Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player Page 4
If you’ve used other Blu-ray players, the first thing you’ll notice about the BDP-83 is its speed. This is one of the biggest gripes about standalone players. It seems like the more expensive a player is, the slower it is. Not so with the Oppo. The BDP-83 turns on immediately, and its tray response is excellent. Load times are on par with the PlayStation 3, which has been the speed king from the beginning. This is the level of performance we should see from players across the board. Gone is the frustration with initial loading and Java-intensive titles and features. What takes some players well over a minute typically takes seconds on the Oppo. Even the hardest disc takes less than half the time of some more expensive platforms I’ve reviewed.
Operation is smooth across most formats. I’ve had the chance to use the player for quite some time, and I haven’t come across a hitch with a Blu-ray title at all. However, some SACDs and CDs had a brief dropout on occasion. At press time, Oppo had just recently offered the BDP-83 for sale to the general public after extensive beta testing and its “early adoption” market trial program. Oppo is committed to timely firmware updates to address any little bugs that might pop up. Thankfully, there hasn’t been any significant issues with my unit. In fact, I’d say this is the most trouble-free player I’ve used in my system considering the breadth of titles (and formats) I play regularly.
The BDP-83’s everyday use is without a doubt the most refreshing experience I’ve had with a standalone Blu-ray player. I’ve been quite impressed by specific areas from a wide range of manufacturers, but up until now, no one has made a one-stop shop for great performance across the board. The BDP-83 is just that.
Its video performance with Blu-ray and DVD playback is as good as anything I’ve used, and nothing beats its source-direct HD performance. When you couple this level of performance with its general operation, you have a machine that stands out among its peers. In fact, aside from the obvious investments in build quality, many enthusiasts will be hard-pressed to find any real performance benefit in typical home theater applications from the current crop of price-no-object players on the market.
When I watched some of my favorite recent Blu-rays, the BDP-83 delivered reference-quality video and audio every time. The breathtaking color rendition and small object detail in the recent A Bug’s Life Blu-ray release blew me away. And Criterion’s recent treatment of David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button showed why Blu-ray is clearly several steps beyond DVD.
I dusted off the few DVDs I have left in my collection, and it proved to be a pretty painless endeavor. The BDP-83’s upconversion is second to none. While the overall quality of DVD is still a distant second to Blu-ray, I was surprised by how good this player made DVDs look. I let the Oppo convert my DVDs to 1080p/24 for playback, and it didn’t have any issues with tearing or frame drops. A few other manufacturers offer 24p support for DVDs, but I sometimes noticed occasional frame drops with some material. The Oppo’s DVDO processing didn’t seem to have the same issue with the titles I tested. If you still watch a lot of DVDs, this alone makes the Oppo a worthwhile investment.
Finally, here’s a standalone Blu-ray player that truly offers the complete experience. The BDP-83 is a reference video and audio transport regardless of the format you throw at it. But it’s also the most user-friendly standalone player I’ve had the pleasure of using. While some players provide outstanding performance in certain areas, the Oppo never hiccupped in any department. It’s truly the most complete package of a Blu-ray player I’ve yet reviewed. It’s now my standing reference as a source component and one that should be on your short list, regardless of your budget.