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Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player Review

Posted on July 24, 2009 by Art Feierman

Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player Highlights

  • Features Anchor Bay Technologies Video Reference Series (VRS) technology for the best picture quality
  • HDMI v1.3 compliant with 30-bit and 36-bit Deep Color support
  • Supports BD  “Profile 1.1” (for picture-in-picture and secondary audio) and “Profile 2.0” (for BD-Live)
  • Plays almost every disk and video format (see specs below)
  • Has true 1080p, 24 Hz video output for both BDs and upscaled DVDs
  • Supports multiple levels of aspect ratio control and image zooming, including a vertical stretch mode for a 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) display system
  • Decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio for output over HDMI or analog audio outputs
  • Dual USB ports (front and back panels) for playback of high definition video or photos from USB thumb drives
  • Optional RS-232 control
  • Spears and Munsil High-Definition Benchmark Blu-ray Disk included with player


Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player - Overview

While not a household name, Oppo Digital has made a name for themselves among both videophiles and audiophiles for their DVD players, which have combined top performance with great value.  When I reviewed their last DVD player, the since discontinued DV-983H, I remarked that they had pushed the DVD format to its limits, as the 983H made a DVD look at good as it possibly could.  So, the next logical step was to turn their attention to the Blu-ray format and the result is the new BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray player.

Oppo never rushes a product to market and the BDP-83 has been no exception.  In an unprecedented move, Oppo had two prereleases of the BDP-83 in what they called their “Early Adoption Program”.  In the first release, fifty customers (chosen at random from a list of interested customers) were given the opportunity to purchase the BDP-83 and report their experiences with the player (comments are posted on Oppo's website).  This led to a number of firmware upgrades being issued (as with previous Oppo products the firmware is user-upgradeable) to improve performance.  The first 50 were also asked to vote on whether the player was ready for a greater release.  A supermajority of 70% or greater yes votes would lead to a second pre-release.  This led to a second pre-release of 300 BDP-83s, whose owners would vote again for the general release.  After some more feedback and a firmware upgrade or two, the BDP-83 was recently released for sale to the general public with an MSRP of $499 (plus $89 for the RS-232 control option).

I received the BDP-83 for review about the same time as the first group of early adopters got theirs, so it’s been interesting to watch the progression of the BDP-83 as various bugs have been identified and solved.  The result is a world-class universal Blu-ray player with performance that is second to none.  The implementation of Anchor Bay’s VRS video technology combined with flawless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio decoding results in a gorgeous picture and all-enveloping sound.  SACD and DVD Audio sound quality is equally impressive.  While $499 may seem high when there are Blu-ray players out there for as little as $200, rest assured that no player in the BDP-83’s price range matches its combination of performance and features.  Read on to find out more about this great new Blu-ray player.

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