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Oppo DV971H -- A review


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#1 of 105 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted February 13 2006 - 03:22 AM

Received my new Oppo on Saturday and spent the next two days watching movies. My initial thoughts...WOW.

$213 postage paid from Extremephono. Took less than a week via FedEx.

Set-up was a breeze. (Free 4 m DVI cable included in price.)

There are a lot of video tweaks that could be done in the set-up menus -- I left them alone. (Perhaps someone who has an Oppo can enlighten me on the BEST settings with a Sony 51" HDTV via DVI?)

I watched several films, including Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Road Warrior, Empire of the Wolves, Stand By Me, The Hunt for Red October, and Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

I watched a few portions switching from 480p to 1080i and noticed a big difference in detail. Older films with less desirable transfers (like The Road Warrior) looked very clean and crisp in 1080i.

I guess the best way to describe the PQ difference is clean and crisp.

The audio is stellar, as well. You can switch audio on the fly instead of returning to the menu to do it -- nice feature. I switched between DD and DTS on The Two Towers and was surprised at how forceful the DD was compared to the more natural sounding DTS.

Final note: The dual layer switch is nonexistent -- barely noticeable. (My workhorse Toshiba SD-4800 had a very noticeable one.)

All in all, a great purchase and I couldn't be more satisfied.

Anyone in the market for a new player who wants upconversion via DVI? (1.5 meter DVI-D to HDMI cable also available -- free.) You can't go wrong with this baby. Sorry component users -- I've read the Oppo doesn't look as good PQ wise with component hook-up.)
Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

#2 of 105 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted February 13 2006 - 10:30 AM

For me, it's the upscaling players that will keep me satisfied until the dust clears between the two HD format wars. I'm doing it via component with my Zenith DVB318. Give Monster's Inc. a run through thats a sweet picture also.
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#3 of 105 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted February 13 2006 - 01:47 PM

I received my Oppo last week. However, my TV's HDMI input appears faulty and that board it getting replaced hopefully tomorrow. I'm anxious to compare it to my Panasonic XP-30.

Brett, what model Sony do you have? I have the KP-57WS520. Any macroblocking?

#4 of 105 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted February 14 2006 - 12:31 AM

My TV is about 3 years old. There is no HDMI input if that helps -- just DVI and the rest. Anyway, I'm not sure what model it is but I saw no macroblocking in any of the films.

I wish my "HD" tv stations looked as good as the flicks I'm watching. (Serious macroblocking duirng the Olympics, House, 24 -- I can't believe how much compression there is.)
Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

#5 of 105 OFFLINE   greg_t

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Posted February 14 2006 - 10:18 AM

I have a pioneer elite 53" HDTV, and I see ocassional macroblocking. It is quite mild though. I've used the zenith 318 and the Panny S97 before this and both had far more macroblocking than the oppo. The player does seem to suffer the "image retention" issues that other Faroudja 23xx chips have. Turning the TrueLife setting to ON resolved this for me.

I also have an RP82 and don't see too much difference between it and the oppo. The oppo has a definite advantage in speed, much faster chapter forwarding and quicker layer change. Plus it can easily be made region free. I find the oppo to have slightly better detail. The only thing is that I can't get the black levels as good as they are on my 82. But I think this is due to differences in service menu values in the component and DVI inputs on my TV. I hope to have it ISF'd soon and get everything correct. At that time I will likely replace the 82.

However, the oppo does have issues with audio sync errors. I have seen this once myself. the audio and video were far out of sync. restarted the player and it resolved the issue. Oppo is due to release a firmware update in the next few weeks that is supposed to help it. Overall, I've been quite happy with it and it's the first upconverting player I'm keeping.

#6 of 105 OFFLINE   Doug_B

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Posted February 14 2006 - 11:54 AM

Have had the Oppo for about a month, connected to the Infocus SP7200 and am very happy with the picture. Both the Oppo and my cable box are using the projector's single DVI input via a Gefen switcher and 10m cable.

I have not seen macroblocking yet, even with the titles / scenes that supposedly are most susceptible (e.g., Hotel Rwanda). Image retention was noticed on occasion when image would fade to black (end of scene) or with screen saver, but that was in first days before I calibrated; post-calibration black level places image retention below my visual radar. I have heard of the True Life setting helping this, as mentioned above.

I have yet to notice a layer change with this player. I have noticed the lip sync issue just once, and a stop / play combo re-synced. Given that I get up frequently while watching a DVD and thus stopping and playing, chances are I will see lip sync rarely.

It's a keeper.

Doug

#7 of 105 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted February 14 2006 - 11:13 PM

How did you calibrate the player? Did someone do it for you or did you just use trail and error.

I have not noticed the things you mentioned regarding audio syncing or image retention.

Also, how can the player be made region free?
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#8 of 105 OFFLINE   greg_t

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Posted February 15 2006 - 12:14 AM

One scene where I see it bad is on the Spiderman I superbit. When Parker gets bit by the spider in the begining and he bends down to look at it, there is a "ghosting" effect to the side of his head. I used to see it on the zenith 318 as well and got rid of it for that reason. Turning the TrueLife setting to ON on the oppo fixed the problem.

Here is a very good guide to the oppo with the answers to your questions:

http://www.avsforum....ad.php?t=491306

#9 of 105 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted February 15 2006 - 04:10 AM

Wow -- great stuff. Thanks for the help. Much appreciated.
Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

#10 of 105 OFFLINE   Doug_B

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Posted February 15 2006 - 05:55 AM

Quote:
How did you calibrate the player?

Avia DVD. Supports the basics wrt video calibration. Works for audio as well.

Doug

#11 of 105 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted February 15 2006 - 11:13 PM

I have the Avia disc -- wasn't very user friendly. I'll give it another try.
Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

#12 of 105 OFFLINE   Kevin. W

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Posted February 16 2006 - 01:54 PM

As far as the DVI goes is it HDCP compliant and does the TV DVI have too be also?? I've tried connecting my LCD to my HiDef cable box and it says not HDCP compliant. Would love to get one off these if this won't be an issue.

#13 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronn.W

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Posted February 17 2006 - 02:33 AM

Quote:
As far as the DVI goes is it HDCP compliant and does the TV DVI have too be also?? I've tried connecting my LCD to my HiDef cable box and it says not HDCP compliant. Would love to get one off these if this won't be an issue.


That shouldn't be a problem with the Oppo.

#14 of 105 OFFLINE   Ronn.W

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Posted February 17 2006 - 02:34 AM

Quote:
I have the Avia disc -- wasn't very user friendly. I'll give it another try.


The Avia disc gets easier with more use. You might also try Sound & Vision's HT Tune Up disc, it has a lot of the same tests, but is more user friendly

#15 of 105 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted February 17 2006 - 07:00 AM

Thanks -- I'll look for it.
Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

#16 of 105 OFFLINE   Charlie Campisi

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Posted February 19 2006 - 03:13 AM

Got my oppo on Friday. I haven't spent a whole lot of time with it yet, so I'll update this, but here are my initial impressions. Got it from amazon. $200, free shipping, and when I ordered it, a 5% instant rebate/discount popped up, so I got it for $190. Free ground shipping took 2 days. Brett M, you said it came with a 4m dvi cable. Is that a typo as my dvi cable was a 3 or 4 footer? My box did include a dvi-hdmi cable as well. Nice touch since I thought I would have to request it from Oppo, even though they send them for free it was nice to have it in the box.

I had some image retention issues on dark movies like Sin City and Batman Begins. I had the True Life set to off. Will turn it on to see if it improves. I also was using a dvd I burned as a HT demo with a bunch of mixed scenes with good audio/video, so I need to try it with the original dvds to see if it's maybe a burning or compression issue. (BTW, the Oppo played the mixed disc without a problem.) I also haven't recalibrated yet and my other dvd player was displaying 480p over the component connection. My panasonic S55 ($100 player 2 years ago) does not show the image retention on the mixed disc, so I'm hoping calibration or True Life will fix this. Interestingly, the manual does not explain what True Life does. Anyone know?

I read in another thread that the neon light on the front of the player was distracting. There is a setup item to turn it off.

Either the player or my tv won't allow the video output to be adjusted on the fly. Still playing around to see if I like 720p or 1080i better on my CRT rp.

My one complaint is that my panasonic has a memory feature that the Oppo doesn't. It allows you to hit "memory" mid-movie and eject a disc. The next time you pop in that disc and hit play, it will pick up from where you left off. It can store up to 5 spots (5 different dvds). I use this feature a lot because I have kids and get interrupted frequently, or have to stop watching movies midway. I'll miss this feature, but of course will trade it for the better picture. Seems to me a memory button is far more useful than the Oppo feature which allows you to select a spot on a dvd by chapter, or time -- the "Goto" button. Who actually knows a minute/second location on a dvd and cuts to scenes that way?

#17 of 105 OFFLINE   greg_t

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Posted February 19 2006 - 06:31 AM

It's not your TV, you have to stop the oppo to change the output type. For what it's worth, Oppo is supposed to release a new firmware update within the next two to three weeks. Someone on the AVS forum had a copy of the beta and said that he felt that 1080i had been improved. Another user recently got a beta and was told by oppo that 1080i output has been "enchanced" and he also feels that 1080i is now better than before. So it will be neat to see when the final release comes out.

Here is a link about Truelife setting. The ability to turn it on and off was added via a firmware update and was not in the original release, hence nothing in the manual about it.

http://www.gnss.com/tch_overview.phtml

I found having truelife On fixes the image retention issues I saw and didn't cause any additional macroblocking.

#18 of 105 OFFLINE   Charlie Campisi

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Posted February 19 2006 - 08:58 AM

Nice, thanks. I've never done a firmware update to a dvd player. Is it something that will just be downloaded from their website?

#19 of 105 OFFLINE   greg_t

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Posted February 19 2006 - 12:09 PM

Yes, they will post it on their website for download and you burn it to a CD. There are instructions on how to do it on their website.

#20 of 105 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted February 20 2006 - 01:36 AM

I had my ISF tech out Saturday and he calibrated my HDMI input on my set...so now it was equal compared to my component in terms of calibration.

Doing very careful comparisons with the Panasonic XP-30 and Oppo leads me to like the Oppo picture better. The Oppo produces less ghosting/ringing (however, this may in part be due to the TV since CRT RPTV are known for this especially at 480). Also, scanlines are not visible at 1080 which is a big plus to me...one of the bonuses of upconverting on a CRT.

The XP-30 image is a bit sharper....again, even with all edge enhancements turned off on the player and service menu.

Detail-wise, I don't see one player having an advantage over the other, however.

I witnessed no macroblocking so far. So, all in all, the Oppo does produce a more filmlike image, no doubt.

I'm curious how the Oppo would compare to the Panasonic S77 or 97. I've also heard that HDMI player can transfer color at 10 or 12 bit vs. 8 as with DVI. Considering my set has HDMI as does the S77 player, I am curious.





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