Denon AVP-A1HDCI Surround Preamp/Processor and POA-A1HDCI 10-channel Power Amplifier Tests

To test the deinterlacing prowess of the HQV Realta processor, I set the output resolution on my Toshiba HD-A20 HD DVD player to 1080i. Then I turned on video conversion for that source in the AVP and set the resolution to 1080p. My source material was the HQV Benchmark HD DVD test disc. In the video resolution-loss test, all the vertical and horizontal bursts were rock solid, though the high-frequency horizontal burst was grayed out, indicating that the high frequencies were being rolled off.

There are two jaggies tests on this disc, and I have never before seen such a discrepancy in test results between them. Usually, if a processor passes one of the tests, it passes them both. The first test with three bars moving up and down inside a circle produced the best result I have ever seen for this test. All three bars were rock solid with smooth edges. However, the second test with a rotating bar demonstrated jaggies at all times and deteriorated significantly at around 20 degrees from horizontal.

In the film resolution-loss test, the high-frequency horizontal burst was again grayed out, and there was flickering in the mid- and low-frequency horizontal bursts. There was also a cyan-to-pink color shift in the low-frequency horizontal burst as the test pattern moved right to left, though I see this happen with most processors.

The final test is a camera panning across an empty football stadium. During the pan, the top rows of seats lacked detail, coming into sharp focus when the camera stopped. Again, this result is fairly common. There was, however, more detail in the lower row of seats during the pan.

When I allowed my JVC projector to deinterlace the 1080i signal from the Toshiba HD DVD player, the results were similar, except the JVC's processor passed both jaggies tests and did not exhibit flickering during the film resolution-loss test.

I ran through a similar series of tests using the HQV Benchmark DVD. I set the output resolution of the Toshiba player to 480i and tested the deinterlacing and scaling capabilities of the AVP's video processor. The results were very different in the three-bars jaggies test. Ultra-fine jaggies were apparent on all three bars, but they were more pronounced on the top and bottom bars as they moved downward. The rotating-bar test was essentially the same as the corresponding HD test. The processor passed the flag test because the jaggies were extremely fine and only noticeable at a few specific points as the flag flaps in the wind. Basically, this indicates that in a real-world situation, the Denon performs quite well when upconverting a 480i signal.

Two additional standard-def tests also proved that the AVP's processor did an adequate job. In the detail test, objects in the background were fuzzy but clearly identifiable. The film-cadence test has a race car driving in front of an empty stadium. The processor locked on to 3:2 pulldown almost instantly, and seats were sharp at a distance, but as the car moves closer to the camera and the angle of the seats becomes steeper, the seats became less defined. Of course, at no time did they exhibit the sharpness you would get with a 1080p signal.

To test the AVP's Dolby TrueHD decoder, I set a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player to output the audio bitstream and popped in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. There really is no comparison between the Samsung's internal processing and the AVP's. Overall, the AVP always demonstrated much more presence, clarity, and tonal balance with unparalleled transparency.