Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player
Dawn of a Blu Universe
Oppo Digital may not be the most recognized name on the block, but if you’ve used its products in the past, you’ll certainly remember it. Oppo has been in the DVD player market for a few years now and does all of its business online. You won’t find its products stocked in your local Best Buy or specialty retailer, so the brand doesn’t have the broad market awareness of other Blu-ray player manufacturers. But Oppo’s DVD players have a loyal following and offer incredible performance for the dollar. Oppo’s reputation for excellent performance at a lower price point and its outstanding customer support quickly gained a big following. So it’s been with bated breath that many of us have waited for Oppo to enter the Blu-ray market.
Well wait no more, Oppo has delivered its first entry into the market in a big way, and its debut is unique as it’s a universal player. The BDP-83 combines Blu-ray playback with universal DVD playback that includes SACD and DVD-Audio. If you’re anything like me, this gives you the Opportunity to finally replace the DVD player that may still be lurking in your rack. There have been some Blu-ray players that provide great upconversion for DVD, but I have a decent catalog of SACD and DVD-Audio titles that I still enjoy. I’ve been waiting for a solution that would take advantage of these formats. Panasonic’s first Blu-ray player offered DVD-Audio playback, and Sony’s early PS3 supported SACD playback, but no player has offered both in one unit. The only other player that now offers it is the new Denon DVD-A1UDCI, which comes in at a hefty $4,500.
The Complete Package
Oppo built the BDP-83 from the ground up. It features a completely new video decoder from Mediatek, which also provides the bulk of the decoding chips for Oppo’s DVD players. Oppo also includes the newest video processing chip solution from Anchor Bay Technologies (ABT), which is best known for its DVDO line of video processors. The BDP-83 uses the same video processing solution that’s in DVDO’s Edge processor ($700). The player features full Bonus View PiP capability and BD-Live connectivity, and it even includes the required minimum 1 gigabyte of memory on board.
When I received the BDP-83 for review, I was quite surprised by the packaging. Once you open the box, you’ll find that the player is packed very nicely and wrapped in a fabric bag that you can reuse for shopping. [At press time, we were unable to obtain a photo of Mr. Deering using his Oppo bag at the grocery store, but we hope to provide a follow-up in an upcoming issue.—Ed.] This is the type of packaging that high-end boutique brands use, and it makes a very nice first impression. The player is black, made from machined parts, and has a hefty feel. It definitely lacks the cheap plastic look that’s typical of this price point; it looks and feels like a high-end product.
The elegant front panel’s large tray and display are flanked by a USB port (capped off when not in use) and controls for playback and basic operation. Its simple touch interface features a ring and center button that you can use to navigate the player’s menus and give basic commands. You can dim or completely disable the front display, which is a feature that I wish more manufacturers offered. If you turn the display off, it will turn on when it receives a command and then promptly shut off again. Perfect.
The fully featured back panel includes a nice host of video and audio connections. For audio, Oppo includes two sets of analog audio options: a full 7.1-channel output and a dedicated two-channel output. It has both TosLink optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, and of course an HDMI 1.3 output along with component and composite video outputs. The player does not have an S-video connection.
For Internet connection, Oppo offers a standard Ethernet connection. Unfortunately, the BDP-83 doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, which is a feature that Blu-ray players sorely lack. However, Oppo does offer a wireless system that you can purchase separately for $80. It’s preconfigured for the player and creates a wireless bridge with your home router if you’d rather forgo the hard-wired Ethernet route. While it isn’t the ideal solution, it’s nice to know that Oppo has a wireless option.