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  • Oppo Opens Up Your 3D Blu Horizons

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 23rd, 2013

    Overall
    (out of 5)

    Anyone who reads these pages on a regular basis knows that I’m a huge fan of the Oppo line of 3D players. All of the reviews you read that are written by me have been viewed on an Oppo player. They have been our official Blu-ray machines for a few years now. I also want to reiterate that Oppo does not pay me to say that or to publish reviews of their products. They are not advertisers here, and we’ve never gotten a single dime from them. But if you’re as serious about your audio and video quality as I am, and you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t, you owe it to yourself to check out the latest in Oppo players. I’m talking about the Oppo BDP-103. It’s fully 3D capable and runs all of the current audio and video codecs.

    We write often about the audio and video quality of Blu-ray releases in our reviews. It’s important to know just what kind of quality to expect out of a new release. Still, any videophile knows that these specs are only as good as the equipment that you’re using. That includes the monitor, receiver/amp and, of course, the player itself. There are a ton of cheap Blu-ray players out there. Some even run 3D, and most now handle all of your BD Live needs. So why not just go out there and pick one up from a big box store and be done with it? Because the insides are not all equal. Let’s take a look at the Oppo BDP-103 and see if it’s worth the upgrade to your system it will most certainly provide.

    Packaging

    They say first impressions can be everything. I don’t necessarily buy into that philosophy, but Oppo Digital wants you to feel like you’ve entered the high end world right from the jump. Instead of cheap styro, 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. The accessories come in a solid hard shell box. Inside you get: a remote + batteries, a solid HDMI cable, and a wi-fi adapter with extender 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.

    Make no mistake. This is a higher-end unit. The list price might seem hefty at first, but it’s a very good deal once you actually see what you’re getting. If cost is the only thing you’re looking for, there are plenty of models out there to choose from. But if actual value is more your speed, this unit demands serious consideration.

    Remote Control

    The remote is sturdy and feels solid in your hands. I’m getting a little tired of these fragile razor-thin remotes that are intended to appear sleek and trendy, but don’t hold up worth crap. You get a pretty forgiving angle of operation. The buttons are all arranged logically and are a good size. This is a good old-school remote with new school reliability. The remote has a light function that allows you to operate it in the darkness of your home theater with ease. I even like the fact that it has a concave emitter in the front so that you can easily feel where the front of the remote is. I won’t tell you how many times I ended up pointing other remotes in the wrong direction.

    Setup

    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 made remarkably easy through their very simple on-screen menu. The set-up and manual make it very easy to navigate through any custom settings you’d like to make.  Everything here is intuitive and quite easy. Yet it is very thorough. Sure enough, it recognized my monitor as capable of 1080p and accepted the resolution. 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 has 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. You can also tweak the dynamics of the sound somewhat. Again, I’d rather leave that to my amp. There is a speaker calibration tool that helps you to optimize your sound performance. You also have some options to tweak your 3D performance.

    In The Rack

    Dimensions: 16.8 x 12.2 x 3.1 inches (430mm x 311mm x 79mm) 10.8 lbs (4.9kg).

    The display is a rather large one. I like larger displays, but you have the option to either dim or eliminate it. The first thing I discovered about the unit is that it runs quiet. You really don’t get any noise at all from fans or drive motors. The second thing, and perhaps the most impressive, is the running temperature. This baby stays pretty cool even after several hours of operation, and in a rack with other units on the top. Maybe I’m making too much out of that feature, because I’ve been running a PS3 which runs notoriously hot. I don’t think so. Aside from dust and dirt, heat is the major killer of a good audio/video unit. I often run additional fans on some equipment to keep them running cool. You won’t have to here. Without a ton of fan noises, this unit knows how to keep its cool.

    Performance

    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.

    Right from the menu you can access many online streaming services like Pandora and Netflix. With a full gig of flash memory the unit makes streaming quite smooth and fast. The same is true of your BD Live content. The machine handled each download and playback with ease and speed. With 3 USB ports the unit deftly handles USB drives with all of the content that comes with them.

    You also get a pretty self-contained entertainment center with this unit. It plays BD-Video, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE. If you have any SACD discs, you know how hard it is to find a player that accepts them. There is a compatibility issue with HDMI 1.2 or higher, but you can overcome that issue easily here. If it’s a data disc you have, you’re in luck.  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. The unit also handles new BD-R discs. I haven’t tried 50 gig dual-layer recordables, but it handles the single-layer 25 gig discs wonderfully. You can also dump video clips, pictures and MP3′s on these discs and the unit will handle them through the nice menu system I’ve already discussed. How about the ability to play 50 gigs of MP3′s? With the Oppo BDP-103 you could do just that.

    The upconvert feature is superior to any player I have yet owned. It converts those old style DVD’s to a 1080p resolution that retains the natural look of the colors and texture. Too much upconvert means overfiltered and under expectation. Look, you’re not going to get Blu-ray quality from a DVD no matter what you play it through, but this is absolutely as good as you’ll get. If you are lucky enough to have a monitor that can handle 4k, this unit is already next generation. It can do a 4k up-scaling. I don’t have the monitor to display that kind of resolution, but this is the only player anywhere near it’s price that can handle future technology like 4k resolution.

    The player handles 3D as well as I’ve seen to date. The image has a smoother look and feel than my PS3 hands down. You can convert 2D signals to 3D. So far this technology isn’t as impressive as I’d like to see. It’s true of any signal that’s been post-converted to 3D. That’s why you see such a huge difference even in the cinema between a film done natively in 3D and one converted in post-production. The same is true here, but Oppo gives you some control over the depth of the image. There are two HDMI outputs. This is very important if your receiver cannot handle 3D signals. It’s a common problem right now. You can use one of the HDMI outputs to send a video signal directly to your monitor while the other takes the audio codec to your amp so that you don’t have to rely on television speakers. It’s a lifesaver that could keep you from having to drop another grand on an amp just to get both. There is also HDMI pass-through ability in the front and back. This allows you to use your player to route other high-definition signals to your monitor. This also fully supports 3D playback. I used it to run my PS3 through until I could get a longer cable. That means you can take full advantage of Oppo’s excellent audio and video processing circuits for any other HDMI-capable device in your rack. And, let’s face it. That’s really why you’re going to put an Oppo in your rack. It’s that long-standing commitment to the best in video and audio processing.

    Let’s talk about that performance, shall we? I have to watch Blu-rays and DVD’s for a living. Yes, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. That means I’m watching with a critical eye. The Oppo brings me wonderfully true blacks that make it possible for me to distinguish between discs with great inky blacks and detailed shadow definition from those crap transfers that give you a muddled mass of black that makes it impossible for you to see what the heck’s going on. I can depend on the stability from my unit so that I know what I’m seeing is true to the transfer. The same is true of color and sharpness. Most important, the internal circuitry keeps up with the action through the fastest processing available in a home unit. That results in smooth video with no jitter and archive stutters. The video and audio reproduction is flawless in every respect. I still play quite a few DVD’s, and the upconvert here is as good as it’s always been on my Oppo players. I really didn’t notice anything different here.

    Final Thoughts

    I’ll admit that I was predisposed to like this player from the start. I’ve come to expect this kind of performance, and I’m happy to say that I got what I expected. I’ve included all of the tech talk below so that you can refer to it. For me, none of that matters if it doesn’t deliver to the eyes and ears. So sure, you can pick up a unit for a hundred bucks or so. Or you can pick up the Oppo BDP-103 and show off to all of your friends. Of course, that has its downside in the added expense of pizza and beer. You see, once they show up you’re going to have trouble getting them to leave. Excuse me while I make another pizza order.

    You can check out Oppo Digital and their products here: Oppo Digital

    These are the specs provided by Oppo:

     

     

    Features
    Diversified Media Support:

    • Blu-ray Disc – The high definition Blu-ray Disc™ format provides pristine video and audio quality for your home entertainment.
    • Blu-ray 3D – Experience high definition in all new dimensions. The BDP-103 supports the Blu-ray 3D specifications and is fully compatible with Blu-ray 3D discs1.
    • 2D to 3D Conversion – Take your standard DVD, Blu-ray, and other video content to the next dimension by converting them into 3D with the simple press of a button. The BDP-103 can also adjust the depth and eye convergence levels to suit your personal preference.
    • SACD – The BDP-103 plays Super Audio CD (SACD) and supports both stereo and multi-channel high resolution audio programs. Users can select whether to output the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) signal in its native format or convert it into PCM.
    • DVD-Audio – The BDP-103 plays DVD-Audio and supports both stereo and multi-channel high resolution audio programs. Users can select whether to play the DVD-Audio or the DVD-Video portion of the disc.
    • Netflix Instant Streaming – Instantly watch TV shows & movies streaming from Netflix2. Netflix “Just For Kids” is a special selection of kid-friendly TV episodes & movies for younger viewers. It is included with your Netflix unlimited streaming membership. Selected titles support features including 1080p video, 5.1ch audio, subtitles and alternative audio languages.
    • VUDU HD Movie Streaming - Stream thousands of movies instantly the day-and-date they are released on DVD/Blu-ray in stunning 1080p video, rich 7.1 surround audio and even in 3D3.
    • CinemaNow – Instantly stream the latest new release movies and Next Day TV episodes, plus a library of thousands of blockbuster hits4.
    • Pandora Internet Radio - Personalized music streaming using the Music Genome Project, staying true to their mission: “Playing only the music you’ll love”5.
    • Rhapsody Online Music – Meet your new music collection complete with millions of songs, entire albums and artist hits spanning the decades. This is more than just internet radio. This is the power to play exactly the songs you want.6
    • Comprehensive Internet Streaming – In addition to Netflix, VUDU, CinemaNow, Pandora and Rhapsody, the BDP-103 provides access to popular entertainment network services from Film Fresh, YouTube Leanback and Picasa.
    • BD-Live & BonusVIEW – The BDP-103 supports BD-Live™ (Profile 2.0) and contains all necessary hardware – audio/video decoder, Ethernet and wireless networking, and 1GB of internal storage – for BD-Live. It also supports BonusVIEW (Profile 1.1) enabling “picture-in-picture” and audio features for viewing director or actor commentary while the main movie is playing.
    • Additional Disc & Media Formats – Additional disc and file formats, such as DVD, audio CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, AVCHD, MP4, AVI, MKV and other audio/video/picture files on recorded discs or USB drives can be played back on the BDP-103. The BDP-103 fully supports high-resolution lossless WAV and FLAC audio formats.7

     

    • Qdeo by Marvell – The BDP-103 incorporates Marvell’s Kyoto-G2H video processor with the latest generation Qdeo™ technology. Qdeo video processing delivers a truly immersive viewing experience by rendering quiet natural video free of noise and artifacts for all types of content. For high-quality Blu-ray content, the BDP-103 faithfully reproduces the program just as the director intended; for DVD, the up-converted picture quality bridges the visual gap from your current DVD library to Blu-ray discs; for network streaming and user-encoded content at a variety of formats and quality, the BDP-103 offers enhancement options including video noise reduction, compression artifact reduction, intelligent color, contrast, detail and edge enhancements. To learn more about the Qdeo video processing technology, please read the Qdeo Extended Technology Brief.
    • 4K Up-scaling – Enhance the home theater experience with four times the resolution of Full HD 1080p by up-scaling all video sources to 4K (3840 x 2160) output resolution.
    • DVD Up-Conversion – Per-pixel motion-adaptive de-interlacing and advanced scaling transform the standard definition image on DVDs to high definition output on your TV. Additional Qdeo video processing options help to deliver a clearer, smoother, and more true-to-life picture free of noise and artifacts.
    • Full HD 1080p Output – The BDP-103 features user selectable video output resolutions, including 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 4K.
    • True 24p™ Video – Many Blu-ray Discs are recorded at 24 frames per second, the same frame rate as the original movie’s theatrical release. The BDP-103 can faithfully redeliver the original frames using 1080p 24Hz output (compatible display required) for smoother motion and a flicker-free, film-like home theater experience. It can also restore the original 24 frames per second progressive-scan video from well-authored DVDs and output 1080p 24Hz.
    • Source Direct Mode – For users who wish to use an external video processor, the BDP-103 offers a “Source Direct” mode. The original audio/video content on the discs is sent out with no additional processing or alteration.
    • Multiple Zoom Modes – The BDP-103 supports multiple levels of aspect ratio control and image zooming. Users can watch a movie in its original aspect ratio, fit to the full screen, or zoom in to remove the black bars on some titles.
    • Vertical Stretch Mode – For customers with a 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) display system, the player’s zoom options include a vertical stretch mode to work nicely with an anamorphic lens. A unique subtitle shift feature allows the user to move the subtitle up and down, making it possible to see all subtitle text when using a 2.35:1 CIH display.
    • Advanced Picture Control - Users can have fine control of brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, sharpness, noise reduction, color and contrast enhancements.  The player can remember and apply three custom picture control modes to suit a variety of viewing conditions and content types.

     

    • Dolby® TrueHD – Dolby TrueHD delivers lossless studio master quality audio designed specifically for high definition entertainment.  The BDP-103 supports bit-stream output of Dolby TrueHD via its HDMI 1.4a output. It can also internally decode Dolby TrueHD into LPCM and output via HDMI or the 7.1ch analog audio output terminals. Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus audio formats are also supported.
    • DTS-HD Master Audio™ – DTS-HD Master Audio delivers an auditory experience that matches the lifelike images of high-definition video with up to 7.1 channels that are bit-for-bit identical to the studio master. The BDP-103 supports bit-stream output of DTS-HD Master Audio. It can also internally decode DTS-HD Master Audio and output via HDMI or the 7.1ch analog audio output terminals. (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and DTS Digital Surround are also supported.)
    • 7.1-Channel Analog Output – Individual analog 7.1-channel surround outputs are ideal to connect to a 7.1-channel or 5.1-channel surround sound system. The BDP-103 delivers an incredible sound stage and an immersive surround experience. For users with stereo speakers, the 7.1-channel analog output can be configured to a stereo down-mix mode.
    • Digital Optical and Coaxial Outputs – For simple and easy connection to more traditional A/V receivers, the BDP-103 features both optical and coaxial outputs for digital audio.
    • Rigid Chassis Construction - Built around a steel chassis, aluminum faceplate, and center-mounted disc loader, the BDP-103 is designed to impress as well as to provide a stable base for the highest quality reproduction of your favorite media.

     

    • Dual HDMI Outputs – Two HDMI v1.4a output ports are provided to offer the most versatile installation options to both older and newer HDMI equipment. You do not have to upgrade your A/V receiver to a 3D model in order to enjoy 3D. One HDMI output of the BDP-103 can be connected to a 3D TV and the other can be connected to a pre-3D HDMI v1.1-1.3 A/V receiver. For projector users, you can connect one output to a projector for home theater use and the other to a TV for casual viewing. For a multi-room installation the BDP-103 can output audio and video to two 3D or 2D TVs simultaneously.
    • Dual HDMI Inputs – Connect external devices such as set-top boxes and network streaming devices to take further advantage of the excellent audio and video processing functions by the BDP-103. The BDP-103 offers two HDMI inputs, one on the front and one on the back.
    • MHL Input – Simplify connecting smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to the home theater by using the MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) input port of the BDP-103. Display high resolution pictures, 1080p video and listen to pure digital music all while simultaneously charging the connected mobile device. The front HDMI input port of the BDP-103 doubles as the MHL input.
    • Wireless & Ethernet – Using the included wireless-N adapter or the built-in RJ45 Ethernet port, users will be able to interact with BD-Live content, watch instant streaming programs from providers such as Netflix or VUDU, playback contents stored on their home network, and keep the BDP-103 up-to-date with firmware releases to ensure maximum Blu-ray compatibility.
    • Triple USB Ports – Three USB 2.0 high speed ports are provided, one on the front panel and two on the back. Users can enjoy high definition video, high resolution photos and music directly from their USB drives.
    • PAL/NTSC Conversion – The BDP-103 supports NTSC and PAL systems for both disc playback and video output. It can also convert content of one system for output in another. (Subject to DVD and BD region restrictions.)
    • Back-lit Remote Control – The BDP-103 comes with a fully back-lit remote control for ease of use in dark home theaters. With its ergonomic button layout and clear labeling, operating the Blu-ray Disc player is easier than ever.
    • Universal Power Supply – The BDP-103 features a wide-range world power supply that is compatible with AC power from all regions. No worries about damaging the player due to incorrect power voltage.
    • External IR – For integration into home theater control systems, the BDP-103 provides an external IR IN port to use with an IR distribution system.
    • RS232 Control – For custom installation, the BDP-103 offers an RS232 control port with a rich control and communication protocol. Installers can easily program their favorite control systems to operate the BDP-103.
    • Remote Control Apps – As an added convenience, a free remote control application is available to download from the App Store for Apple iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices.
    • HDMI CEC – HDMI Consumer Electronics Control simplifies the home theater by allowing a single remote control to operate multiple devices.
    • Gracenote MusicID® and VideoID™ – By connecting to Gracenote’s global media database over the Internet, the BDP-103 can offer an enriched playback experience by displaying Cover Art, Title, Artist, Genre and other media information for CD, DVD, Blu-ray and a wide range of digital media files.
    • DMP & DMR – Digital Media Player (DMP) and Digital Media Renderer (DMR) features enables wired or wireless access of audio, picture, and video files stored on DLNA-compatible digital media servers such as a computer or network storage device (NAS).
    • SMB/CIFS Access – The BDP-103 comes with an experimental feature that can access video, audio and picture files shared by computers on the local network via the Server Message Block (SMB) or Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocols.

     

    Notes:
    1Requires proper 3D television and glasses.
    2U.S. – Netflix unlimited streaming membership required. International – Netflix is available in certain countries. Unlimited membership required. More information at www.netflix.com
    3Service available in the United States only. A VUDU user account is required to rent or buy movies and TV shows.
    4Membership required.
    5Service available in the United States only.
    6Membership required. Service available in the United States only.
    7Compatibility 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.

    Specifications
    Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.

    Disc Types BD-Video, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE
    BD Profile BD-ROM Version 2.5 Profile 5 (also compatible with Profile 1 Version 1.0 and 1.1)
    Internal Storage 1GB (Actual space available for persistent storage varies due to system usage)
    Output Analog Audio: 7.1ch, 5.1ch, stereo.
    Coaxial/Optical Audio: Dolby Digital, DTS, up to 2ch/192kHz PCM.
    HDMI Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio, up to 7.1ch/192kHz PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD.
    HDMI Video: 480i/480p/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24/4Kx2K, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.
    Input HDMI Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, AAC, up to 5.1ch/192kHz or 7.1ch/96kHz PCM.
    HDMI Video: 480i/480p/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24/1080p25/1080p30, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.
    MHL Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, up to 5.1ch/192kHz PCM.
    MHL Video: 480i/480p/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p24/1080p25/1080p30, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.
    Audio Characteristics
    (Nominal specification)
    Frequency: 20Hz – 20kHz (±0.05dB), 20Hz – 96kHz (-4.5dB ~ +0.05dB)
    Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >115dB (A-weighted)
    THD+N: < 0.006% (1kHz at 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF)
    General Specification Power Supply: ~100V – 240V, 50/60Hz AC
    Power Consumption: 35W (Standby: 0.5W in Energy Efficient Mode)
    Dimensions: 16.8 x 12.2 x 3.1 inches (430mm x 311mm x 79mm)
    Mass: 10.8 lbs (4.9kg)
    Operating Temperature 41°F – 95°F
    5°C – 35°C
    Operating Humidity 15% – 75%
    No condensation
    Parts & Labor Warranty 2 Years

    All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

     

    Posted In: Blu-ray/3D Blu-ray, Hardware Reviews, Oppo

    One Response to “Oppo Opens Up Your 3D Blu Horizons”

    1. HenryGerken Says:

      just a great player! the best!

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