Before getting our hands on Onkyo’s brand new Blu-ray deck, the BD-SP309, we thought we’d take a look at its predecessor, which is still readily available online and could provide you with a bargain if your Blu-ray budget is tight and you can’t stretch to its more expensive replacement. As Onkyo’s ‘most affordable’ Blu-ray player when it launched, the BD-SP308 always fell into the budget camp, but now we found it for around £150, which puts it in the same ball park as players like the Philips BDP7600, Toshiba BDX3200 and Panasonic DMP-BDT110.
With no DLNA networking, 3D support or access to web content, the BD-SP308 is cut from a different cloth to its bigger-name rivals above, but Onkyo’s players have always been about delivering good, solid home cinema pictures and sound and that’s what this deck is all about, with a couple of tasty features thrown into the mix.
Looks wise, the BD-SP308 is a class act. Available in black or silver, the deck measures a slinky 53mm high and has a flat and relatively uncluttered fascia, with a few buttons for up-close playback control. Apart from the plasticky fascia plate, build quality is decent thanks to the robust aluminium casing.
On the front you’ll find a USB port for multimedia playback from flash drives up to 16GB. You’ll also need to keep a USB device connected if you plan to download BD Live content, as there’s no built-in memory for that purpose. On the back, connectivity is pretty much what you expect from an entry-level player. An HDMI v1.3 output pipes hi-def pictures to your TV and HD audio bitstreams to your amp, while the component outputs provide a high-quality back-up for non-HDMI TVs and projectors. Analogue stereo and coaxial digital audio outputs offer alternative means of hooking the deck up to your AV amp, while the Ethernet port is the only way to hook up the player to your home network for BD Live downloads – there’s no Wi-Fi support here.