The remote’s build quality isn’t up to the same standards as the player. It’s light, plasticky and drab – not one you’ll want to leave out on the coffee table. But more importantly, it’s easy to use thanks to the clear labelling and intuitive button layout, which puts the menu and playback controls under the thumb and clusters the less important keys together at the top.
Onkyo takes a keep-it-simple approach with its onscreen displays. The central Home menu is a basic but effective interface, with four icons floating on a black background. It’s a little sluggish to respond but not intolerable. It provides access to Disc, USB, Home Network and Settings – the Settings menu uses straightforward lists, with the different areas down the left and options on the right. It helpfully provides a brief description of each option at the bottom of the screen.
The deck’s videophile intentions are underlined by a range of image tweaks in the setup menu. Select ‘Picture Control’ and you’re offered five memory presets, allowing you to store different parameters for each one. The adjustments are: contrast, brightness, sharpness, gamma correction, colour, individual red, green and blue levels, hue, noise reduction, MPEG noise reduction, Edge Enhancer, Qdeo True Color and Progressive mode (Auto/Video). We recommend laying off the Edge Enhancer for Blu-ray discs, as it introduces a hard double outline effect to objects.
Network streaming was temperamental during our test. There was a short delay before the BD-SP809 saw our Windows 7 PC on the network but once it popped up in the list we were able to play music reliably. But then we used another function, came back and the deck refused to find the server again. Still, in use the menus are easy to follow, and searching long lists of files is made a little easier by the colour coded page up/down shortcuts.