Do you dream of Blu-ray players? If the answer is 'yes', then we suspect the Onkyo BD-SP807 might be the player that features in your brain's nocturnal activities. What makes this machine factor in so many happy dreams is that it offers stunning-quality hardware at a wallet-friendly price. The £600 BD-SP807 is intended to best machines that cost twice as much, and we're very pleased to have got our hands on one for testing purposes.
The BD-SP807 has a fairly interesting appearance. Quite a large player, it's roughly the size of early machines from the likes of Panasonic and Sony. In the BD-SP807's case, however, the size, weight and design are all intended to produce the best picture and sound quality possible from Blu-rays, DVDs and even audio CDs. It's not ugly either. It looks quite industrial, but that's kind of cool. The LED display is rather basic, but we're not too bothered about that -- it's not like you have to watch a film on it.
If the machine itself is the stuff of dreams, the remote control comes straight out of a nightmare. Made out of plastic, and about the size of a cod, we can't help but be repulsed by it. We're slightly disappointed that Onkyo hasn't put as much love into its controller as it has with the rest of the machine. It's probably fair to assume that most of the people who will buy this player will have a fancy-pants controller like a Logitech Harmony 1100 but, even so, we're saddened by the cheap plastic and ugly design.
While the BD-SP807 loses some kudos due to its remote control, it makes up for it with its lovely, gold-plated output terminals on the rear. There are sockets for 7.1 analogue audio output, as well as down-mixed stereo sound. Component and composite video jacks are also present, and finished with gold too. As you'd expect, the BD-SP807 sports HDMI and Ethernet jacks, so you can get the most out of your Blu-ray movies.
Onkyo tells us that the player is designed with quality in mind. The disc tray is centrally mounted, which, along with a very rigid chassis, is supposed to keep vibration to a minimum, which, in turn, is meant to help prevent the introduction of video and audio errors during playback. The machine's video-processing chops are provided by Anchor Bay and its Video Reference Series processor. This should mean that you'll get amazing upscaled DVD playback at a 1080p resolution, as well as Blu-ray material in all its native HD glory.
Those interested in Blu-ray load speeds will be disappointed to learn that it took 1 minute and 9 seconds for the BD-SP807 to load our standard test disc and start playback. That's not exactly speedy, but good things do generally come to those who wait.
The BD-SP807 is on sale now. We don't test audio and video performance in early reviews, because we want to spend a decent amount of time with the product first. If you want to know all the details about how this machine performs, keep an eye out for a full review in the coming weeks.