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I'm trying to determine if my rear speakers are, using Denon's jargon, 'surround (side) speakers' or 'rear surround speakers.'

I believe you will find those are "rear surround". The side surround is what takes 5.1 to 7.1. If you don't want to worry about getting a whole new set of speakers I would just skip the side surround for now. It is my understanding that very little is produced in 7.1 anyway (yet).

No idea why a different DVD gave you rear sound where another didn't, unless the bit you previewed didn't have any rear activity. Dunno.

You might ask the salesman that sold it to you. If he's good he'll help. If not, make some comment like "maybe I should return it". He won't want you to do that and may be more forthcoming. Most that I have encountered would want to help out, though. Have some specific questions and he should be able to show you.

Good luck and enjoy the new toy.

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