Although we’re used to seeing the THX logo emblazoned on the front of AV receivers and speaker systems, its appearance on a Blu-ray player is a lot more unusual. In fact, as far as we’re aware Onkyo’s BD-SP807 is the first THX-certified Blu-ray deck to be launched in the UK, a fact that will no doubt earn it the attention of any home cinema enthusiast looking for the best possible performance.
The badge means that the player has been rigorously tested by THX and satisfies its exacting standards in a number of areas – for video they check that the deck offers clean de-interlacing and upscaling as well as accurate colour, contrast and black/white reproduction, while on the audio side they check every compatible format to ensure that the signal is passed to a receiver without any degradation.
But there’s much more to this deck than a THX badge. By Onkyo’s admission, the focus is firmly on build quality and that’s clear as soon as you first haul it from the box. Compared with your average budget player, the BD-SP807 is an absolute tank – it stands 108mm high and weighs a hefty 5kg due to the reinforced chassis construction designed to minimise vibrations.
But despite its size the Onkyo is a beautiful-looking player, boasting the restrained elegance you expect from players in this price range. The brushed black aluminium front panel gently curves forward at the bottom, while the inclusion of just a few buttons maintains the minimal aesthetic. The display panel is large and legible and can be dimmed if necessary, although the bright blue light to the left is much more distracting.
Like previous Onkyo decks, the Profile 2.0 BD-SP807 sports an SD card slot instead of a more useful USB port. The slot’s purpose is twofold – to let you play AVCHD, MP3 and JPEG files, and to store BD Live and Virtual Package data. Without a card in the slot (which must be at least 1GB) the deck won’t let you access BD Live at all. It’s a pity that Onkyo didn’t integrate this memory into the player, particularly at this price.