On the back, you’ll find a decent array of sockets, the highlight being a set of 7.1-channel analogue outputs. You might argue that the type of person who invests in a player like this would already have an HDMI-equipped amp, which renders these outputs redundant, but there will always be people who prefer to keep signals in the analogue domain no matter how advanced their amp is. You also get a separate set of stereo audio outputs, plus optical and coaxial digital outputs that carry Dolby Digital and DTS bit-streams.
Of course, the HDMI v1.3a output will do most of the donkey work, such as piping HD audio bitstreams to your receiver or passing on 1080p/24Hz pictures to your TV (or 1080p/60Hz if it doesn’t support 24Hz). In the setup menu you can select which HDMI resolution you need, or the Source Direct mode will output whatever’s on the disc. Completing the socket line-up are component and composite video outputs and an Ethernet port for hooking up to the internet.
As you may have guessed, there’s no support for anything as fancy as Wi-Fi or PC media streaming, which is a pity as home cinema enthusiasts are likely to want these features as much as anyone else.
Elsewhere the deck offers DivX HD playback from recordable Blu-ray, DVD or CD discs (as well as MP3 and JPEG), while onboard DVD upscaling comes courtesy of the Anchor Bay ABT1030 chip. There’s also a 297MHz/12-bit NSV digital-to-analogue converter (ADV7340) and 192kHz/24-bit audio DACs for all channels.
The Onkyo’s onscreen design is basic but functional. There’s a generic blue splash-screen and a setup menu reminiscent of the one found on Denon and Marantz players. It’s easy on the eye and sensibly laid out, plus its responsiveness makes it a pleasure to navigate.
The setup menu is split into Quick and Custom menus, and the latter covers a detailed range of options – including speaker management for the analogue outputs, where you can set the level, delay and speaker size for each channel.
It includes all of the other basic AV settings you’d expect to find, but to make picture adjustments you have to wait until the film is playing. Hit the mode button on the remote and a banner at the top of the screen provides four memory presets, and for each one you can set the levels of colour, contrast, brightness, sharpness and gamma correction.
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