Those in need of an AVR today but aren’t quite ready for an 8K TV, might want to consider purchasing Denon’s new AVR-S960H S-series AVR, which is billed as a 4K home theater AVR with “8K on tap” for future system upgrades.

Denon said the AVR-S960H is the first “8K-ready AV receiver” in its S-series AVR lineup. It is designed to deliver Denon’s famous high quality home theater audio and many of the latest tech features.

The receiver will be available in July at a $649 suggested retail price from authorized Denon retailers.

“On the heels of the X-Series launch earlier this month, we’re excited to offer another AV receiver that gives users the ability to dramatically upgrade their movie and gaming nights at a price we think is really going to excite people,” said Jake Mendel, Denon AVR & Hi-Fi components product marketing manager. “The AVR-S960H checks all the boxes to easily build a really excellent 4K home theater and gaming experience while also arming your system for 8K when you’re ready. While theaters remained closed and family time is more important than ever, now is the time to build the home theater and gaming system of your dreams.”

Like many of Denon’s recently introduced step-up X-series AVRs, the AVR-S960H S series model includes a dedicated “8K” HDMI input that enables 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through. The receiver will also support the major High Dynamic Range (HDR) video profiles including HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and baseline HDR10. It also supports up to 4:4:4 chroma subsampling, BT.2020 pass-through and a feature called Quick Media Switching (QMS), which allows a source to instantly switch the resolution or frame rate to eliminate screen blackout between program changes.

For up to 7 channels of immersive surround sound, the Denon AVRS960H supports the key object-oriented surround formats including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X, and DTS Virtual:X.

Denon AVR-S960H carries forward the brand’s notable clean amplification and low impedance driver capability (90W per channel at 8 ohms, 20Hz20Khz, THD: 0.08%, with 2 channels driven) for clear, well-balanced sound.

For serious video gamers, the receiver support several new features including 4K/120Hz pass-through and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).This will help the system avoid frame tearing, while supported Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT), reduce lag and elevate competitive play.

For those with 8K-supporting displays, the Denon AVR-S960H can also upscale HD and 4K content to 8K to help make better use of all of the additional pixels on the TV screen.

Other continuing features in the S-series include eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) compatibility, which enables streaming uncompressed and object-based audio from the TV to the receiver via a single HDMI cable. With eARC the television determines the best way to handle the video signal on screen as the AVR determines the best way to present the supporting surround sound format while offer precise lip-sync communication and hassle-free multi-device interoperability.

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To quickly and easily set up the best sound from the available components in the home theater system, the Denon AVR-S960H is designed to guide users through each step in the setup process with Denon’s Setup Assistant. Denon uses Audyssey room calibration technology to automatically measure the sound of the room and optimize each channel level for an optimized and customized 3D audio experience for the setting. Further, an Audyssey MultEQ Editor app is available for purchase for those who want more precise tweaking.

Like most Denon and Marantz AVRs, the Denon AVR-S960H is equipped with HEOS built-in multiroom music to stream music wirelessly across compatible HEOS components from a variety of free and premium streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora,
Amazon Music HD, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, SiriusXM, TIDAL, and other services.

Consumers can purchase HEOS wireless speakers and enjoy music streamed through the AVR to any room of the home, or multiple rooms in the home at the same time controlled with a HEOS mobile device app. The receiver also supports Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, with Apple Music streaming support via AirPlay 2.

For greater ease of use, the AVR-S960H supports works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant,, and Apple Siri AI voice control. Listeners can use Amazon Alexa for a variety of commands, including switching inputs for different media players, while the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri can be used to adjust the volume, skip to the next track etc.

Meanwhile, offers custom integrators greater control over voice integration into a variety of existing smart home platforms.

The Denon AVR-S960H is Roon Tested and Certified for Hi-Res Audio playback enabling access to digital libraries using the Roon music interface on their PCs and smart devices. Denon Roon Tested AVRs can be found and setup easily by Roon via AirPlay 2 or hardwired into a Roon Core device, the company said. A front-panel USB port offers support for multiple digital music file formats including standard MP3 to high-resolution audio formats WAV, FLAC, 24-bit/192kHz ALAC and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz

The Denon AVR-S960H is equipped with 32-bit AKM DAC that supports high-resolution audio decoding.

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By Greg Tarr

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