The HQV Benchmark Blu-ray disc provides further evidence that the Onkyo's video processing is up to scratch, resolving the edges of the rotating bars during the Diagonal Filter test without the steep pronounced jaggies seen on some budget Blu-ray decks - but the edges look even cleaner and less ‘feathery' on the Pioneer BDP-51FD.
As for the Film Resolution Loss test, the Onkyo earns a pass by rendering the scrolling test pattern with minimal (but still visible) flicker on the corner boxes, and it plays the shot of the football stadium with composure and minimal moiré noise on the seats - but once again we've seen it done better by Pioneer and Panasonic players.
The Onkyo's DVD upscaling is terrific though, making our copy of Pitch Black look clean, contrast-rich and highly detailed. The bright, bleached scenes on the alien planet really stand out, with the fine detail on the rocky terrain looking sharp as a box of tacks, while shots onboard the spacecraft look slick.
It displays the same classy picture quality with the HQV Benchmark DVD - those rotating bars have rarely looked smoother while detail (on the colour bars pattern and moving video) looks steady and sharp. It's every bit as good as Onkyo's DV-SP406 DVD deck, which means that your existing standard definition disc collection is still in good hands if you're ditching your old DVD player.
Audio quality is also admirable too, particularly with Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio tracks through a good AV receiver, but it's also a dab hand with CDs and MP3s too. The sound (delivered via the analogue stereo ports) is smooth, well-balanced and delivered with plenty of punch.
The DV-BD606 is by no means a bad Blu-ray player, as its picture quality is terrific, but as with several other players on the market we have to question the lack of BD Live on a relatively expensive player, as well as the lack of proper support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio for people whose receivers don't boast the relevant decoding.
Truth be told, players like the LG BD300, and Panasonic DMP-BD55 feel like much better value for money, and the Onkyo's pictures aren't sufficiently impressive to recommend it over the Pioneer BDP-51FD either. It is, however, marginally preferable to the Denon DVD-1800BD thanks to the addition of an optical digital output and the fact that you can find the Onkyo slightly cheaper online.