Putting the “V” in Your AVR Denon AVR-3808CI
Denon was an early adopter with video processing and has incorporated different levels of performance across their AVR line. For this survey, Denon provided two of their newest receivers: the $1,599 AVR-3808CI and the $5,200 flagship AVR-5308CI. While the much-more-expensive flagship uses Silicon Optix’s top-end Realta solution, the AVR-3808CI uses the Genesis/Faroudja FLI-2310 chip used throughout much of Denon’s AVR line.
The AVR-3808CI is one of only a few AVRs in this roundup that will let you apply video processing to incoming HDMI signals. This gives you the flexibility of taking advantage of the video processing available or bypassing it if you would prefer the display to do it. We liked the AVR-3808CI’s standard- definition video processing, but the high-definition side comes up a bit short.
The Genesis/Faroudja FLI-2310 was a very popular solution in the DVD player market. In this application, its most glaring issue is that it was not designed to process HD signals. It will not do proper 3:2 or 2:2 deinterlacing of 1080i sources or motion-adaptive processing of video-based HD sources. This is not a concern with digital inputs, since they are simply passed through, but it will affect analog 1080i sources, such as cable set-top boxes. 1080i analog sources that the AVR-3808CI converted to HDMI showed obviously reduced video quality due to improper HD deinterlacing.
We were also disappointed to see the quality of analog-to-digital conversion with the AVR-3808CI. Both the horizontal luma and chroma resolution were rolled off, resulting in softness and a loss of fine object detail. The scaling quality was also quite poor, with obvious ringing and interference.
The AVR-3808CI offers high-quality switching of digital/HDMI sources, which is good for those with displays with high-quality video processing that need only high-resolution passthrough. But there is room for improvement overall.