Onkyo DR-815 review

A good second room option or ‘kid’s bedroom entertainment’ Tested at £275.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

For occasional movie-watching in a second room (or better still, for entertaining the kids), this Onkyo’s hard to beat at the price


  • +

    Fine movie pictures and sound from a compact box

  • +

    well made and simple to use


  • -

    Music can sound a touch hard

  • -

    remote is wider than a man’s palm

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Not every home cinema system has to feature five speakers and a big old subwoofer – just as well, if you're just looking to get some DVD pictures and sound out of a smaller screen is a second room. For instance, this Onkyo DR-815 fits the ‘kid's bedroom entertainment' criteria nicely.

It's a compact, tidily finished DVD player with two channels of amplification, AM/FM radio and SACD/DVD-A ability too. Of course, it has a preout for a subwoofer (if you must) and preouts for centre and rear channels (if you absolutely must). Composite, S-Video and Scart are your video output choices; attach a couple of speakers and you're ready to go.

Impressive smooth stability with Onkyo
Delivering pictures via the RGB Scart output, the Onkyo impresses with its smooth stability. Motion is tracked securely, edges are even and composed, and there're no alarms even during the most violent panning shots.

The colour palette the '815 draws from is extensive and realistic, and it balances brightness and contrasts well. Picture noise is at a minimum, certainly on the size of screen this player is likely to partner. Only some minor loss of detail during dark or complex scenes stops the Onkyo impressing right across the board.

Movie sound (in stereo, naturally), is spacious and well balanced, and the DR-815 makes a decent fist of reproducing music too. You'd never confuse its sound with that of its Award-winning CS-515 audio-only sibling – there's a tendency to sharpen treble sounds a little – but it's an enjoyable and entertaining listen nonetheless.

Factor in a comprehensive (and weirdly wide) remote control and substantial build, and you've an alluring second room solution.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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