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You can now get a Blu-ray player for just £100 or so. You may wonder, then, why anyone would pay around £600 for the Onkyo BD-SP807. The answer, according to Onkyo, lies in the quality of its machine. The company tells us that this player does as good a job with both audio and video as it's possible to do. Onkyo also points out, quite rightly, that other companies charge a good deal more for their high-end players. Onkyo, you see, offers high-end equipment at mid-range prices, and we've most definitely been fans of its AV equipment in the past.
Huge hunk of class
Call us sceptical but, when we see a piece of premium AV gear that's rather, well, chunky, we sometimes wonder if it's all for show. After all, if you buy something big and heavy, you feel like you're getting more for your money.
Despite that reservation, though, Onkyo's made some sensible design decisions with the BD-SP807. For example, mounting the Blu-ray drive in the middle of the machine is supposed to help ward off vibrations, which should prevent any unwanted distortion creeping into your digital signal. While we've not exactly had loads of issues with signal noise in Blu-ray players in the past, we do have to say that the BD-SP807 is exceptionally well built.
We love its appearance too, despite its size. The funky disc tray has a cool shape to it, and the player looks classy. Does any of this really matter? No. But, if you're paying £600 for a piece of kit, you want it to have visual impact, and the BD-SP807 certainly does.
If you want to use Blu-ray's interactive features, you need some storage space to hold files in. Some players have built-in storage, and some, like the BD-SP807, have a cheeky SD-card slot, into which you have to place your own SD card if you want to use features.
We can forgive this on a £100 player. On a £600 player, though, it makes us very cross indeed. Still, BD-Live remains a waste of time, effort and money, and you can safely ignore it.
No speed freak
The BD-SP807 managed to load our test disc, Vantage Point, in 1 minute and 9 seconds. We consider anything below 40 seconds to be fast, and anything over a minute to be slow, so the BD-SP807 doesn't earn our respect from a load-times perspective.
If speed is important to you, this might be a deal-breaker. Once a disc is loaded, however, all the menus work in a speedy and slick manner.