Universal player with HDCD

Unless I'm missing something, there would appear to be almost no universal players that include HDCD decoding. (Maybe a Denon model, but that would seem to be about it, at least from what I can find.) Is there a good reason for this? If one is going to make the leap to SACD and DVD-A, shouldn't one also be able to enjoy the most from those (admittedly few) HDCDs in one's collection? I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thanks. -- Howard
Since HDCD decoding chips can be included a la carte, it is truly up to the manufacturer. The Denons do HDCD decoding, but that's all I am aware of as well. A look at most new players, universal or not, shows that HDCD inclusion is becoming ever more rare. I share your disappointment.
Oppo DV970HD or Oppo DV981HD are both universal players and decode HDCD. The 981 has better video of the two and does 1080P upconverting. They are both under $250 shipped directly from Oppo. Hope this helps.
Oppo DV-970 or 981. Get it modded, and you've got a ridiculously good player for a relative pittance. Hope this helps.
Both Oppo and,I think, NAD have HDCD decoding on their universal players as well as Denon. I have a Oppo being modified by RAM right now and I can hardly wait to get it. I think I have quite a few HDCD encoded discs. The Grateful Dead has released a bunch of their albums with HDCD and I have all of them. I have never listened to them with an HDCD player so I am very interested in hearing the diffence.

Yep, you're right. HDCD decoding weighed very heavily in my decision to purchase a Denon 2910 and then replace that with a 3910. Try to snag a 3910 for around $500 (or a 2910 for around $300), you'll be SOOOOOOO glad you did...

You can also get the latest Oppo. It plays DVD-A, SACD and HDCD.
There are a couple of other alternatives, since HDCD is on the redbook CD layer. You can get an outboard DAC which decodes HDCD and feed the digital output of your player to that device which will in turn feed a separate input on your pre-amp. I have a Marantz SACD/CD player which I run directly to my BAT preamp via analog interconnects. But I also run the digital out to an Assemblage DAC which decodes HDCD. When that HDCD indicator light is on, I switch to the pre-amp input to which the DAC is connected. Considering the quality of the Assemblage, I feel it's a great solution (it may have a better CD DAC section than the Marantz).

In a separate home theater system, my processor decodes HDCD which is also a way to accomplish the same outcome. I run a universal player's digital input and when HDCD is present, it automatically decodes it as part of the DAC process.

There is a thread on Steve Hoffman's forums about this subject. Click here.