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A few months ago, Onkyo announced plans to introduce a Blu-ray player at the end of 2008, but until then the company has a healthy range of upscaling DVD players to keep us amused. Among them is the DV-SP406, a player that aims to cover all of your entertainment needs at a price that won’t break the bank.
The feature likely to attract the most attention is 1080p upscaling, particularly among those with hi-def TVs and projectors who aren’t ready to make the move to Blu-ray yet. But the rest of the specification is pretty impressive too, particularly when it comes to multimedia playback – the drive supports all the expected disc types (DVD+RW/+R, DVD-RW/-R, CD, CD-R/-RW and Video CDs), but more surprising is its ability to spin DVD-RW discs recorded in the Video Recording (VR) format. The player also supports MP3, WMA, DivX and JPEG files.
Pulling the unit out of the box, our first impressions are mixed. The player is lighter than we expected and plasticky to the touch, while the front display panel is so small that a trip to Specsavers might be in order. But otherwise it’s aesthetically appealing, with clean lines, a smart black finish and very few buttons to clutter up the fascia. If black isn’t your thing then the unit is also available in silver.
We’re pleased to see a USB port on the front panel, which makes it easy to play the media formats listed above – simply plug in a mass storage device containing your files, hit the Return key and find what you want in the well-presented menu screen. Onkyo also equips the rear panel with a useful selection of sockets, including HDMI, component and composite outputs, plus a SCART socket that offers RGB output – but when the component video outputs are activated, the SCART reverts to composite video.
On the audio side, there’s a welcome choice of coaxial and optical digital audio outputs and analogue stereo output. All that’s missing are 5.1-channel analogue outputs, but as there’s no DVD-A or SACD playback, and most AV receivers can decode Dolby Digital and DTS anyway, we can see why Onkyo left them off.
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