As mentioned, the BD-SP308 is a Profile 2.0 player so you can access BD Live downloads and other content from the internet when it’s hooked up to your router. It can also output Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio from the HDMI output for your receiver to decode – if it can’t, then the player can also decode the formats into multichannel PCM before outputting them.
The deck’s digital media format support is pretty good. It plays DivX HD, MP3, WMA, JPEG, PNG and MPEG-1/2/4 from USB sticks, as well as AVCHD from DVDs, though MKV files aren’t supported. There’s no network streaming so CD, DVD and USB devices are your only means of playing digital media.
Delve into the setup menu and you’ll find all the crucial settings, such as HDMI output resolution (from 1080p down to 576i), 24Hz display mode for compatible TVs, aspect ratio and audio output settings – these include PCM stereo and DTS Re-Encode settings, as well as the Primary Pass-Thru (bitstream) and multichannel PCM.
The onscreen menus are attractively presented, with a design that’s identical to LG’s Blu-ray players from a few years back. The Home menu, for example, uses a brushed metallic background effect with just four icons set into it – Movie, Photo, Music and Setup – making it easy to find content on USB sticks or discs. The setup menu is a straightforward box, with submenus down the left and options on the right, which works smoothly.
And when you hit the Display button during playback, an eye-catching menu appears offering details about the disc being played, as well as a range of picture presets (Vivid, Movie, Standard) and a User setting that lets you alter contrast, colour, brightness, noise reduction and sharpness.
We didn’t have any major issues with the remote control. The multi-directional keypad is perfectly placed for the thumb, with Enter bang in the middle and Home, Return, Menu and Top Menu surrounding it within easy reach. Helpfully, the playback keys are a different colour than the rest, and if you’re pairing the deck with an Onkyo amp then the dedicated input and volume controls will come in handy. Many of the buttons towards the top and bottom are too small though.
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