Oppo Aces Longterm Reliability Test

Longterm reliability is a missing piece in most reviews of electronic products. A big missing piece.

At Sound & Vision we work hard to deliver authoritative reviews. It takes me the better part of two weeks to review an AV receiver or full set of speakers. Then our audio technical editor measures the product and our ace editorial team goes over my copy with a fine-toothed comb. But there's one thing we virtually never do for our readers: We don't comment on the longterm reliability of products. It's not that we don't want to. It's just that the review process is a matter of weeks, not years. When I'm done with a review sample, I ship it out without knowing how well it would fare in a longterm relationship.

Actually, as a reviewer, I am more inclined than most to use reference components for long periods of time. My Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v4 speakers have been with me for nearly a decade—so I know how exactly how every receiver I've reviewed during that time sounds with the same speakers. I also have fond memories of a Rotel surround receiver that served for eight years. But today's topic is the Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition universal disc player, which I have mentioned on the associated-equipment list in countless reviews.

When the BDP-83 made its debut in 2009, Oppo already had a reputation for better-than-average DVD players. The BDP-83 was its first Blu-ray player and among the first Blu-ray players to sweeten the deal with Super Audio CD and full-resolution DVD-Audio. As a Special Edition player, it also boasted a high-quality analog output with premium DAC, making it suitable for high-end two-channel systems as well as surround systems. I bought one soon afterward and it's been serving in my system ever since, now tying with the old Rotel as the system's second longest serving audio component.

That is no small achievement for a product with moving parts, especially one so heavily used. The BDP-83 anchors not just my public work as a reviewer but my private life as a listener. Sometimes that thing is going all day and half the night. And though its longevity has pleased me, it has not surprised me. In a product category characterized by disposable lightweight products, the Oppo offers substantial build quality that inspires trust. Moreover, it offers that elusive quality that we rarely test for—longterm reliability.

That does not mean it has never failed. A few years into its tour of duty, the disc drawer became increasingly sticky. I got in touch with the manufacturer and was told it was a known manufacturing defect. I shipped the product to Oppo at my expense and the company shipped it back, with a new disc drive, at its expense. I even got an extra Oppo tote bag. The player has run flawlessly ever since. If you can't have a perfect product (though Oppos come closer than most) a manufacturer that stands behind its product is the next best thing. I would not hesitate to buy another Oppo.

And that is a temptation, despite the BDP-83's longevity. Unlike many current Blu-ray players, it does not have any streaming features. I added Netflix to my system by adding a second Blu-ray player, the Panasonic DMP-BD87. It dates from 2012, regularly moves onto and off the rack, and is used rarely for Blu-ray but heavily for streaming and binging. I should probably expand my streaming options with a Roku player. But when Netflix can't tempt me, I tend to play music, read a book, or obsess over social media.

There may be another reason to replace the BDP-83 before it fails. If I bought an Ultra HDTV, a UHD-compatible Blu-ray player would become a necessity. Oppo currently offers two, the UDP-203 ($549) and UDP-205 ($1,299). They still handle SACD and DVD-Audio (which I consider living formats, adding several new high-resolution discs to my library every year).

But they do not stream video. That's something Oppo started doing and then stopped. A 2014 model, the BDP-103, offered Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube video streaming and Pandora audio streaming. If you're tempted, that model is still on our Top Picks list, used specimens are available on the internet, and it offers UHD of a sort (upconversion, not native). But you're probably better off getting a new model and pursuing a separate streaming solution—there are lots of them.

One thing that keeps me from upgrading both my display and disc player right at this moment is HDR. My current 1080p HDTV is due for Ultra HD replacement. However, new HDR formats are proliferating and I'd like to see them shake out before I commit to new gear. (Oppo's current models handle HDR10 and Dolby Vision.)

But it is not just caution that makes me reluctant to take the leap. If you're waiting for technology to stop moving forward, you'll wait forever. No, it's not just caution—but contentment. Having once subsisted on horrible analog video and survived an era when the "video revolution" meant choosing between Beta and VHS, I never turn on my aging HDTV without marveling at how much better it is than what I grew up with. And I still love spinning discs on my Oppo. Our longterm relationship has worked out very well indeed.

Audio Editor Mark Fleischmann is the author of Practical Home Theater: A Guide to Video and Audio Systems, available in both print and Kindle editions.

drny's picture

For those of us who have a collection of recordings on SACD and DVD-Audio formats Oppo players are our only tried and true option.
I'm waiting on the next generation of Oppo UHD players with 2.1 HDMI.
I trust that Oppo will remain faithful to their audiophile base and continue to include SACD & DVD-audio in their players.
Thanks Mark for spreading the word

jcarys's picture

With the complications of the new HDR world, I have dedicated my 83 to playing all of my SDR disc content. I most likely will upgrade to the 203 this year to gain Dolby Vision support, but that just means that the older player will move to another system. Once the firmware stabilized years ago, I've never had an issue with it.

mars2k's picture

Have had several Oppo products, see them as a trusted brand. Currently using the bdp203. It will stream video from my media server (DNLA). Up-scaling external 1080 source is superb. Handshake with Marantz AV7704 sometimes problematic though. Find device a little slow between tracks for music however.
Otherwise all the Oppo line has proven bulletproof and support has been amazingly responsive.

As for Roku ...no support for DNLA has proven problematic would not choose Roku over a full feature disk player.

dommyluc's picture

Nearly every new 4K TV, whether OLED or LCD/LED, has streaming capabilities built in for video, 10180P or 4K (NETFLIX, AMAZON, HULU, YOUTUBE, etc.) and some audio (PANDORA, SPOTIFY, INTUNE, etc.), just like the major Blu-ray players, both regular and 4K. Also, the major AV receivers all stream audio from the aforementioned audio streaming services, plus the ability to stream from your PC or NAS. Unless you have a very specific service that need to be accessed (like, say, a stand-up comedy channel from Vladivostok, or the 24-hour polka festival channel live from Krakow), you should be pretty well covered for everything.

dommyluc's picture

I meant to write "TUNEIN" not "INTUNE". My bad! Like, gag me with a spoon, you know?! LOL!
Oh, and I totally agree with mars2k: the lack of DLNA on the Roku is a dealbreaker for me. As is the fact that many of the software programs that people seem to swear by, like PLEX and MediaMonkey and others, will not stream WAV files. I have ripped close to a thousand of my CDs to both WAV and mp3 copies on my system (I like to have copies in both formats so people don't have to use transcoding-on-the-fly if their devices cannot stream WAV files). They keep telling me I should re-rip it to FLAC. Why should I go to all the trouble of re-ripping to FLAC when hard drive space is so cheap you can barely even give it away? FLAC and mp3 were conceived because of the price of hard drive space, but those days are over, given that you can buy a 2 TB USB 3.0 portable HDD for about $65. I'll stick with WAV.

Puffer Belly's picture

Once ripped to a lossless format, it's easy to convert from one lossless format (WAV in this case) to another (FLAC) with no loss in quality. I use dBpoweramp, which is not free, and I've also used foobar2000 and FFmpeg, which are free. I think Audacity, which is free, will also work.

utopianemo's picture

My BDP-83 stopped recognizing any discs except blu-rays. It was an annoyance, but in spite of numerous recommendations, I didn't get it fixed. After all, my Oppo DVD-971H DVD player still worked fine(still does), and I needed that to play my Australian version of The Mysterious Cities of Gold.

The 83 now sits in my garage. In its place is a new UDP-203, right under the venerable 971H. I have no intention of replacing either.

brenro's picture

My BDP-105D skips when playing discs. I don't use it for movies anymore and for music discs I have an Ayre C-5xe MP which blows away the Oppo anyway.

Frans's picture

Sounds like dust on your lens, if so - easy fix.

brenro's picture

No dice.

Frans's picture

Hmm, they it's probably the audio board. OPPO will fix that for a nominal fee which is what I'd do given the high value of the 105.

Frans's picture

I really don't miss the streaming apps in the new OPPO 20X.

These days nearly every peripheral has apps (gaming consoles, PCs, FireHD, Chromecast, Roku, Tivo, etc. etc. etc.), and does it better with more frequent updates to boot.

pw's picture

Oppo should move up and install Real MQA into their products..
As I Understand it their Sonica Dac has a substandard chip set that can never support MQA.. Get with it Oppo..

Puffer Belly's picture

and MQA requires a licensing fee. MQA isn't necessary for discs, it's more for streaming. Using MQA for a disc, and I know it's planned and it will not sell well, just makes a CD format equivalent to SACD, DVD-A, BD-A, or hi-res files, which are already available and also not big sellers. Larger bandwidth connections to homes will also make MQA unnecessary for streaming in a few years. MQA is a solution is search of a problem.

Puffer Belly's picture

I bought a BDP-93 in 2011 and it failed in the first month. OPPO had be return it as their expense and replaced it with a new one. It has worked well since.

The BDP-93 must have been the fist to offer video and audio streaming and it doesn't do it very well, probably because it has an 802.11g wireless connection and not 802.11n. My Apple TV, Fire TV, Pioneer AVR, and Samsung HDTV do a better job. It does play from USB very well, including audio surround formats. My AVR and HDTV only play stereo and mono audio formats from USB and streaming; I only get surround from video formats.

One format the new OPPO players has eliminated is HDCD. Too bad, because my player does a good job with it. HDCD is not as good as SACD, DVD-A, BD-A, or hi-res files, but it is still better than CD. Many CDs were released as HDCD but weren't identified as such visually, but an HDCD audio player will detect it.

jmedarts's picture

I received my BDP-83 as part of the pre-release test market. Had the same sticky drawer issue as yours, fixed in the same way, and this thing has been absolutely bullet proof and a pleasure to use ever since. Once I upgrade my TV I'll pick up the latest Oppo offering for sure.