Onkyo BD-SP809 review

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

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If you're looking for an old-school Blu-ray player, presumably to partner an old school Onkyo AV receiver with matching THX passport, the Onkyo BD-SP809 is worthy of investigation.

Its video performance is polished, both with HD Blu-rays and standard-definition DVDs, while the sensible provision of an HDMI Sub output for hi-res multichannel audio makes it a good fit for those who don't feel a need to update their much-loved AVR simply because its lacks HDMI 1.4 compatibility.

As a 3D disc spinner, the Onkyo BD-SP809 also gets the thumbs up. Frankly, assessing absolute detail with 3D discs is impossible, because there's not a single 3D TV that doesn't compromise the outpourings of a player to one extent or another.

Suffice to say the deck didn't exhibit any incompatibilities with the 3D fare we threw at it.

We liked:

Solid build and the high-quality Qdeo video processor make this Blu-ray player a perfect match for a top-end flatscreen display or projector. The provision of secondary HDMI output for lossless audio is also good news for owners of pre-HDMI v1.4 AV receivers

We disliked:

Third-rate file support from USB and across a LAN make this deck a non-starter for local and LAN play. Couple this with the lack of an online content portal and you have a player that appears defiantly retro. The user interface is also dull, and the remote zapper is unrepentantly budget

Final verdict:

Despite a good visual performance, the Onkyo BD-SP809 isn't a convincing mid-range audiophile option.

All of this leads us to conclude that this is basically a Blu-ray player created for the Onkyo hardcore. The rest of us will find better equipped models elsewhere.

While we can't knock its picture performance, Onkyo's BD-SP809 is a Blu-ray player that's run out of time. Rival mid-range audiophile options, particularly the Cambridge Azur 651, are a much more inviting prospect. It's only worth considering if you want to complete an all-Onkyo equipment stack.

Also consider

Quite apart from the SACD snub, the Sony BDP-S470, Sony BDP-480, Sony BDP-490 and the new Panasonic DMP-BDT320 can show it a clean pair of heels when it comes to physical discs and audio file replay. And those models outgun the Onkyo BD-SP809 in almost every other department too.