Onkyo BD-SP809 review

Top selling AV receiver brand Onkyo puts the case for feature-light Blu-ray players

Onkyo BD-SP809
The Onkyo BD-SP809 is a full-width, full depth Blu-ray player available in black or silver - we approve!

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Onkyo BD-SP809 review

The Onkyo BD-SP809 is unlikely to win any awards for its user interface. The GUI is rudimentary stuff, with a couple of blobby graphics and some text. Graphical verve it has not, but at least you won't get lost when navigating it. Simple text menus are provided to configure the player.

The remote control seems similarly antiquated, being both insubstantial and peppered with buttons.

The only way left for the Onkyo BD-SP809 to earn its keep is with audio visual performance. The portents are good. The chassis has been crafted along classical lines. There's an anti-resonance top plate, as well as separate blocks for audio and video circuitry.

Onkyo BD-SP809 review

The highly rated Marvell Qdeo video processor ensures all HD images are worthy of a West End premiere. 3D per-pixel motion-adaptive video noise reduction significantly reduces fizz and digital grain, while Qdeo's content adaptive Compression Artefact Reduction deals withmosquito noise.

The Onkyo BD-SP809 does a generally terrific job of cleaning up vintage Blu-ray titles, such as Goldfinger, that sometimes exhibit a fair amount of ingrained noise.

The Blu-ray player also offers quite a contrast pop. Shadow detail, sometimes lost on lesser players, gets a visible boost, and textures from stonework to fabrics have well-defined edges. Colour fidelity is also excellent, with no unwanted banding.

Onkyo BD-SP809 review

The Onkyo BD-SP809's DVD upscaling talents are considerable. If you have a large collection of SD discs, this deck will dense them up to 1080p in convincing fashion.

The price you pay for this clarity, though, is painfully slow loading speeds. Goldfinger takes a turgid one minute 15 seconds to load. Mainstream models from other brands can do the same disc in 50 seconds.

The difference may not seem much on paper, but it's a lifetime when you've run out of cookies. Even Java-lite Blu-rays take a yawn-tastic 45 seconds to reach their menus.

As a CD player, the Onkyo BD-SP809 does a decent - rather than outstanding - job. It has a clinically detailed presentation via the optical audio output, which is rather agreeable

Steve May
Home entertainment AV specialist

Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.