Special Review Of Upcoming Oppo BDP-83 Blu-Ray Player
My System Used For This Review I have to admit, being in this hobby and having the privilege to be in the position I am in does have its perks. As a reviewer and beta tester for various companies I get the chance to see and experience things that many HT buffs only dream of, such is the case here. Oppo Digital announced mid last year that they were working on a blu-ray player and that it was going to be something special, of course being that Oppo has now become one of the most appreciated companies in the DVD game the internet forums lit up with anticipation. I am going to be 100% honest, the hoopla and excitement over this player can't even come close to the actual performance you get here. Oppo Digital has become maybe the most respected name in the DVD world, their players constantly receive the highest recommendations from casual reviewers and even top the charts when scrutinized under a scientific microscope AKA barrage of tests and performance charting. The 83 lives up to Oppo's legendary status and in my opinion even exceeds it. E
I have to admit, being in this hobby and having the privilege to be in the position I am in does have its perks. As a reviewer and beta tester for various companies I get the chance to see and experience things that many HT buffs only dream of, such is the case here. Oppo Digital announced mid last year that they were working on a blu-ray player and that it was going to be something special, of course being that Oppo has now become one of the most appreciated companies in the DVD game the internet forums lit up with anticipation. I am going to be 100% honest, the hoopla and excitement over this player can't even come close to the actual performance you get here. Oppo Digital has become maybe the most respected name in the DVD world, their players constantly receive the highest recommendations from casual reviewers and even top the charts when scrutinized under a scientific microscope AKA barrage of tests and performance charting. The 83 lives up to Oppo's legendary status and in my opinion even exceeds it.
Enjoy the special review and comments below, thanks for reading!
BDP-83 Appearance, Build, Inputs, etc.
The 83 comes in a very sturdy and hefty delivery enclosure box and a nice protective bag that Oppo is known for on their SD DVD players. Those of you that have owned Oppo gear in the past will understand my forthcoming comments. Oppo delivers pretty much the best quality A/V performance there is, what is lacking is that ultimate build quality and the high-end appeal and performance this brings, notice I said "is". The 83 is a complete and total departure from everything you have seen from Oppo before. The player is as solid and well built as a previous Sony ES blu-ray unit I owned. The tray mechanism is stable and beefy and far from anything you would call flimsy. The aluminum front panel is thick and looks amazing with its brushed finish. Front panel buttons have a silver finish and nice solid click when being depressed. The IR sensor is easy to locate with a plastic cover over it and label, this would be helpful for those that need IR emitters attached but they are not needed with this unit (more on that below). Included is a USB jack on the front for software updates and media playback, the USB port has a dust cover installed to the keep the area clean.
The Oppo has what I would consider a very thorough jack assortment on the rear, including even IR in and out ports for those with custom installations that need IR routing, this is a much appreciated feature that is invaluable for many users. Other outputs include the usual optical, coaxial, component, and a dedicated stereo/7.1 analog output setup. Obviously a HDMI 1.3 port is provided in addition to another USB connection and the network connection needed for profile 2.0 capability. Oppo has also made use of a IEC power connector for those that use upgraded shielded cables or enjoy the detachment ability, another often overlooked feature. The unit is 110-240v 50/60hz capable out of the box, connect it anywhere in the world including Japan, Australia, Europe etc.!!!
Overall the build quality is top notch with the 83, I have no faults at all.
BDP-83 Setup and Calibration
This is where the 83 really starts to shine, anything and everything can be adjusted on this player to get a properly display image a system requires. Oppo went with a additional VRS chip from Anchor Bay Technologies, a very respected name in deinterlacing, scaling and image processing functions. This chip in the Oppo allows the unit to have full image adjustment control and gives the capability for a true high quality 1080p/60 output if you need it. Those that are purist like me need not worry because Oppo has delivered the goods on a true source direct bypass option for this unit. This option sets the unit to output exactly what resolution is on the disc, be it DVD or blu-ray, be it 1080i or 1080p/24, whatever the content is the output will be. When the unit is not set to source direct output the user has the options of many adjustment parameters due to the addition of the ABT processing chip, these include amongst others: contrast, noise reduction, brightness, and color. Even adjustments like y/c delay and detail enhancement. In addition to these mentioned video options Oppo includes a colorspace setup area, this is the single most important thing that blu-ray manufactures need to get right. In this menu you can set the player to deliver a true 10-bit 4:2:2 image via HDMI, with the unit set to source direct this is a 100% true bypass, with no colorspace conversions (to 4:4:4 for example). This delivers exactly what comes out of the decoder and is the closest one can get to a HD-SDI professional/studio quality image. Other colorspace options include 4:4:4 and RGB, necessary for those systems that may need 4:4:4 or even displays that only take RGB via DVI, which if not setup properly will have black and white crush. Can it get any better? yes!, you can adjust any and all video setup parameters while a disc is playing and with instant change. This player is like a top notch responsive DVD player, not the usual clunkiness you have come to expect from blu-ray players (more on this below).
As usual, my recommendation for the unit is to set it to source direct, and 4:2:2 colorspace output, this delivers exactly what you want out of a blu-ray player.
BDP-83 Playback and Features
The 83 is really going to turn heads in this regard. Somehow Oppo has managed to deliver DVD player responsiveness, loading and performance out of what we have come to expect from slow, clunky and "...forever loading" blu-ray players. For example, with the 83 in standby, the time it takes for the unit to eject the tray is less than 9 seconds, this is not a exaggeration. Tired of those blu-ray disc load times?, what about titles like Pirates of the Caribbean? you might just as well insert it and go make a sandwich before you can expect to get anywhere on the disc and this is with the latest greatest players like the Panasonic X5 units. The aforementioned Pirates of the Caribbean loads up and initiates java in a couple snaps of the finger. If forced to make a decent guess I would say 4 or 5 times faster than any other blu-ray player on the market. All around disc load times for non java titles are bordering on DVD territory, titles like Behind Enemy Lines load and are at the menu in what seams like a instant compared to other players. The menu on the BEL disc is smooth and responds very fast, something I can't say about any other player that tries to handle this menu, the usual clunkiness is gone. The player has a very informative information screen display, including video codec, audio selection (did I mention how fast audio changes midstream are?), chapter/total times etc. I am not certain on this but you may see a bitrate meter as well in the future.
Another bonus with this player is the ability to do SACD playback. With the minimum HDMI 1.2 spec (this player is 1.3) you can send direct unprocessed DSD to a capable pre-amp or receiver, this is a excellent way to listen to SACD and is highly recommend by your reviewer. The 83's USB ports can do all manner of media playback including just about any format you can imagine. I even got the unit to playback some cable box .TS HDTV movie recordings that I had by converting them to .mpg and putting them on a USB thumb stick. I had perfect source direct 1080i video and DD 5.1 audio with butter smooth ff, rw, pause, stop and even resume capabilities, this is amazing. With what hard drives cost these days the mind starts to wonder what a person could do with this capability.
Oppo is known for their firmware updates and ease of use, well you can't get any easier than this. Download the firmware from Oppo's site, drag and drop it on a USB stick, insert it in the unit and it automatically detects it and asks if you want to proceed. Installation of firmware, power off of the player and return of the unit to the splash screen (ready to play) takes all of 30 seconds, sometimes less. Alternatively you can use the ethernet network connection to download and install future formats via Oppo servers, not too shabby!
BDP-83 Video and Audio Quality
All of this would be for lost if the 83 was a bad performer in the video quality area, not a chance!!. I easily put the player at the top of the heap when it comes to PQ of all the blu-ray players I have owned and reviewed, maybe even the best. The first thing that struck me about this player (when in the source direct 4:2:2 output mode) is how clean the image is, no noise whatsoever. I am not talking about processing of sorts either, time after time the unit displayed the finest of finest visible film grains on various titles, always with a lush nearly over the top amount of natural sharpness. The image is simply amazing, no one single complaint from me and I am very picky. No black crush, no white clipping, no color decoding errors, no normal suspect areas on most players, just perfection. Various titles used for this player during my main video critiquing were: "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", "Tomb Raider", "The Fifth Element (remaster)", The Passion of the Christ, "Air Force One (UK import)" and others. Nothing to report other than splendid images, the 83 does what it should do well and with no problems at all, you can't ask for more than that. Video output used was HDMI set to source direct and 4:2:2 colorspace.
There isn't much to say about audio quality of this unit. The Oppo BDP-83 allows the user to set the player where it will pass 100% untouched undecoded audio via HDMI 1.3 to your pre-amp or receiver. This is the absolute best way possible to listen to and enjoy advanced audio formats like DTS Master, Dolby TrueHD and PCM. The 83 features 7.1 analog outputs and will allow internal decoding of all sound formats to be sent as PCM via HDMI, both these features are something I did not critique for this review. Everything is covered for any audio situation, this includes internal decoding of all sound formats for the DACs and HDMI PCM. Analog audio has full implementation of setup for those that have unprocessed analog inputs they wish to use on their receiving end. I had nothing but perfect audio distribution to my Onkyo PR-SC885P pre-amp.
BDP-83 SD DVD Video Quality
Being this is a true universal player, Oppo couldn't forget regular old forgotten DVD (I kid!). The Oppo in delivery of its DVD image (and internally) matches the current DV-983H model in their lineup, the DVD quality via any output resolution is 100% equal to that player. Of course you also have source direct that will deliver unprocessed 480i 4:2:2 to a outboard scaler if you no longer have that SDI DVD player. Basically the 983 DVD playback is considered to be the best in the world, so their is no point in my covering that, others have already done so.
The Oppo BDP-83 is what I like to call the Lord of the Rings in blu-ray players, it is "The One Player To Rule Them All"! This player is going to make everyone else look bad and I mean real bad. Ease of use, responsiveness, loading times, a/v quality, updates, media player, you name it. A fully featured and stacked package, one that gets my highest recommendation possible.
Special thanks to Jason Liao of Oppo!!