You need to have a pretty compelling proposition if you want to buck the trend of releasing ever cheaper Blu-ray players.

With features now commonly piled high on even the cheapest decks, are claims of AV superiority still a good enough reason to invest - particularly when you can't tempt punters with a smart TV portal?

Onkyo believes so, and submits the BD-SP809 as evidence. This disc spinner costs £499 in the UK and $599 in the US and is the replacement for last year's Onkyo BD-SP808. The most obvious difference between the two models is the newcomer's compatibility with 3D Blu-ray discs.

Onkyo BD-SP809 review

When it comes to digesting the features of a modern Blu-ray deck, that's usually the cue to put the kettle on and unwrap the cookies. These things, after all, are generally jam-packed. Not so with the Onkyo BD-SP809. You'll barely have time to dunk before you're done.

On the plus side, the player is a full-size affair, stretching back a full 313mm. Unlike the half-deck 185mm players now so common from the likes of Sony, Panasonic and others, serious system builders can rack this above and below other full-size AV components.

The Onkyo BD-SP809 also has THX certification. Home cineastes will appreciate this level of quality control.

Onkyo BD-SP809 review

Connectivity is certainly good. In addition to component and phono outputs, there are twin HDMI ports. You can use these to either route to a flatscreen display and a projector, or you can use the secondary HDMI port to carry lossless audio (Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio) to an older AV receiver that isn't compatible with 3D discs.

Other rear-facing connections include optical and coaxial digital outputs, USB and Ethernet, plus an RS232 port and IR repeater mini-jack.

The Onkyo BD-SP809 is available in either a regulation black or a rather fetching silver colour.

Features

While the Onkyo BD-SP809 is widely compatible with the usual array of disc formats, there are some exceptions that users of Blu-ray recorders should be aware of.

It won't recognise BD-R and BD-RE discs recorded in BDAV format, a container for .m2ts files. High resolution audio disc formats are also off the menu, as is DVD-RAM.

The provision of USB - albeit tucked away on the rear rather than more conveniently located on the front - and a DLNA badge, may lead you into thinking that the unit will hunker down with the kids for network shenanigans. But as we saw on the BD-SP808, multimedia file compatibility remains limited.

Onkyo BD-SP809 review

When it comes to USB, there's no support for either MKV or FLAC files, but we did have success with AVI, DivX HD, MP3 and WMA content. Album art is not supported.

Streaming files across a network is even more restrictive. Video support only extends to MPEG 1 and 2 (which for all intents and purposes is literally useless); audio compliancy is the same as from USB.

The Onkyo BD-SP809 lacks any connected IPTV content. The provision of an Ethernet port is to satisfy its BD-Live Profile 2.0 status; nothing more, so that means there's no BBC iPlayer, Netflix or other smart TV content.

With so many BD players now doubling as full-blown hybrid devices, this leaves the Onkyo looking curiously quaint.