Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player Review

Physical Tour

Front Panel:

The BDP-83 features a clean-looking, brushed black aluminum front panel with the usual controls.  There are buttons for Power, Open/Close, Play/OK, Chapter Skip Forward and Back, Stop and Pause.  The disk tray sits above a display with information on disk type, track, time, playback status, audio track and channel number, HDMI (if active), network (if active) and camera angle.  There is also an IR receiving eye to the left of the disk tray.

Rear Panel:

The rear panel of the BDP-83 sports all the connection options you’re likely to need.  Moving from left to right, there are 7.1/5.1 analog audio outputs, as well as stereo audio output jacks.  Next are both coaxial and optical digital audio outputs, followed by analog video outputs (composite and component), LAN port and USB 2.0 jack.  Finally, there is the HDMI output, both IR input and output (for pass through to another Oppo component like their HDMI switch), exhaust fan port and power cord connection.  RS-232 control can be obtained as an option for an additional charge.

Remote Control

Oppo’s previous products have had some pretty basic remotes, but that all ends with the BDP-83.  The BDP-83’s remote is fully backlit (activated by a button at the bottom of the remote) and has buttons to cover nearly every function imaginable.  In addition to the usual number keys and disk playback functions (Play, FF, Rewind etc.), there are buttons for changing the resolution (which can be done during playback), adjusting the output volume and mute, dimming the front panel display and turning off the video during audio-only playback.  There is also a set of four colored buttons (red, green, blue and yellow), which are primarily used for special features during photo or music playback.

Finally, while most components these days have discrete On and Off controls available, very few actually place those buttons on the remote.  The BDP-83’s remote has both a “Power” toggle button and dedicated On and Off buttons.
Another thoughtful touch is two separate recesses on the backside of the remote.  When your index finger is in the upper position, your thumb is aligned with the navigation buttons.  When in the lower recess, your thumb is aligned with the transport buttons.  This makes it easy to access the most used functions without using the backlight..

Finally, for those who have other Oppo DVD players (which use the same remote commands), the BDP-83 remote can be set to one of two alternate IR codes (via a slide switch in the battery compartment) to avoid interference with your other players.  Overall, the BDP-83 has one of the best remotes I’ve seen with a DVD or Blu-ray player.  While some might feel that there are too many buttons, overall this is a well-designed remote.

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Oppo BDP-83 General Performance

Once connected to your system (which can be done with the included 6’ HDMI cable), the first time you power up the BDP-83, you will see a six-step “Easy Setup Wizard” that makes it a snap to be quickly up and running.  After the introductory screen is displayed and you select to continue with the wizard, the next four screens prompt you to select your primary video connection (HDMI or component), output resolution (including an “Auto” setting that matches the output to the display), aspect ratio and audio setting (which allows you to use HDMI for audio or the digital inputs).  The final screen confirms completion of the setup.

From there you can go into the extensive setup menu and make all kinds of changes, or simply pop in a DVD or BD (Blu-ray disk) and enjoy.  In addition to the usual menu items, the BDP-83 features the ability to set the output to 1080p/24Hz output (to match a 1080p/24Hz display), conversion of DVDs to 24Hz (also upscaled to 1080p) and a ton of picture adjustments including detail and edge enhancement, noise reduction, Y/C delay, CUE (chroma upsampling error) correction, HDMI Deep Color (not currently used on any source) and audio/video sync adjustment.

For those using an external video processor (although the BDP-83 processing is equal to or better than anything out there), there is a Source Direct mode, which allows you to output the disk at its native resolution (i.e.: 480i for DVDs, 1080i or p for Blu-ray).  Another feature aimed at the home theater is the ability to stretch a 2.35:1 movie (which displays with black bars on the top and bottom when using a standard 16:9 (1.78:1) screen) vertically to remove the bars.  This distorted image can them be projected through an anamorphic lens to properly display on a 2.35:1 screen.  This is a very handy feature if you’re using an anamorphic lens with a projector that is unable to do this processing.
As the BDP-83 has a network connection for support of BD-Live, it can also obtain firmware updates from Oppo through this connection.  As I mentioned previously, Oppo is constantly seeking to improve their products and does so with firmware updates.  While you can do the update by downloading it to a USB thumb drive, it’s even easier to do via your home network.  For those using a wireless network, Oppo offers a wireless bridge as an option for the BDP-83.  Speaking of BD-Live, the BDP-83 has one GB of flash memory (required by the BD Live spec) built-in, but the USB port can be used with a higher value thumb drive to increase that capability.  I’m not a fan of BD Live as the download time involved is too much for the minimal features available.  This may change in the future, but for now it’s not much of a draw in my opinion.  Suffice it to say that if you have the BDP-83 connected to your home network and have a BD Live-enabled disk, the BDP-83 will access all of its features.

In addition to its disk playback, the BDP-83 can play a variety of video, audio and picture files directly from a USB thumb drive.  Unlike their previous DVD players that offered this feature, the BDP-83 also includes playback of high definition video files (supporting many of the current file types).  This is a welcome feature for those with a library of HD home movies or other HD video files.  Having a front panel USB port also makes this an easy feature to use.

For those who want to optimize their video performance, Oppo includes a new Blu-ray test disk created by video evaluation veterans Stacey Spears and Don Munsil.  This disk features a number of excellent test patterns and video to calibrate your entire system.  Not coincidently, this disk also demonstrates how good the video processing of the BDP-83 really is.  Oppo sells the disk separately for $24.95, so getting it included with the player is a nice bonus.

Although its unlikely that anyone would buy this player to use with a component video connection, it should be mentioned that to reap the benefits of the BDP-83’s superior video processing, you must have an HDMI or DVI (w/HDCP) equipped display.  Use of the component video outputs on the BDP-83 will result in a 1080i signal being output for BDs and 480i/480p for DVDs (unless they’re not CSS-encrypted).  Also, unlike previous Oppo DVD players, there’s no ability to make the BDP-83 region-free for DVD playback.

Now that we’ve got everything dialed in, let’s take a look at how the BDP-83 performs.

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