There has been a lot of anticipation for OPPO Digital’s brand new BDP-83 Blu-ray player. This is in part because OPPO has had an excellent track record for producing top notch affordable DVD players, such as the DV-983H (one of the only players in Secrets’s history to score a perfect 100 on Secret’s rigorous DVD Benchmark) and in part because the BDP-83 is the first Blu-ray player to hit the market offering the features to make it a truly all-in-one solution media solution for high definition playback. With a vast feature list that includes BonusView, BD-Live, DVD Up-Conversion, 1080p24 and source direct output, bitstream, and internal decoding of Next Gen audio codecs, USB Media support, SACD playback through PCM or DSD (direct stream digital), and DVD-Audio support, the BDP-83 offered at a price of $499 is in a position to steal the Blu spotlight.
- Supported Disc Types: BD-Video, DVD-Video, AVCHD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD+-R/RW, DVD+-R DL, BD-R/RE
- BD Profile: 2.0
- Internal Flash Memory Storage: 1 GB
- Connections: 7.1/5.1/2.0 Analog, Coaxial, Toslink, HDMI 1.3, 10/100 Ethernet, 2 USB 2.0 (RS-232 Optional – $89)
- Supported Resolutions: NTSC: 480i/480p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24, PAL 576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24
- Dimensions: 3″ H x 16.8″ W x 13.3″ D
- Weight 11.2 Pounds
- Price: $499 USA
- Oppo Digital
OPPO has had the BDP-83 in production for some time now and instead of rushing it into a market crowded with average performing players, they took their time developing a product with high quality standards and versatile features. In fact, OPPO decided on a bold “customer first” strategy for the release of the BDP-83. Through an Early Adoption Program, otherwise known as EAP rounds 1 and 2, three hundred fifty registered consumers were chosen by random drawing to participate in a pre-release evaluation of the BDP-83. OPPO Digital then chose to let the participants decide if the BDP-83 was ready for public release by making “Yes” or “No” votes on the product’s website.
When the “Yes” votes reached 70% of the total votes, then the player would be ready for release. One obvious benefit of this strategy has been the substantial real world testing from a wide range of consumers nitpicking on issues that made a difference to their home theater systems. Issues such as Dolby TrueHD audio drop outs, better DVD-Audio support, and deinterlacing issues have been reported and OPPO, with an open ear, has released multiple firmware updates through the course of the program to address the feedback. OPPO Digital has always maintained a tradition of providing excellent customer support after the sale and rest assured they will continue to make tweaks and improvements to the BDP-83 far after its initial release.
Well, at long last it’s here, so let’s take a closer look at the OPPO BDP-83.
The player is boxed and shipped in durable foam and there is also a handy cloth carrying case included that features the OPPO logo. In the box there is a hefty HDMI cable, a set of RCA cables, a power cable, a remote control and batteries, and probably the most thorough and helpful user’s guide I have come across. OPPO gets an A+ for delivery and shows by the extras included that they are delivering a high quality product to the consumer.
The BDP-83 has exceptional build quality for this price point and it’s a selling point for this player. The slim but solid chassis weighs in at 11.2 pounds and the front panel has a suave but simple look with an attractive brushed metal finish and minimal amount of buttons. The display, front and center, is large and easily legible with baby blue lettering. Logos and buttons are silver in color and front panel buttons include open/close, power, and a control ring which includes play/pause, stop, fast forward and reverse. The unit’s powers light glows with soft blue lighting. The disc tray rests right above the LED display and has smooth and quiet operation. The BDP-83 has a very refined appearance that would make it an attractive player in any A/V systems including those that are high end. One pet peeve I found was that if the player was placed in the A/V rack at or above eye level the bottom of the display text would be slightly cut off.
The back panel also spares no expenses, featuring gold plated connections for 7.1 or 5.1, and stereo analog audio, composite video, and component video. Digital connections include Toslink and coaxial inputs, a HDMI 1.3 compliant connection, a 10/100 Ethernet port used for BD-Live and online firmware updates, IR ports for remote control, and a USB 2.0 connection. All connections feel sturdy and are of a higher quality than what you would find on an entry level DVD players. Everything is clearly labeled for easy setup.
On the Inside
Video processing on the HDMI side is handled by Anchor Bay Technologies ABT 2010 processor which features proprietary VRS 10-bit video scaling, mosquito noise reduction, and proprietary lip synch technology. The analog video connections of the BDP-83 are not processed through the ABT2010 processor, so the maximum potential of this player will only be unlocked when using HDMI connections. Here is a glimpse of the inside of the BDP-83 where we can see the separate boards for the power supply, main board, and analog audio section. A/V connections are braced on the inside of the chassis for additional durability.
The dedicated stereo analog output uses the Cirrus CS4398 DAC. The 7.1 channel analog output uses the Cirrus CS4382A DAC. The analog video output uses the built-in 148MHz/12-bit video DAC in the video decoder chip.
The BDP-83 Is chock full of features. For starters, the BDP-83 is a full profile 2.0 player that features both BonusView and BD-Live capabilities. The BDP-83 is also HDMI 1.3 compliant and features support for both 30-bit and 36-bit Deep Color. This simply means that when we actually start seeing Deep Color media become available, this player will have the ability to display it. BD-Live on the BDP-83 is accomplished through the Ethernet port located on the back of the unit. The BDP-83 also features 1gb of internal storage so additional memory cards or flash cards aren’t needed to make BD-Live titles work properly. It’s a nice extra for OPPO to include and in comparison, many manufacturers have been skimping on the amount of internal memory and instead force consumers to purchase their own to achieve full BD-Live compatibility. Thumbs up to OPPO! Also, when this 1 GB of memory has been filled, storage can be regained by deleting unwanted content through the menu system.
The BDP-83 is really like a media center because of its support for additional media formats. The BDP-83’s officially supported formats for media are BD, DVD-A, DVD-V, SACD, AVCHD, CD and Kodak Picture CD. The player will however handle formats such as JPEG,MP3, DivX,MKV, and AVI fairly well but the player may experience some glitches from time to time. It is likely OPPO will release firmware updates that address support for additional media formats.
Video output choices are between 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p50, or 1080p60. The BDP-83 offers 1080p/24 output with compatible displays and the BDP-83 is also one of a select few players able to upconvert standard DVDs into 1080p/24 output. Besides the selectable resolutions, the BDP-83 also offers Source Direct mode. In Source Direct mode, the player outputs source material in its original format untouched by any processing or scaling. It’s a desirable feature to have for those who prefer to use their external scalers or processors to handle the video duties.
The BDP-83 was a breeze to set up because of the well designed menu system. After the BDP-83 has been connected and powered on the player begins with the easy setup wizard. This allows for picking the video connection, the default resolution, and the audio preferences. This wizard is great for home theater novices as it shows images of what the connections look like. All of these choices can be revisited at any time after finishing the setup wizard.
Since OPPO often releases firmware updates that address new enhancements, it’s a good idea to check OPPO’s website for new firmware and update the player with the latest release. Firmware updates can be performed in one of three ways. They are, using an internet connection with the player, using a USB stick, or burning the update onto a CD. I preferred using the USB stick method to accomplish the task, but if the player is connected to the internet, the player will automatically detect and download new releases, so it’s just as easy and download times are relatively quick. To update by USB, simply download the new firmware update file from the OPPO website to the computer’s hard drive and then unzip the file onto a USB stick. The USB stick can be placed into either one of the BDP-83’s two USB 2.0 ports and the player will automatically sense that there is new firmware available and will prompt the user to apply the update. The process can also be done manually through the menu by pressing the Setup button on the remote, selecting Device Setup, Firmware Upgrade, and then VIA USB. After the update has been initiated, there is an onscreen and front panel display that shows a progress indicator. It’s very important that the player is not disturbed during this process as any interruptions or power loss during a firmware write can render the player useless. For this review, the player was tested using the June 11 Beta Firmware Release.
Here are the screen shots during the setup procedure.
You can take a video tour of the BDP-83’s features by clicking HERE.
I liked the BDP-83 remote control a lot due to its straightforward and intuitive layout. It’s about the same size as most universal remotes but the buttons are fairly large. All of the buttons are also clearly labeled and some of the more commonly used ones have familiar icons stamped on them. The remote employs excellent backlighting so it’s also very easy to find buttons in the dark.
Load times on the BDP-83 were brisk. DreamWorks’ Tropic Thunder, which is Java-based, clocked in at 35 seconds. Non-Java-based titles, such as the remastered version of The Fifth Element will load much faster. Load times have always been a complaint of Blu-ray player users, and this player performed pretty well in that category.
No doubt about it, the BDP-83 produces a beautiful image for Blu-ray. The player exhibited excellent chroma and luma details with even distribution amongst the frequencies. The player also showed that it can display all of the below black and above white information properly without clipping.
I used the popular Warner Bros title The Dark Knight to get an idea of the video quality in real world use. The blacks were excellent and gave the image depth and dimension. In the pan over intro scene to The Dark Knight, every bit of detail is preserved as you can see the fine lines of the buildings and the detail of the roof structure with perfect resolution as the camera pans. I also found the color representation to be very precise on the BDP-83 with natural representation and an image free from banding problems.
For standard DVD upscaling to 1080p, I did an A/B comparison between OPPO’sÂ DV-980H universal DVD player and the BDP-83 using HDMI outputs on both players. Source material used was New Line Cinema’s The Fellowship of the Ring Special Extended Edition disc one. Upscaling on the BDP-83 was top notch. The colors produced were vivid and the blacks were very deep which gave a three dimensionality to the image.Â Nothing was missed in any of the detail, and the image was sharp and had good clarity. While the images on both players had excellent detail and were free from artifacting, I’d give the edge to the BDP-83 for having slightly deeper blacks and richer colors, whereas the DV-980H looked a tad softer and washed out. In addition, setting the BDP-83 to output the DVD at 1080p24 frame rate gave motion a very fluid and lifelike appearance. Having the 1080p24 feature available is great to have, and it can breathe new life into your favorite DVDs.
The BDP-83 has five speeds of fast forward and reverse, and they worked very smoothly. The player also features an informative on-screen display that displays the audio codec, bit rate, title and chapter, and time remaining on the track. Video resolutions can be changed on the fly using the remote control.
The OPPO BDP-83 performed beautifully in terms of the sound. You can use the 7.1 analog pre-outs if you have an older receiver, and the sound was very good. Distortion was low, and everything sounded crisp without being sibilant. The BDP-83 decodes Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio internally, and will deliver the sound through the 7.1 analog pre-outs. Of course, if you have one of the newer receivers with HDMI inputs, you can send your music from CDs, SACDs, DVD-As, SD DVD movies, and Blu-ray movies to the receiver in digital format.
We went through several movies, but also some SACD and DVD-A, and the player handled all of them without a hitch. The analog outputs had more noise than the HDMI connection, but that is to be expected, since analog cables pick up noise along the way from the player to the processor. Although you can select bitstream or PCM for the various media through the HDMI connection, and there are some measurable differences (see the Audio Measurements section of Benchmark Performance), I didn’t hear and difference between them. However, SACDs and DVD-As both sounded more detailed than CDs. The difference between the high rez formats and CDs is not as dramatic as some have stated, but it is noticeable. For me, though, it is the discrete multi-channel sound in SACD and DVD-A that makes them so enjoyable.
You can change the way the player handles the signal by selecting bitstream or PCM. I measured some differences, but I could not really hear any difference between the bitstream mode and PCM mode.
Taken is a great action film that we reviewed recently, and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is the codec. I am delighted that we finally have players, processors, receivers, AND the movies with the high rez codecs. The sound is just breathtaking.
The Matrix 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release has 5.1 Dolby TrueHD sound. I found myself gripping the arm rests with so much action and such tremendous surround sound that is not compressed. My four subwoofers are finally getting the workout they were meant to have.
The Punisher has 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and what I have found is that movies which have 7.1 surrround make a point of using all seven channels quite a bit. The movie was pretty good, but the sound just blew out the walls. It’s disappointing that so many movies make such little use of the surround channels. A typical 5.1 release will use the surrounds mostly for the music.
For music, Yuko Maruyama’s DVD-A, In Tone Nation, is superb both as a performance and as a sound demonstration. I am getting more and more convinced that listening to music in a discrete high rez surround format is much more enjoyable than stereo. Of course, there are surround sound discs out there that are produced in such a way that you have the drums behind you on the left, piano behind you on the right, sax front left, guitar front right, and singer in the middle. That sort of balance is not very natural in terms of how you would hear the performance live. But, engineers are getting over the novelty of surround sound, and beginning to use the multiple channels appropriately. In Tone Nation is one of them, and so is Michael Murray’s SACD release of classical organ arrangements. In fact, this particular disc gave me more of an “I am sitting right there with the pipes” than any organ music disc I have ever heard. Two channels don’t cut it anywhere near what 5.1 does in cases like these. I have begun to see music being released as Blu-ray discs, so I think high rez, multi-channel music will survive. Producers will have their choice of DVD-A (where most of the popular music seems to be), SACD (classical music appears to favor this format), and Blu-ray.
In sum, I really didn’t have any complaints about the sound quality at all. But, I preferred using the HDMI connection as it had less noise.
The first step to getting BD-Live working is setting up the BDP-83 on a local area network with high speed internet. This can be accomplished by making a wired Ethernet connection between the BDP-83 and a router, or by using a wireless game adapter that has a connection to a wireless router. It’s also best to allow the player to use DHCP to assign the IP Address and DNS Server. The player does have the option to enter these fields manually as well if need be. Once the network connections are set up, a connection test can be performed to verify successful connection to the internet. I used Universal Picture’s Frost Nixon and Hellboy 2 releases as well as DreamWorks’ Tropic Thunder release to test out BD-Live.
After about 3 minutes, downloads were complete for Frost Nixon and I was taken to Universal’s BD-Live center where I could view trailers of other Universal titles. Trailers loaded almost immediately. There wasn’t any content specific for Frost Nixon, so it was a bit of a disappointment. Moving along, the content for Hellboy 2 took seven minutes forty five seconds to load and as well as a set of trailers, there were also a couple short video clips that offered some additional artwork for the movie. Nothing special. Overall, the experience with the Universal titles wasn’t very good for content and performance was also a bit sluggish. That’s not necessarily a fault of this player as much as it is for content development for BD-Live. DreamWorks’s Tropic Thunder content took around seven minutes to load and included lots of funny behind the scenes interviews and improvisations. If you enjoyed the movie, then the BD-Live extras are worth the download. BD-Live is still a developing format, but it’s starting to appear on more titles.
The BDP-83 is a media center and media can be accessed from either disc or USB Media using the two USB 2.0 ports on the player. The USB ports are also used for applying firmware updates to the player. These USB ports can accommodate external hard drives but since thy only supply 5V, 500ma of power, external hard drives will need their own power supplies. Additionally, the USB storage device must be formatted in the FAT or FAT32 file system since the BDP-83 is not compatible with NTFS formatted storage devices. Once the USB device is plugged in, the Home button is pressed to display a menu which allows selection of music, movie, or pictures. USB1 or 2 becomes an available choice for navigation when you select any of these items.
Music files played with no issues and basic features like shuffle random repeat one repeat all are present. If the music file contains information such as album art it will be displayed otherwise, only track and time is shown.
Viewing images on a home theater system is a nice feature to have and I often find myself sharing photos of recent vacations with friends on my 52″ LCD display. Here, the BDP-83 gives you a preview thumbnail with file information including date, size, and file type, and a list of all the photos that are present on the CD or USB stick. After selecting the photo, a full screen image pops up and will automatically go into a slideshow mode. The slideshow feature also has variable speed choices (slow, normal, fast) that vary from 5 seconds, 10 seconds, and 15 seconds per slide. The pause button must be pressed to prevent the player from displaying the next available image. The image quality here looked excellent. While viewing the photo, one can flip, rotate, or zoom and pan in on the image by using the arrow keys and the zoom button on the remote control. Music can also be added to the slideshow by starting a music track or playlist first, then pushing the home key and beginning the photo slideshow.
Movie files loaded very quickly and the player was responsive when navigating through the video. The display button will bring up additional information including time marker, sound, and video format. The remote control can mute or change the volume of the track or you can change the resolution and use the zoom function as well. There are five speeds of fast forward or reverse that work very smoothly. The BDP-83 wasn’t able to play any of my WMA, or MP4 files, however I didn’t experience any problems during playback of AVI, DIVX, or MKV files with the exception that I couldn’t get the player to display file information on the specific MKV file I was using.
The BDP-83 had excellent image quality and deinterlacing performance while using HDMI connections. This is due to the fact that the venerable ABT2010 is handling the video processing on the HDMI side. Because the component video outputs are a completely separate signal path and are not processed through the ABT2010 processor results were different when testing from the analog outputs. Our benchmark test for core video performance measures from the component video outputs using our Tektronix Oscilloscope and measurements were taken at 480p, 720p, and 1080i resolutions. (Click on the chart to see a larger version, and then click on the small square with four arrows in the bottom right hand corner to make it full size. You can drag it around on the screen with the left mouse button to read the entire chart.)
The BDP-83 measured white level at a near spot on 99.7 IRE, passed our below black test and also showed that it can display images without cropping any pixels. The BDP-83 did exhibit a Y/C delay issue at 480p resolution from the component video connections that slightly improves at 720p resolution and is not an issue at 1080i resolution. On the HDMI side, the Luma and Chroma signals were observed to be aligned precisely and both Chroma and Luma resolutions are shown without breakup or lack of intensity in fine details. The analog frequency response of the BDP-83 was measured at 1080i with a generally flat distribution across the frequency spectrum translating to excellent picture quality with excellent detail and clarity. The BDP-83 passed all of our tests for the CUE error with flying colors, including the more difficult ICP test.
The BDP-83 did very well in our HD section of the benchmark. The player was tested for proper 1080 i/p conversion with both 3:2 and 2:2 cadence material and passed both tests with flying colors. This kind of material is mostly present in documentary and concert footage and the BDP-83 will be able to display it without any loss of resolution. The BDP-83 is a motion adaptive player and employs very good diagonal filtering from its HDMI outputs. Thus, it will display moving images with diagonal lines without the presence of jaggies. The results from the analog outputs were not quite as stellar and jaggies can be observed at both 480p and 720p resolutions. Common examples of material with lots of diagonal lines are waving flags, hockey games, or on masts of moving ships.
The BDP-83 also passed our tests for banding and the player showed that it can display a full 1920-1080 image without cropping any pixels. The BDP-83 employs a mosquito noise reduction technique that is recommended for cleaning up the edges of poorly compressed video material. Our noise reduction tests are designed around both mosquito noise reduction as well as the state of the art noise reduction features found in HQV’s Reon or Realta processors and not every decoder chip can pass these tests without having these features. As the ABT2010 uses mosquito noise reduction and doesn’t employ either random noise reduction or temporal noise reduction techniques it’s no surprise that the BDP-83 only got a borderline score on this test. Noise reduction is not necessarily something everyone will use because as more is applied, detail is generally lost in the image. We still include this test in our Blu-ray benchmark as we find some users favor the varying results achieved with noise reduction tools especially when viewing material that has poor video quality.
Standard DVD Performance
Oppo was one of the first manufacturers to achieve a perfect score on the Secrets DVD benchmark, and I’m happy to report they have continued their tradition of excellent de-interlacing with the BDP-83 while using HDMI connections. Since the component video connections don’t take advantage of the ABT2010 processing the results vary on the analog side.
Using HDMI connections, the BDP-83 passed all of our film based tests with flying colors. The player also showed exceptional results on our high detail tests that use both the Super Speedway clip and the more difficult Coliseum pan-over scene from Gladiator. The player locked onto the material immediately and every bit of fine detail was preserved. Using component analog video connections the player had difficulty with chapter breaks as well as material encoded with improper progressive flags.
On video based material, the BDP-83 did equally well. The player is motion adaptive, and video to film recovery and transitions were speedy. Real world 2:2 cadence material such as our Natural Splendors test played perfectly without any loss of resolution. In addition, one can force the BDP-83 to processing a 2:2 even, or 2:2 odd cadence which can be relevant if the source material is known to be encoded in a specific format.
In our usability section the OPPO also was exceptional. The player was very responsive to commands and had brisk operation overall. The layer change clocked in right at a respectable one second which is a passing score for our test.
Audio Measurements (JEJ)
Using the left channel of the stereo analog output, and a test CD, I measured less than 0.003% THD+N using a 1 kHz sine wave.
With DVD-A signals, and the analog output, distortion was very low, much like it was with CD.
SACD, using the analog output, measured somewhat higher distortion, mainly because of the out-of-band noise that 1 bit Delta-Sigma codecs have. There is a slight difference in the distortion for DSD (bitstream) vs. PCM, but I don’t consider this to be significant.
For IMD, analog output, distortion was low for all three formats (CD, DVD-A, SACD). Notice that for SACD, when the player converts it to PCM before outputting the analog signal, the out-of-band noise is less.
To illustrate the effect noise has on the measurements, here are two graphs of a 1 kHz sine wave (both using the analog output), one at 24/192 with a 96 kHz bandwidth, and the other with SACD, and the bandwidth limited to 22 kHz. Notice how the 24/192 THD+N is higher than in the other graphs, and the SACD measurement is lower (because all that out-of-band noise is excluded).
Here is the measured frequency response of all three formats, analog output. It’s flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and then there is a slight rise in the SACD and 24/96 DVD-A response of about 0.5 dB.
With the HDMI connection, through a Denon AVP-A1HDCI processor (using the XLR output of the front left channel, and the volume set to 0 dB, in Direct mode), distortion was less, both as an PCM and bitstream digital output signal from a test CD (16/44.1) than it was using the analog output from the player. 24/96 distortion was about the same as it was with the analog output. But, notice there are much fewer distortion and noise peaks from 20 Hz to 20 kHz for the SACD digital test signal via HDMI than it was with the player’s analog output, in fact, the measured THD+N was at the limits of my measuring system.
For IMD, distortion at 24/96 and 24/192 from the HDMI digital port was about the same as with the analog outputs, but was higher with SACD. However, note the lack of the 14 kHz and 21 kHz harmonics with 24/96 and 24/192 via HDMI compared with the analog outputs.
Shown below are the SACD test disc graphs for an input signal that is a combination of 19 kHz and 20 kHz sine waves. First, is the set of graphs using the analog output. Besides the obvious noise, there are significant side peaks next to the two input peaks.
Now here are the graphs using the HDMI digital output into the Denon processor. Notice that there is much less noise and that the 1 kHz B-A peak which is prominent with the DSD bitstream output, is lower when the DSD is converted to PCM in the player. The out-of-band noise is lower with the PCM output as well. It’s nice to have a choice of outputting the SACD signal as a DSD bitstream or having it converted to PCM in the player before output. Also, it is this particular set of graphs that illustrate the difference in the digital to analog conversion of a $500 player, vs. the conversion when performed by the DACs in a $7,500 SSP. Bottom line: This is a fantastic player, but use the HDMI output if possible. The DACs in the BDP-83 are there if you must use analog outputs (they are essentially a token), but this is really a player designed to deliver everything in digital format, and it is the digital circuits where the money has been spent.
Below is the frequency response of all three formats, HDMI digital output. For CD and DVD-A, the frequency response rolls off sooner through the HDMI digital output than through the analog output, and there is actually a very small rise in the analog response at the extreme high end. The SACD HDMI frequency response is nearly the same as with the analog output. Notice that conversion to PCM in the player makes the response roll off sooner than DSD bitstream for both the analog and HDMI digital outputs. Essentially, however, the frequency response is within 0.2 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz in all cases.
In a system with HDMI connections, the OPPO BDP-83 is an extremely desirable player to have because it’s a fantastic Blu-ray player with a beautiful picture and speedy operation. Standard DVD processing is top notch as well and the player features high quality audio output for all the latest HI Def sound codecs as well as additional media types such as DVD-Audio and SACD in both bitstream and PCM output. Because the BDP-83’s component video connections don’t take advantage of the ABT2010 processor, the performance is not near as good and doesn’t get quite the recommendation for systems limited to analog video connections. However, with the BDP-83’s HDMI capabilities, its performance on the bench, the exceptional build quality, their continued support to their product line, and the inclusion of features such as BD-Live and additional media playback, OPPO has an out-of-the-ballpark grand slam home run. Highly Recommended.