Interesting concept; don't know if this is offered by other AVR manufacturers but maybe Denon's taking a cue from Sony's PS3... sort of? My boss owns a 3808 and just purchased this feature package which includes volume equalization and dynamic range control across all sources as well as enabling Sirius Radio functionality (my Yammie came with XM functionality) and something to do with HDMI CEC. Cost? Yup! $100. I'm betting the Audyssey chip in the two Denon models already had these functions and now to unlock them you pay. Hmmm...
In case you don't know, owners of PS3's, with a built-in Blu-ray player get updates rather frequently which includes... free functionality additions.
(Have I just turned into a tool for Sony? )
Disclaimer: The package is free with the purchase of a new 3808CI or 4308CI.
Mitsubishi 57732 DLP TV
Yamaha RX-V3800 Receiver
Emotiva LPA-1 amp
Oppo DV-980 DVD player
Harmony 880 Remote
B & W Matrix 804 mains
B & W Matrix HTM center
B & W 800ASW sub
B & W P6 surrounds
This kind of a la carte feature unlocking is fairly commonplace with networking devices, so I guess it was only a matter of time before this approach reaches the receiver market. I've had hardware firewalls that include VPN access and other features that get unlocked after you pay for a product key code. Also, the router I have at home also has security services, anti-virus, and parental controls built it. But, those features require a product key before you can use them beyond the 30-day trial period.
Denon and Onkyo have already done this kind of paid upgrade approach before. The Onkyo I recall entailed a downloadable firmware update that you uploaded using a serial cable. With one of Denon's 58XX series receivers, they offered an upgrade that required swapping out an entire circuit board -- mainly because it upgraded the main DSP chip and DACs, and changed the programming for the OSD.
With the PS3, you have to remember that Sony's locked into a fierce battle with Nintendo and MS, and trying to grow market share with the most expensive console on the market. No way they will alienate users at this juncture by charging for software upgrades. If anything, Sony's been trying to figure out what to cut out in order to lower the console prices (i.e., no more PS2 compatibility, and no more SACD playback).
But, at the same time, the refinements they keep adding to the video player functionality maintains the PS3's status as one of the better Blu-ray players, especially since now standalone Blu-ray players are upwards of $100 to $200 cheaper than the PS3. If anything, the Blu-ray feature has helped keep the PS3 afloat despite numerous missteps on the gaming side. Anything that puts more PS3s into living rooms helps both the PS3 gaming fortunes, as well as Blu-ray. Earlier, it was presumed that the PS3 would be needed to prop up the uncertain fortunes for Blu-ray.
Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
Panasonic VIERA TH-C50FD18 50" 1080p
Paradigm Reference Studio 40, CC, and 20 v.2
Adire Audio Rava (EQ: Behringer Feedback Destroyer DSP1124)
Dual CS5000 (Ortofon OM30 Super)
Denon DVD-758 (DVD-1940ci)
Sony Playstation 3 (MediaLink OS X Server)
Sony ES SCD-C2000ES
Oppo Digital HM-31
Logitech Harmony 650