Blu-ray Players

Onkyo DV-BD507 Blu-ray Player

ARTICLE INDEX

Features

The DV-BD507 definitely included many firsts for me in terms of Blu-ray disc playback. My normal (and only) Blu-ray player up until this review had been my trusty, first-gen PS3. While it has been an awesome player that has gotten even better with upgrades, there are still a few things about it that could make a good standalone Blu-ray player worth taking up extra inputs on my A/V Receiver. First and perhaps, foremost, the Onkyo was very quiet while in use; something that has plagued the PS3 and really kept it from being a serious home theater piece (unless all of the equipment is sealed away in a gear closet or something). For the first time I was able to watch an entire Blu-ray disc without once having to hear the whine of a fan. I am quite sensitive to such things, and it was a very welcome change. During the presentation, there was virtually no mechanical noise from the unit, although I could hear a small amount when first loading the disc.

Speaking of loading, one area that could use improvement was the time it took to load a Blu-ray disc. In firing up The Dark Knight, I timed it to take 35 seconds just to get from closing the tray to the FBI warning, and another 18 seconds more to see the first actual video (and that was the Warner Brothers splash screen, not the actual film). It’s amazing that it still takes this much time to load a disc. Making it even worse, The Dark Knight is one of those titles that does not allow for resuming the film at the same point after actually stopping the movie, so accidentally stopping the film can be a time consuming mistake.

One of the most exciting moments of all was actually being able to see the DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD lights lit up on my receiver for the first time. Early on in the high resolution audio format game, there were no players that would output these formats via bitstream, even though there were several audio video receivers that would accept such input. While I can’t complain, or even really say with certainty that having the formats decoded in the receiver sounds any better than having them decoded in the player and sent to the receiver via LPCM, it was a notable moment for me as a home theater enthusiast. It allowed me to revisit the feeling I had when I fired up my Sony DVP-S7000 with my Yamaha RX-V992 receiver to hear Dolby Digital for the first time in all of its glory while seeing that wonderful logo appear on the amber display.

The DV-BD507 is a profile 2.0 player complete with all of the specs required thereof. I thought I would test this with the BD-Live menu in The Dark Knight. When it would not launch properly, I at first worried that my network connection was not working. After verifying that it was indeed connected with an IP address, it was time to consult the manual. I found there that this player requires an SD card to access BD-Live content, with a recommendation that the card be at least 1GB in capacity. Once I inserted an SD card, the BD-Live content became accessible. Again, the time it takes to actually get to the BD-Live menu once you select it from the pop-up menu is considerable. My general problem with BD-Live, and not just on this player, is that the interface and content that you find there equates to what one might have seen on the Internet several years ago. In fact, you can find better content that is more dynamic, easier and faster to access, and offers an overall better experience than what you can in most BD-Live menus. The exception here is the live viewing events in which a director, actor, or some other person (or persons) contribute interesting anecdotal material while the movie is playing in a Q&A format.

The last feature included that is somewhat non-standard is the ability to play AVCHD and AVCHD-lite video files from the SD card slot. Now this may not be a hugely popular feature for everyone, but as I own a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3K digital camera that is capable of shooting 720p video in AVCHD-Lite format, it did pique my interest. I loaded up the card from my camera and checked it out. The experience is about as bare-bones as it gets, offering only the ability to skip forward and back through the available files. There is no menu that allows you to select a clip directly. However, the video played extremely smoothly and the audio sounded excellent. My PS3 also has the capability of playing these files, so this feature wasn’t a huge eye-opener for me. Still, I definitely appreciate the ability to quickly and easily view my home videos without the hassle of cable connections, video conversion on my computer, or other such steps that take time and make me less inclined to view this content. At the end of the day, the ease is the best thing this feature has going for itself.

Remote Control

The included remote control unit is fairly basic. The remote cannot control any other equipment. It offers no backlighting or glow-in-the-dark keys, however, I appreciated that the key layout and differing sizes of the keys themselves made for rather easy usage in the dark. For example, the play and stop buttons are centered in the lower third of the remote, wider, and set apart from any buttons above or below making them easily recognizable by touch. For me, the remote for a source component is less important than for a central control unit, such as an A/V receiver because most people would use that component’s remote or a dedicated universal remote control anyway. In my case, after testing out the included remote, I quickly programmed my Logitech Harmony One to control the DV-BD507 as my Blu-ray player, and that was that.