problem, it was the player which was struggling to give any fine detail that i am used to. The colours were good, with no visable signs of any bleed or chroma. I then tried to play the R2 Peter Kay disc, and the Arcam refused point blank to do this, i also tried to play Lilu and Stich on R2, again the player refused to load the disc up, most frustrating. I then checked other R2 discs and not one of them would load. Next I tried the R1 Seven Special edition disc. Again the audio was brilliant with dts this time. Yet again there was a distinct lack of detail in the picture. This was very frustrating, the picture was certainly not that of a high end player. I was so convinced it might be a fault with the PJ i hooked it up to my 32" W/S Toshiba, but to no avail, a distinct lack of image detail. Dont get me wrong the picture is good, but not that good, and certainly not any better then the pioneer i was replacing. So onto using it as a CD player through the Tag in Direct+Sub mode. WOW now this is a very detailed music performer. MJ's Billie Jean just kicked ass big style, with bags of mid range snap and high end details, and the bass was controlled, yet deep and fast. I tried the other discs and was actually really enjoying the sound so much i listened again and again. Denon 2800 MKII So how did the Denon fair? I have read the various threads regarding problems with this player, but craig at 7oaks said he had not found any problems with this demo player. Picture quality was outstanding, a huge step up from the Arcam. The levels of fine detail in faces during close ups was there to see. Even panning shots of wide scenes had details neither the Pioneer or Arcam could resolve. The sound was also very good, with a little more bottom end than the arcam, which was tight and fast. The player managed to play all the test discs, and i was very very impressed with its detailed image. I did notice a few quirks though. The lip sync was out very slightly now and again, and on seven there was a little picture noise and some very slight pixelation. So it certainly beat the Arcam for picture quality, but the quirks were a little annoying. This player is also a little noisey during chapter scan and loading. So how did it fair as a CD player. Very well really, not as good as the Arcam in fine detail pieces, and it certainly is a bassier player, but rounded at the top end without being raspy. Conclusion So what was the overall opinion i based on these players? First the Arcam was very disapointing at video replay and i wouldn't buy this machine for its picture performance. Playing Cd was brilliant however, and i loved to sit and listen to its audio capabilities for a few hours. The Denon was a real star in the Picture stakes with coupious amounts of fine detail on show, and a very filmic look. However the lip sync problem was annoying, as well as pixelation during dark scenes. As a Cd player it was very good, just not qite up to the Arcam standard here. So which one will I buy? I am afraid i need now to look at other models, both players had their plus points, but neither were outstanding and the little quirks are the only reason Denon are not getting a sale. Overall the Denon was the best all round player, but the lip synce and pixelation let it down, i just couldn't live with them, which is a shame as the picture is just sublime. So I am still looking for a replacement player and will let you know what i try next. I might look at the Oykyo THX player and the Rotel, and maybe even the 3800 from Denon......any thoughts?