Onkyo’s receivers are famed for their lengthy and groundbreaking feature lists, but its Blu-ray decks are more modest affairs – particularly when compared with ‘mass market’ decks from the likes of Panasonic or Sony. But it’s pleasing to find that the BD-SP809 is THX certified, which means it ticks all of their performance boxes – colour, black levels, upscaling quality, artefact suppression and support for all the relevant audio formats.
It’s a slight pity that Onkyo hasn’t transferred the web content from its latest AV receivers to the BD-SP809, such as Spotify, Napster or even internet radio. This would have given owners of non-Onkyo receivers convenient access to these popular music services. As it stands, there’s no web content, not even YouTube, but its DLNA 1.5 certification means you can at least stream content from devices on your home network. Supported formats include MP3, WMA, JPEG, LPCM, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2.
When playing files from USB storage devices you can additionally play DivX HD files, and AVCHD is supported from DVD. It won’t play WAV or AAC though, which means you’ll have to convert to MP3 or WMA if you want to play them.
Under the bonnet the BD-SP809 packs a Marvell QDEO upscaler, but not the version that affords 4K upscaling as found in Onkyo’s AV receivers. This one offers the usual 1080p upscaling and i/p conversion, but with advanced algorithms that tackle artefacts and noise along the way. There’s also a high-precision clock for optimal timing of digital signals, which is important when playing music via HDMI.
Naturally the Onkyo offers all the other Blu-ray basics, such as BD Live support, 1080/24p output, Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio decoding and HDMI CEC compatibility.