May 08, 2009

Oppo BDP-83 review - true universal player: Blu-ray, DVD, CD, SACD and DVD Audio

Cool gadgets

This week I got delivery of the fantastic Oppo BDP-83 player. This unit is the first true universal player on the market: it can play not only Blu-ray and DVD movies, but also CD, SACD and DVD Audio discs.

The unit replaces my former Marantz DV-9500 player that I owned. This was a great player but surprisingly developed a problem with the tray loading mechanism after 3 years of usage: the rubber belt used in the drive mechanism worn out and had to be replaced. In the process of replacing it, I accidentally destroyed the small sensor that detects whether the tray is opened or closed. Calling the Marantz customer support was not helpful: I couldn't manage to get the part that broke even after 4 calls. I decided it's not worth taking it to a repair shop and pay few hundred bucks to have it fixed, so I waited until the new Oppo player was released.

I could not be happier with this decision. The player is smaller and with a much cleaner user interface than the Marantz player it replaces. So far the image and sound quality are very much on par with that of the Marantz player, at a quarter of the price. I got the player for $500 and picked it up directly from Oppo, in Mountain View, CA.

I decided to get the player with the RS-232 option, so I could control it remotely with a computer. The serial port was not originally mentioned in the specs of the player, but it is now an option that can be added to the player for $89.

I am pretty impressed with the way the company decided to release this player. They had an Early Adoption Program (EAP) in which they released the player to a limited number of customers, so they can collect feedback from customers that use it on a daily basis. They collected the feedback and displayed it on their web site, for everybody to see, which is quite impressive in itself. After the first round of customer testing, they fixed whatever problems occurred, released a firmware upgrade and asked EAP customers to test the unit again, this time also asking whether people think the player should be released or not. At the end of this phase, 88% of the customers voted for the player to be released. The company decided to release the player, since most of the remaining problems were pretty minor and could be fixed in future firmware upgrades. I think this a great way to release a product like this and can only applaud the company for doing it!

Check out the gallery of pictures of the player in my current home setup.

Posted by ovidiu at May 08, 2009 08:13 PM |

What software are you using on the PC for control?

I've looked into VCrib, MisterHouse, OpenRemote...but haven't been able to dig deep yet.

I've also considered looking for a webserver that can push POST commands through to an RS-232 port...

Drop me a line if you have anything you'd like to share.

Posted by: DMytty on May 16, 2009 05:40 PM

I wrote a Python program, which listens to commands sent over IR or command line, and is able to issue requests to devices.

I extended it a bit to also handle events coming from the devices themselves, so I can change the configuration of the devices based on inputs. For example when the DVD player detects an SACD it sends out an event, that's intercepted by my program which in turn tells the receiver to switch to 7.1 channels, and turns off the TV automatically. It's more powerful than having macro abilities on a programmable remote.

The program is pretty specialized for my setup, and it's generally useful. I'm thinking of extending it to add a web interface, so I can control it from my phone or any WiFi enabled device.

Posted by: Ovidiu on May 16, 2009 11:57 PM

Would you mind sharing your python code? I've been considering picking up this language and I could perhaps use your code as an interesting learning project (beats Hello World hands down).

I ordered the Oppo with RS-232 with the same sort of intentions as your A/V configuration (that's how I found your blog). Would be interesting to see where this might go...

Posted by: DMytty on May 17, 2009 10:29 AM

I received my OPPO BDP-83 last week and couldn't be more pleased with the purchase.

This is one amazing device, see comments below I sent to OPPO customer service. Amazing picture clarity even on standard definition DVD, my old copy of the "5th element" never looked so good. this unit is also and incredible transport for 2 channel stereo.

The unit keeps on briging a smile to my face, I loaded a SD-DVD that I was enjoying yesterday and to my utter surprise the player picked up the movie exactly where I was when I took the disc out last night...Truly a spectacular Universal player...Koudo's to OPPO

From: Paul sanscartier []
Sent: Fri 5/15/2009 7:36 AM
To: OPPO Service
Subject: BDP-83

Hey Guys/Gals, Just received my Blue Ray players and wanted to extend a warm
pat on the back for a job well done. It's nice to find a company that's
independent, taking on the big boys in a niche market and "Kicking their
collective Butts".

First of all, I commend you for your early adoption program on the BDP-83, I
did not make the cut for the testing but did receive one of the first units post
early adoption testing. You folks made good use of the Internet by posting
updates and keeping everyone current with what was going on with the release of
the unit.

Secondly, your packaging blew me away, again well done, quality material from
the box to the OPPO bag housing the player, to the AC cable, remote and even the
HDMI cable and the OPPO black box that had all the "stuff" in it.

Thirdly the unit itself is spectacular, from the onset, the set up wizard was
quick and easy, the system set up menu was intuitive and the remote was
extremely easy to navigate. Last but not least performance: I was not
disappointed when I fired the unit up, I started with the test disk and was
pleased that my monitor (Sony XRB 70" 1080p) passed all the test with
flying colors!.

Then I proceeded to music, loading up a set of standard CD's that I test
all my equipment with, I am one of those old "die hards" who loves my
2 channel stereo and is always looking for that perfect balance between HT and
stereo. I gotta tell you, although you folks don't do much promoting of the
units sonic qualities for 2 channel, it was very musical, very detailed. The
unit actually picked up some nuances on tracks of Holly Cole, Running on empty
and a Bocelli CD that were not readily apparent on my other player's
(Denons, Rotels), the base even sounded tighter and more defined than my
Gemstone AMP was ever able to produce with my Mirage M5 si. Keep in mind I had a
pretty good system to start with, so the fact that the OPPO was able to set
itself apart in this quality set up (i.e. land of diminishing returns) was
noteworthy in itself. The mids and highs seem to open up with more a tad more
range than I've been able to detect in the past. All in all this is a
fantastic 2 channel transport for even the ardent purest.

Next was the video, I popped in a few DVD DTS and DD video, (Eagles hell
freezes over and Paul Mc Cartney Back in the US) and again was not disappointed,
all this through an old Rotel RSP 980 (yes I still love that Analog sound), the
OPPO detected formats quickly and was able to select them or let me choose.
Decoding was flawless....Now Video, this is what all the press was about and yes
the unit preformed as advertised, extremely crisp, accurate detail, brought a
whole new level of visual pleasure to the joker in Dark Night. Compared to my
previous BD players the load times on the BDP-83 are lighting fast, glad to see
you addressed this as it is a huge drawback with most of the current BD players.

I'm off to do some more testing today but really wanted to commend you
folks on an outstanding product and "delivering the goods". Keep up
the great work!

I didn't see anyplace on your website for investor relations, I understand
you are a private company but I always like to invest in things I believe in.


Paul Sanscartier

Posted by: Paul on May 18, 2009 10:03 AM

I got my Oppo BDP-83 last week. Very nice machine - a quantum step forward in build quality over previous efforts. I thought the inclusion of the Spears and Munsil benchmark disc was a nice touch, albeit a gutsy one. Obviously, they believe in their product.

While going over the disc, I found a few areas in which the player was performing poorly, or so I thought. I sent a couple of emails to Oppo, who are FANTASTIC, by the way. My questions were answered within an hour or two, and each suggestion was dead on the money. The machine is now set up properly (I may not have even caought the problem without that test disc) to perform in my system, and it rocks. Great player, great company.


Posted by: JW on May 24, 2009 05:11 PM
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