While China isn’t exactly known for creating original products when it comes to their own design, once in awhile we’ll be surprised at the devices they can come up with. Case in point, Oppo’s first ever smartphone, the X903. Running on Android, this phone sure doesn’t fail in the looks department but it is only mediocre when it comes to specs, especially when put up against other high-end devices from other manufacturers. But hey – what were you expecting? The X903 packs a 1GHz processor with 3D graphics accelerator (manufacturer not mentioned), an 8-megapixel camera (supports 720p HD video recording), 3G, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a very interestingly-skinned Android 2.2 operating system. Judging by screenshots of the device, it looks like a cross between iOS and Android, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you feel about it. No word on pricing or release date
One of the most well respected Blu-ray player manufacturers out there mentioned on its Twitter feed that it plans to announce a lower cost option in early January 2010. We interpret this to mean that during CES, in a few weeks, that all the details will be revealed. This is certainly good news for Oppo fans, although we really wonder what sacrifices we’ll have to make to take advantage of the lower price. After all, it isn’t like it’s as simple as dropping a few streaming features.
The new oppo will come with 1.4 hdmi cable chipset.
Home theater enthusiasts have long dreamed of owning disc players that could handle virtually every type of material one might want to play—movies in either DVD or Blu-ray format, CDs, and even specialty audio discs in formats such as SACD, DVD-Audio and HDCD. What’s needed, of course, is a combination Blu-ray/universal player, but building one is something easier said than done—in part because the technical requirements of the various disc types vary considerably. But despite the technical challenges involved, a Blu-ray/universal player is precisely what Oppo Digital set out to create in its new BDP-83. And now that we’ve lived with Oppo’s new brainchild for the past few months, we’re pleased to report that it is quite possibly the most universal “universal player” of them all.
Oppo Digital’s flagship BDP-83 Blu-ray/universal player
Few products have been more eagerly anticipated than the BDP-83, and it’s easy to understand why. First, few disc players at any price offer the format versatility the Oppo does (at present, we know of only one other player offering similar functionality, and it is a Denon model priced at $4500), whereas the BDP-83 sells for a much more manageable $499. But second, and perhaps more importantly, Oppo enjoys a reputation for building “giant killers”—players whose video and audio quality far exceed most customers’ expectations given their modest prices. As you’ll learn in a moment, Oppo has pushed the performance/dollar ratio envelope further than ever before with the BDP-83, so that the player establishes a new benchmark in terms of value for money.
Consider this Blu-ray player if: you want an exceptionally versatile and affordable player that taps the full video and audio capabilities of the Blu-ray format, that provides a strong onboard video processor for playing (and upscaling) DVDs, and that beautifully handles CD, HDCD, SACD, and DVD-Audio discs, consistently delivering a rich, smooth, natural sound.
Look Further if: you were hoping for a low-cost player that could magically trump the sound quality of great audio players in the $2k-4k range; Oppo’s BDP-83 is plenty good, but not that good. But consider this: the BDP-83’s video performance is essentially faultless, while its sound quality surpasses (by a wide margin) anything else I’ve heard at or near its price.
Ratings (relative to comparably priced Blu-ray/universal players)
- Video Quality DVD: 10
- Video Quality Blu-ray: 10
- Audio Quality: 9+ (no other player in this price range offers this level of flexibility)
- Features: 10
- User Interface: 9
- Value: 10
- Blu-ray Disc with BonusVIEW and BD Live support (includes 1GB of onboard memory).
- Kodak Picture CD
- AVCHD, MKV and other file formats from discs or USB drives.
- Anchor Bay Video Reference Series video processing technology.
- Scaling options: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and up to 1080p at 50Hz or 60z.
- 24p video options: for users with 24p-compatible displays. Oppo says the BDP-83 supports 24p (movie frame rate) output from Blu-ray discs and from “well-mastered DVDs.”
- Source Direct mode outputs audio and video content as read, with no processing of any kind (intended for use with external video processors/scalers).
- Multiple Zoom modes: provides “multiple levels of aspect ratio control and image zooming, including a vertical stretch mode for customers with a 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) display system.”
- HDMI v1.3 digital video and audio outputs with 30-bit and 36-bit Deep Color support.
- Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD with analog and bitstream outputs and (optional) conversion to LPCM.
- Onboard decoding for DTS-HD Master Audio with analog and bitstream outputs.
- SACD digital audio output either as DSD bitstream or in LPCM format.
- 7.1/5.1-channel analog audio outputs.
- Dedicated stereo outputs.
- Coaxial and optical digital audio outputs.
- Two USB 2.0 ports (one front, one rear).
- NTSC/PAL conversion (subject to DVD and BD region restrictions).
- Provides IR In/Out ports.
- HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) compatible.
- Universal voltage power supply.
- Back-lit remote control.
- Accessories include 6-foot HDMI cable and a copy of the Spears & Munsil High Definition Benchmark Blu-ray Edition disk.
COMPARING OPPO’S BDP-83 AND DV-983H UNIVERSAL PLAYERS:
Oppo’s critically-acclaimed but DV-983H (which was not Blu-ray-capable) wass the direct forerunner to the BDP-83, which effectively replaces it. In designing the BDP-83, Oppo made the following improvements to the already good audio section of the DV-983H:
A more substantial power supply.
Isolated analog outputs.
Separate/dedicated sets of multichannel and stereo analog outputs.
Dedicated DACs and op amps for analog output channels.
Slightly higher than normal voltage [2.3V] maximum analog output levels (Oppo says many audiophiles perceive that 2.3V maximum outputs sound better than more common 2.0V maximum outputs).
BDP-83 rear panel
The BDP-83 has a highly intuitive user interface that, on initial start-up, presents an Easy Setup Wizard to walk first timers through basic setup procedures (though experienced users can bypass the wizard to access a more advanced menu).
Once basic setup is complete, or whenever you press the Setup button on the Oppo remote, a menu opens up with seven clearly labeled options: Playback Setup, Video Setup, Audio Format Setup, Audio Processing, Device Setup, Network Setup, and Exit. Veteran users should be pleased by the comprehensiveness of Oppo’s suite of menu options. As one small example of Oppo’s thoroughness, the BDP-83 lets you decide whether SACD digital audio outputs via HDMI should be presented in their native DSD bitstream format or converted to PCM format—the sort of option that not many affordable universal players would provide.
Oppo’s user interface is reasonably intuitive, but can seem daunting because of its depth and thoroughness. Bear in mind that the BDP-83 provides control choices in places where other players don’t even have places. I found the Oppo BDP-83 interface clearer and better labeled than the already good menu GUIs provided in earlier generation Oppos, and it is backed by a well written user manual. In keeping with longstanding Oppo practice the BDP-83’s menu system allows you to make adjustments on the fly (whereas many players force you to stop playback before allowing access to menu-driven changes). Oppo’s approach lets you see and hear the effects of your intended changes in real time.
The BDP-83’s remote is backlit—a first for any Oppo player—with soft orange control button lights. Buttons illuminate whenever any control is pressed, but there is also a backup light switch.
Unlike most competing players, the Oppo provides variable analog outputs that can be controlled from the remote. This means that—in a pinch—you could actually run the BDP-83 directly into a power amplifier (though for best sonic results I would recommend running the volume control full up, and then adjusting volume levels via an A/V controller, AVR, integrated amplifier, or preamp).
Another somewhat surprising touch (though one seen quite often on high-performance AVRs and A/V controllers) is a Pure Audio button, which shuts down the player’s video circuitry to improve overall sound quality. Finally, the Oppo remote provides a Resolution button that lets you toggle through the player’s many upscaling/down-conversion options.