Onkyo THX Certified BD-SP808 Blu-ray Player First Look
- Product Name: BD-SP808
- Manufacturer: Onkyo USA
- Review Date: September 02, 2010 05:05
- MSRP: $599
- First Impression: Mildly Interesting
- Profile 2.0
- THX Certified
- DLNA 1.5 Certified
- Blockbuster Video On Demand
- Marvel Qdeo video scaler
- SD card slot
- HDMI Source Direct mode - Player can output the video signal in its native resolution for optional external processing
Onkyo has been on a little bit of a THX kick lately. First it was the new PR-SC5508 pre/pro, then it was the PA-MC5500 9 channel amp, and now it's the BD-SP808. All of these components have THX certification and are brand new from the electronics giant. What does this mean for you the end consumer? Well, in the case of a Blu-ray player, it, apparently means that the player will "present accurate color, contrast, and black/white levels without softening the picture or producing digital artifacts" over HDMI. They don't really test the analogue outputs as per their own admission. This actually works in the BD-SP808's favor.
Onkyo already has a THX Certified Blu-ray player in the BD-SP807. The BD-SP808 shares more than a few qualities with its predecessor. They both have THX Certification, are Profile 2.0 with all the BD-Live features that entails (such as picture-in-picture and web-sourced firmware updates), have an SD card slot, and have an HDMI Source Direct mode allowing the player to output the video signal in its native resolution for optional external processing. The back panels also look remarkably similar except for the removal on the BD-SP808 of the 7.1 channel analogue outputs. Since THX doesn't really test these anyhow, perhaps that doesn't matter. For those with legacy receivers (or just want to use all those RCA cables they have lying around), this is an issue.
In addition, the BD-SP808 includes remote in and out 3.5mm jacks and an RS-232 port for installer use. While most users won't need these ports, for custom installers, they are a must. The single digital audio optical and coaxial outputs, the component and composite video, the analogue stereo audio, the HDMI, and the Ethernet ports are not only on both units, but they are in the exact same locations.
The Onkyo BD-SP808 is DNLA 1.5 Certified which means that it will fairly effortless interface with and stream content from your home network. While the previous version of the player included the NSV video scaler, the BD-SP808 has the premium Marvel Qdeo chipset. Lastly, the BD-SP808 adds support for Blockbuster Video on Demand. This gives the user free access to pay for a selection of videos from Blockbuster's service without having to pay a subscription fee.
The big difference, of course, is the price. While the BD-SP807 was $799, the new BD-SP808 is a cool $200 less. This seems like a lot of scratch for essentially losing the 7.1 analogue outputs. Add to that you're gaining Blockbuster and installer friendly ports and you can see how these will make their way into more than a few homes. We have to believe because they haven't announced anything about 3D or HDMI 1.4 outputs that the BD-SP808 will still sport HDMI 1.3a limiting its long-term appeal. We also wonder why Netflix wasn't included as Onkyo has a Blu-ray model with this feature. Perhaps Blockbuster and Netflix in the same box cancel each other other like matter and anti-matter in an explosion so violent it could rip the universe asunder and usher in the return of Chuthulu and the Old Ones? But that's just a theory.
It's hard to talk about any Blu-ray player without comparing it to the unofficial THX Oppo BDP-83 (not to mention the even cheaper $399 Denon DBP-1611UD). The Oppo has everything this player does except for the official THX Certification and Blockbuster VoD. Add to that the 7.1 channel analogue outputs, dual USB ports, SACD and DVD-A playback, and Anchor Bay processing and you're left wondering why anyone would choose the Onkyo. Umm... they've never heard of Oppo (though that doesn't explain the Denon thing)? Anyhow, as long as you have a late model receiver with HDMI, the Onkyo should serve you just fine. Since Netflix comes on just about everything else these days, it probably won't be missed. Just try to find the BD-SP808 on sale and never look on the Internet to see what you should have bought.
For more information, please visit www.us.onkyo.com.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/thewest/Blockbuster+plans+bankruptcy+September+media+reports/3451092/story.html#ixzz0yNsUQJ7i [vancouversun.com]
Wonder if the Blockbuster planned bankruptcy will change anything with their video on demand service????