Onkyo BD-SP809 Blu-ray deck - for performance over price
You can get a Blu-ray player with a packet of cornflakes these days, figuratively speaking. The decks are so cheap that, for most, the very concept of a BD spinner costing £500 (a monkey, in cockney rhyming slang) is pure insanity.
However, in the world of home cinema, you tend to get what you pay for. And with cheap and cheerful Blu-ray players, that generally means that you'll get the ability to play high-def movie content, but at the detriment to performance.
Therefore, Onkyo still believes that there's enough of us out there who favour video and audio quality over our bank balances, and as such has crafted the BD-SP809, with a street price of £499.99.
It's a mighty metal beast that weighs over 6kg, comes in silver or black and boasts no less than THX certification.
Like many spinners on the market, it sports 1080p upscaling for conventional DVDs, but as it uses onboard Qdeo processing technology from Marvell, cunning shenanigans ensure that image upconversion, noise reduction and interlacing render images to videophile standards.
The BD-SP809 also houses two HDMI outputs, allowing for both a TV and home cinema projector to be served.
It's a universal player, so formats recognised include all types of Blu-ray, DVD and CD, plus it can play back DivX HD, MP3 and WMA files, among others. And, as well as DLNA 1.5 certification, which allows the streaming of video, picture and audio files across a home network, a USB port can be hooked up to a media-bulging memory stick.
DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD lossless audio formats are supported, and it incorporates separate blocks for video/audio circuitry to ensure a clean, unhindered performance on both counts. There's also gold-plated analogue audio outputs on the rear and a vibration-reducing top cover for good measure.
Naturally, Onkyo would have you pair the BD-SP809 with its TX-NR809 receiver for best results, although it works more than capably with any home cinema set-up.