Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player
Oppo Ups the Ante
The Blu-ray format has seen its fair share of changes since its introduction in 2006. Its initial launch included players with base playback functionality and poisonously slow boot-up and disc-loading times. Then came BonusView-enabled players, which added a minimum 256 megabytes of local storage with secondary audio and video decoders for picture-in-picture. Next were the BD-Live-capable players. These required an Internet connection via Ethernet or Wi-Fi and a minimum of 1 gigabyte of local storage (sometimes purchased separately), which allowed access to mostly useless online content. After the wild success of Avatar, the studios have jumped into 3D with both feet. Blu-ray 3D players now support a maximum data rate of 72 megabits per second (up from 48 Mbps in previous generations), include HDMI 1.4, and of course, these players support 3D video, 3D menus, and 3D subtitles.
Based in Mountain View, California, Oppo has gained quite a reputation in the enthusiast community for delivering superior product performance, first-rate customer service, and tremendous value. Its first Blu-ray player, the BDP-83, has been firmly entrenched in our Home Theater Top Picks section since its introduction in 2009. It was the first standalone player to rival the well-regarded Sony PlayStation 3 in terms of speed, and it surpassed the game system in many areas such as DVD upconversion and its ability to play DVD-Audio discs and SACDs.
Oppo isn’t the first manufacturer to release a Blu-ray 3D player, but given its reputation for quality products, a lot of early adopters have been eagerly awaiting its first foray into the 3D realm. Has it been worth the wait? Read on and see.
The BDP-93 makes a great first impression, starting with the outstanding packaging. Since the player is only available online, it’s highly protected from the rigors of shipping. Inside the box, you’ll find the player securely wrapped in a reusable carrying bag along with a sturdy secondary box that houses the detachable power cord, HDMI cable, composite cables, remote, and Wi-Fi dongle. The build quality is fantastic, from its solid 10.8-pound weight to the gold plating on its analog connections.
The player sports a classy-looking black anodized aluminum front panel with a hidden USB input and flush-mounted transport buttons and navigation controls. I always felt that the disc mechanism in Oppo’s BDP-83 was flimsy, but that’s not the case here. The BDP-93 sports a custom-developed tray from Japan. This tray opens smoother, and it reduces the vibration that the Blu-ray laser pickup’s high spinning speed can cause.
The rear panel contains an Ethernet port and two HDMI 1.4a outputs. Why two, you ask? If you own a sparkling new 3D display but a legacy A/V receiver that lacks 3D support, the dual HDMI outputs let you run an HDMI cable directly to your display for 3D playback. You can use a separate cable from the other HDMI output to your AVR for audio. Other video outputs include component and composite video. On the audio side are 7.1-channel analog, coaxial, and TosLink outputs. Finally, there’s an RS-232 input, an eSATA connection for an external hard drive, an IR input, and a second USB port for additional external storage or to attach the included 802.11n Wi-Fi dongle.
The BDP-93 can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio to PCM for output to an AVR or surround processor over HDMI. If your rig doesn’t include HDMI, the Oppo’s Cirrus Logic CS4382 digital-to-analog chip can decode and output the lossless audio from its 7.1-channel analog outputs. If you use a newer AVR or surround processor with onboard decoding, the player can send the raw bitstreams over HDMI sans the secondary audio from BonusView discs or the clicks and beeps in the menus.