Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 6th, 2010
Last year it was my pronounced pleasure to receive and review Oppo’s first entry into the Blu-ray player market. The company was already known for quality DVD, particularly Upconvert DVD, players. The BDP-83 was everything I expected from the company, and much more. But there was one possible trouble with that unit. It was not intended to be an entry level machine, so that cost was a bit prohibitive for many of you thinking about getting your first Blu-ray player. It carried a hefty price tag, but was well worth the cost.
Finally, Oppo has delivered a moderately priced unit that does pretty much everything the 83 did. In fact, in many ways the machine is superior. The good news is that you won’t have to break the bank to pick this baby up. At just under $300 you get a high-end unit without paying the high-end price. This baby supports all of the latest so called “next gen” codecs. It’s a fully compliant 2.0 player as well as using HDMI 1.3 technology. It comes completely ready to handle BD-Live and BonusView content. You even get a solid 1GB of flash memory to make downloading and playing that content easier and much faster than most players on the market today. That’s a ton of memory for a standalone player. Read on, and you’ll find out why Oppo has become my unit of choice when delivering the latest high definition content reviews to you here at Upcomingdiscs.
Even if the machine can’t anticipate what might be next on the Blu-ray front, it comes completely prepared to deal with all of those unforeseen goodies. Firmware updates are a snap. The unit can be quickly connected to a network cable and access updates on its own from the net. If you don’t have available access where your machine is, you can download the updates to your PC and install them from one of the two USB connectors. Updates are easy and take very little time to complete.
The specs will be listed at the end of the review.
The unit is protected by pressure-formed solid foam. Forget that silly tissue plastic that usually covers a unit in the box. This baby comes nestled inside a canvas bag. Of course, it’s also a great advertising idea. You’ll have the handy bag to tote stuff around later. Inside you get a remote + batteries, RCA connecting cables and a solid HDMI cable.
The manual is pretty simple and straightforward. There aren’t 20 different languages to sift through either. I’m sure that it is available in whatever language you require, but I love that it comes in one handy English language version. It’s thicker than most, but don’t be intimidated by that. All it means is that you’re going to get easy step-by-step instructions for all of the many features this unit contains. Take the time to check it out, and it will put your mind at ease.
The remote is basically the same design as the 83 except that it is lighter and takes AAA batteries instead of AA. You get a forgiving angle of operation. The buttons are all arranged logically and are a good size. Again, I’m getting sick of remotes with buttons so small I can’t press just one at a time, let alone read them. This is a good old school remote with new school reliability
In spite of the fact that this baby comes fully loaded with pretty much every option you could want in a Blu-ray player, setup is remains remarkably easy through the very simple on screen menu. When you first power the machine up, you’ll be guided through several very easy setup commands. Everything here is intuitive and quite easy, yet it is very thorough. Some of the better options include the ability to select an auto screen aspect ratio. I like having the pillars on my 4:3 images. I hate having to distort the image. Some Blu-ray and upconvert machines do not allow you to have this option. You can choose to have the Oppo decode your audio codecs, or you can bitstream it directly to your receiver and let that handle the decoding.
The Oppo continues to carry onboard superior image adjustments. It has as many fine tuning options as most monitors. You can play with brightness, color, black levels, sharpness, noise reduction, and edge enhancement. I would rather keep things close to neutral on my unit and let the monitor handle the fine adjustments. It’s nice to have the option, however. There are speaker calibration options that help you to maximize your own theater’s construct to make the unit work better customized to your environment.
You get all of the standard resolutions. The machine allows you to reproduce the 24 frames per second at which most film is shot. It helps to eliminate some of the pull down effects and those nasty jitters you can get on some displays. My monitor has a 120hz option that also helps to eliminate many of those issues because it is divisible by 24, while standard 60hz is not. The tool only works if your monitor can support it. You can test that through setup. You always have the Source Direct Mode, which allows you to get the signal without any kind of extra processing from the unit, for you purists out there. In reviews I use this a lot so that I can be sure I am seeing an accurate representation of the release specs.
In The Rack
Dimensions: 16-7/8 x 11 x 2-1/8 inches, Weight 7.7 Pounds.
The display is a rather large one. I like larger displays, but you have the option to either dim or eliminate it. Like the BD-83 before it, this baby runs silent and runs deep. I’ve tried listening for the fans on the unit, but they are quite hard to detect. You would think that the guys at Oppo might be sacrificing cooling for silence. You couldn’t be more wrong. This unit runs as cool as any I’ve ever encountered. I have it stacked pretty much top and bottom. I also run this thing several hours at a time, and I have no trouble with heat. If you know anything at all about electronics, you know how much of an enemy heat is. Nothing will shorten the life of your unit more than heat will. I’ve run this thing 12 straight hours with no trouble at all.
The unit is thinner than the 83, and that’s an advantage. I still wouldn’t call this a sleek machine, but it won’t take up any unnecessary space on your rack. The front is black and has a modern looking interface.
This is what you really want to know. How does it handle the goodies? I’m happy to report it handles almost every format you can throw at it. Supported disc types: BD-Video, DVD-Video, AVCHD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD+-R/RW, DVD+-R DL, BD-R/RE. I’m particularly impressed that it handles SACD. The high end music format never completely took off here in the United States, but it is alive and well in Europe. I have some SACD material and have been struggling to find a player that can handle the format. It’s been almost completely abandoned for years. If you’re looking for an SACD player, this is your unit.
You also get a pretty self-contained entertainment center with this unit. It plays MP3, AVI, JPG, DivX, and MKV. It sorts them in an easy to navigate menu system that groups them by type of file; i.e., movie, music, or photo. You can load these media files from either a disc or a flash drive connected through the USB ports.
You can also look for even better loading times with this unit. This is the fastest-loading player on the market today. For some of you that might not be so much of a problem. Consider having to review a Blu-ray disc. You watch the movie, but there is so much more to see. You have to check out the extras and commentary tracks. That means often multiple viewings. Nothing makes that worse than the aggravation of waiting for a disc to load. Believe it or not, I loaded three discs with an average 6 seconds faster loading time over my PS3. If you think that’s insignificant, you haven’t been watching enough movies.
What about the actual video performance? In a word, it’s excellent. The unit has a very dynamic range of chroma and luma detail. It can handle frequencies far below the deepest black and well above the whitest whites. You get all the image detail you expect from a high definition player. The image runs smooth and doesn’t appear to stutter as I’ve encountered from my PS3. Of course, your monitor will be responsible for a lot of the kind of image that you actually experience, but I can assure you that if there are any limitations, they won’t be coming from the Oppo. This machine will deliver exactly what the disc masters want you to see in its purest form possible.
Blu-ray is all about high definition. High definition is all about sharpness, detail, and an almost infinite number of colors. I dare you to find a machine that delivers more quality. Oppo defines high definition with each new unit they produce.
I’m not so happy with the search forward or backward. It tends to be jumpy. This is one area that I do find the PS3 to be superior. I wish the unit had a smoother search function. Some discs work better than others. It’s also easier at about 1 or 2 in the 5 point scale.
The audio is no less impressive. I’ve delivered everything through my HDMI to my receiver. If you don’t have that luxury, the unit features 7.1 analog outputs to output the separate channels directly. I haven’t really tested this feature, because I prefer the HDMI digital signal, but I suspect it will be adequate if that’s the only option you have. I tried all of the various codecs I have in my collection, and it handles them all without a hiccup.
The on-screen display will give you the standard information. You get the audio and video codecs. You get the video bit rate. I do rather like that the PS3 offers the audio codec as well. I do look at that for my reviews from time to time. I’m hopeful it might be offered in a future firmware update. You have the option of displaying time as remaining or current. I like to keep it on remaining.
There is another downside here. I wish that the internet connection were WiFi compatible. You can only use the connectability with an ethernet connector.
When I heard that Oppo was delivering their second Blu-ray player and that it would carry a more modest price tag, I knew that I was about to test the true performance of the Oppo model. Could they deliver the same solid performance and reliability in a less expensive package? The answer, for me, is a resounding yes. There is no reason not to pick this unit up. You won’t be “settling” at all. I’m not sure any of the features from the first that are of importance to me are missing here. Now that I’ve had the other unit for as long as I have, I can honestly report that the reliability I talk about so much here has continued to impress me. I can’t tell you how much work I put a player through here. We’re talking about 40-60 hours of running time a week. And both units are holding up like champs. You can believe that whatever Oppo delivers down the line, I’m going to be first in line to put one in my own theater. You just can’t do any better yourself.
Look. Bottom line. I get asked all of the time by friends and their friends about what kind of equipment they should buy. Often my recommendation depends on what they might be looking for in their equipment. I want to know how they’re going to use it. That’s not true with Oppo. I’m telling you what I tell anyone who asks me. This is the Blu-ray player for you no matter what you’re looking for. It does everything and it does it well. You may not know me. But I can promise you one thing. If I steer these guys wrong, I’m gonna hear it.
These guys didn’t seek me out. I sought them out. I’ve wanted to have one of these units from the day I first heard the announcement. So do you.
Here are the specs:
Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.
|Disc Types*||BD-Video, DVD-Video, AVCHD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD
CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE
|BD Profile||BD-ROM Version 2 Profile 2 (also compatible with Profile 1 Version 1.0 and 1.1)|
|Internal Storage||1GB (Actual available storage varies due to system usage)|
|Output||Analog Audio: 7.1ch (also supports 5.1ch and stereo modes)
Digital Audio: Coaxial, Optical
HDMI Audio: Stereo, up to 7.1ch high-resolution PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream output or decoded into LPCM.
Analog Video: Composite, S-Video, Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr, 480i/480p, 720p/1080i available for non-restricted content only)
Digital Video: HDMI with HDCP (NTSC: 480i/480p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24, PAL 576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24)
|Video Characteristics||Composite Video Amplitude: 1.0Vp-p (75Ω)
Component Video: Y: 1.0Vp-p (75Ω), Pb/Pr: 0.7Vp-p (75Ω)
|Audio Characteristics**||Frequency: 20Hz – 20kHz (±0.3dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >115dB (A-weighted)
THD+N: < 0.008% (1kHz at 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF)
|General Specification||Power Supply: ~ 100V – 240V, 50/60Hz AC
Power Consumption: 30W (< 1W Standby)
Dimensions: 430mm x 281mm x 53mm, 16-7/8 x 11 x 2-1/8 inches
Mass: 3.5kg / 7.7 lbs
|Operating Temperature||5°C – 35°C
41°F – 95°F
|Operating Humidity||15% – 75%
* Compatibility with user-encoded contents or user-created discs is on a best-effort basis with no guarantee due to the variation of media, software and techniques used.
You can check out Oppo Digital and their products here: Oppo Digital