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Denon S-101 DVD Home Entertainment System (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
- System features two speaker panels, PC-sized subwoofer, DVD player, and remote control
- On-screen guide helps switch between functions, position speakers, and more
- System connects to and controls your iPod for easy access to stored music and photos
- 100-watt subwoofer delivers crisp sound
- Progressive-scan DVD loads in less than 20 seconds
Special Offers and Product Promotions
The attractive S-101 home-theater DVD system delivers big sound and big pictures -- even from a tiny iPod. View larger.
Shoebox-sized DVD player takes up very little room. View larger.
Back panel includes plenty of inputs and outputs for all your home-theater component needs. View larger.
Handy, well-designed remote control. View larger.
To finish the set-up, the remote's help button summons an awesome on-screen guide to help with everything from switching between DVD and audio functions to positioning the speakers. The remote is well designed; the most frequently used buttons sit in uncluttered arrangement while specialty buttons and a number pad hide behind an access door underneath. Play, pause, track, search, and volume buttons glow in the dark and are easy to feel--a must-have while watching movies in a darkened home theater.
The most interesting feature of this system, however, is its connectivity to the Apple iPod. More than just playing music, the S-101 can actually control the device through the system's remote and allow you to browse music files or watch iPod photos on your TV -- all while recharging your iPod's battery. The system even includes a stereo miniplug port for connecting other digital music players.
Audio from the unit is outstanding. The system puts out a crisp sound, even at ear-splitting volume, thanks largely to the 100-watt subwoofer. Denon eschewed the myriad cords of satellite speakers in favor of Dolby's Virtual Speaker technology, which was designed to create a virtual sound field using only two front speakers. The effect is quite nice once it's fine-tuned with the on-screen audio set-up, but we found it lacking the fine spatial details of 5.1 surround-sound systems. Note that it also lacks the complicated set-up and wiring of those systems, which makes for a more even trade off.
The S-101 has at its heart a progressive-scan DVD player that loads commercial DVDs in about 19 seconds and recordable DVDs in about 21 seconds. A little bit of DVD spin noise leaks out of the top air vent, but placing the unit in a cabinet or a bookshelf could easily baffle the sound. The unit's ability to tune radio and play Kodak picture CDs makes the S-101 a bit like the Swiss Army knife of digital entertainment.
It's not without some faults, however. We were able to play MP3 and Windows Media (WMA) files from a data CD-R that was burned through Windows Media 9, but another data CD-R burned with Roxio software was unrecognizable to the system--even though the disc had been verified in Windows XP, Macintosh OS X, and an older, low-end KLH disc player. We were pleased to see the system's FM tuner supports Radio Data System (RDS)--a way of sending station identification and other snippets of information over standard FM waves--in its front panel display, but it neglects to use that same display to convey song IDs from digital music files being played. To see song titles, you must turn on the TV. --Porter B. Hall
What's in the Box
Player, left and right front speakers, subwoofer, remote control unit, iPod cable, AM and FM radio antennae, speaker stands, speaker wall brackets, instructions, warranty, system cables, RCA-type component video cable.
Top Customer Reviews
But something has happened after a few months of owning my S101 which is making me rethink my opinion of it as a product and of Denon in general.
First, the remote control died. I tried changing the batteries, but to no avail. Then, one fine day, my unit simply stopped turning on. The little red light ring around the "Power" button would shine, but there was no way of powering up the unit, either by pressing the button or by using the remote control.
I called Denon a couple of times to ask about sending the unit in for inspection and warranty service (remember, I had only owned it for less than half a year). Those phone calls involved my spending some very irksome half hours on hold, listening to tinned Haydn and Vivaldi and automated messages. On a third attempt, I managed to get a real human being by hitting "0". I finally got instructions as to what I had to do to get my S101 looked at.
I spent $75 to send the unit to Denon via UPS for warranty service. The unit was repaired and sent back to me before two weeks were up.
My happiness with this first outcome wouldn't last very long. Next thing you know, the S101 is dead once again. I try e-mailing and calling Denon about it. It takes some doing--days of doing, in fact, for me to get another human being on the phone, who arranges for UPS to pick up the system at my home and promises me satisfaction, apologizing profusely for the many phone calls I had to make and e-mails I had to write to get some service.Read more ›
Update. I got it back after being in the shop for 6 months. I was bound and determined to sell it after getting it back but for what I would probably get out if it ($300) I might as well keep it as anything in that price range does not sound as good or have the features. My only advise to buyers is to take or send the unit to and Authorized service center if there are any issues. I bought the unit from a big box retail store that is Authorized to sell the units but evidently not and authorized service center so if they need parts they have to go through a 3rd party.
My review (as of now) makes more bad reviews than good. Take that as a hint from an audio nut who's worked in the industry for quite a while.
Avoid this product!
First, set-up is a breeze even for a novice. I was glad to see Denon included a high-quality progressive scan DVD player, and that the receiver has hi-def output in the form of component (red, blue, green). It as several aux inputs, and can handle a digital optical or coax input from another source. The heart of the system is actually in the subwoofer, which makes most of the cords stay hidden in the corner.
By far the coolest feature of the unit is its integrated Ipod functionality. Just plug your Ipod in with the included cord, and you will see the familiar Ipod menu screen on your TV. Then, just use the extremely intuitive Denon remote to control you Ipod as you would with the actual Ipod itself (it doesn't have the same wheel, but it is extremely easy to use). In seconds you are jamming to your entire music library without having to do any loading of songs (as with the Bose system).
The remote itself is awesome, as all the necessary buttons are on the front, very large, and in the right place. If you want to monkey with settings, the back opens up for the more technical buttons. This helps avoid the dreaded scenario where a child manages to change all kinds of settings playing the remote control game.
The sounds itself is good, not great. Tons of powerful base, it does very well for the average movie. By no means is it comperable to a true 5.1 soundstage with 5 or 6 speakers, but then that system costs thousands more. I'll put it this way, it sounds better than you would expect.
All in all this is about the best design I have ever seen in computer electronics. The Ipod interface and remote make you wonder why everyone else produces such complex systems.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i love this product. its the best electronic device that i own. well this and the toaster. i greatly recommend this product. Read morePublished on August 30, 2013 by mypu2k
I have had this unit since shortly after it originally came out, as a bedroom system. So it's been seeing daily use for years. Read morePublished on July 4, 2012 by Sugith Varughese
I have owned this system for years,,, i paid full price.. and it was worth it.
I have had no problems,, i just recently disconnected it to have my room redone,, so i am... Read more
I have it almost 1 year. This system is great,Sound perfect...I like it in my live room...looks nicePublished on July 7, 2009 by S. JIANG
I bought the Denon S-101 2.1 home theater system to get rid of all the wires my wife didn't like! I thought the system sounded better than the Bose 3-2-1 system and I got a good... Read morePublished on January 6, 2008 by E. Rich
I saw some mixed reviews to this product but I am delighted. The sound quality is fantastic, much better than the BOSE 123 I used to own. Read morePublished on February 6, 2007 by Julian
I have tried to get the radio (AM and FM) to recieve stations but cannot get the radio to work. I have tried verious antennas but none will work. Read morePublished on January 22, 2007
I love this unit and am still hopeful that I don't run into the same problems as many owners have. I've had this for six months with only one issue - the remote control stopped... Read morePublished on January 15, 2007 by E. Diehm
I ordered the Denon S-101 after reading several reviews and actually looking at the unit at my local Circuit City. Read morePublished on January 11, 2007 by Les R. Schmeltz