Disc loading speeds vary according to the amount of Java content they contain. A bog-standard Blu-ray disc like Hulk took 20 seconds to load, while the trickier Terminator Salvation took 55 seconds, which isn't bad.
The BD-SP308 delivers beautifully crisp high-definition pictures, the sort you can show to your mates and stun them into silence. With the Hulk disc, the abundant detail that Ang Lee packs into every frame is reproduced with wonderful clarity, but that detail is anchored by punchy blacks and wide contrast that allow objects to retain their visibility during dark scenes.
The movie’s comic-book colours are designed to jump from the screen and this deck makes them do just that, but without looking garish or over-egged. You can play about with the picture settings if you want to tone it down a touch, but it’s actually fairly satisfying out of the box. Scenes like Hulk bounding across the desert are stunning, bursting with sharply-rendered geological texture and clean edges. With 24fps mode engaged, the green fella leaps across the screen without any visible judder or tracking issues.
Next up we played the Silicon Optix HQV Blu-ray disc and the BS-SP308 fares well. The Video Resolution Loss test is flawlessly resolved without any strobing or judder and it gets a clean bill of health with both Jaggies test patterns, resolving the white bars without stepping. Some flickering can be seen in the vertically striped boxes of the Film Resolution Loss test pattern, but the pan across Raymond James stadium is smooth and generally noise-free.
One of the biggest differences between Blu-ray players is audio playback given the varying quality of components used, and the Onkyo is no slouch in that department. CDs sound clean and well-balanced, but the deck doesn’t reach the sonic heights of players from the likes of Arcam or Denon.
It lacks 3D and network streaming, but the BD-SP308 makes up for its dearth of appetising features with excellent picture performance. It’s also very easy to use and makes a good CD player. So if you’re looking for a basic player at a decent price then it’s worth considering, but remember you can get a lot more for your money from the likes of Panasonic, Philips and Samsung.