We don't see many home theatre AV receivers at CES, with home audio manufacturers generally waiting for other trade shows to release new product lines. However, most AV receivers don't have Blu-ray players built-in.
Denon has announced the S-5BD AV receiver/Blu-ray disc player combo unit at CES 2010, melding the two components into a sleek, glossy package.
Key features of the Denon S-5BD:
- 5.1-channel AV receiver
- 2-zone, 2-source capability
- Three HDMI 1.4 inputs
- Dolby Pro Logic IIz decoding, along with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
- SD card slot
- AU$3999 list price, available in April 2010
The S-5BD was originally slated to be released in September 2009; however, it was delayed by six months in order to support the latest HDMI version 1.4 standard. It will be one of the first products to support this new standard locally, but as to whether it will playback Blu-ray 3D movies, well, we doubt it.
The S-5BD certainly has a slick design and it's the first combo unit we've seen, but we can't help but feel it will ultimately have limited appeal. The integrated Blu-ray player has a relatively bare-bones feature set since it lacks Wi-Fi and the streaming media services (like Netflix) available on competing models. We've also complained about the layout on Denon's remote controls in some of our AV receiver reviews, and we can only imagine it being worse when that remote also controls your Blu-ray player.
While it may suit some people looking for an "all-in-one" solution, the integrated design does limit your upgrade options. With separate components, it's easy to swap in a new Blu-ray player while you still try to squeeze some extra years out of your receiver. You could add a new Blu-ray player with the S-5BD (with its three HDMI inputs), but that's defeating the point of the unit in the first place.
The S-5BD might make sense in certain applications where there's limited space or ease of use is a priority, but it may not be the best choice for buyers who value flexibility in their home theatre set-ups.