Oppo BDP-103 review

 
Oppo BDP 103 review

This is a review of a new freshly minted Oppo BDP 103 unit, and I have no financial interest in it, nor do I work for Oppo or any related company.

First the technical blurb off the official Oppo Website:




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I have highlighted the interesting bits in RED.

High Definition Video and Audio from All Sources.

The BDP-103 represents a marked evolution in OPPO's design and engineering. New to this model are exciting features such as 4k video up-scaling, 2D to 3D conversion, dual HDMI inputs and MHL compatibility. A new dual-core System-on-Chip processor delivers quick startup and fast disc loading speed. With improved network streaming applications and an enriched media playback interface, the BDP-103 is a versatile player that delivers quality picture and premium sound.
Features
Diversified Media Support:

  • Blu-ray Disc - The high definition Blu-ray Disc™ format provides pristine video and audio quality for your home entertainment.
  • Blu-ray 3D – Experience high definition in all new dimensions. The BDP-103 supports the Blu-ray 3D specifications and is fully compatible with Blu-ray 3D discs1.
  • 2D to 3D Conversion – Take your standard DVD, Blu-ray, and other video content to the next dimension by converting them into 3D with the simple press of a button. The BDP-103 can also adjust the depth and eye convergence levels to suit your personal preference.
  • SACD - The BDP-103 plays Super Audio CD (SACD) and supports both stereo and multi-channel high resolution audio programs. Users can select whether to output the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) signal in its native format or convert it into PCM.
  • DVD-Audio - The BDP-103 plays DVD-Audio and supports both stereo and multi-channel high resolution audio programs. Users can select whether to play the DVD-Audio or the DVD-Video portion of the disc.
  • Netflix Instant Streaming - Instantly watch TV shows & movies streaming from Netflix3. Netflix "Just For Kids" is a special selection of kid-friendly TV episodes & movies for younger viewers. It is included with your Netflix unlimited streaming membership. Selected titles support features including 1080p video, 5.1ch audio, subtitles and alternative audio languages.
  • VUDU HD Movie Streaming - Stream thousands of movies instantly the day-and-date they are released on DVD/Blu-ray in stunning 1080p video, rich 7.1 surround audio and even in 3D2.
  • Pandora Internet Radio - Personalized music streaming using the Music Genome Project, staying true to their mission: "Playing only the music you'll love".4
  • Comprehensive Internet Streaming - In addition to Netflix, VUDU and Pandora, the BDP-103 provides access to popular entertainment network services from Film Fresh, YouTube Leanback and Picasa, with more to come.
  • BD-Live & BonusVIEW - The BDP-103 supports BD-Live™ (Profile 2.0) and contains all necessary hardware - audio/video decoder, Ethernet and wireless networking, and 1GB of internal storage - for BD-Live. It also supports BonusVIEW (Profile 1.1) enabling "picture-in-picture" and audio features for viewing director or actor commentary while the main movie is playing.
  • Additional Disc & Media Formats - Additional disc and file formats, such as DVD, audio CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, AVCHD, MP4, AVI, MKV and other audio/video/picture files on recorded discs or USB drives can be played back on the BDP-103. The BDP-103 fully supports high-resolution lossless WAV and FLAC audio formats.5

Unparalleled Video Quality:

  • Qdeo by Marvell - The BDP-103 incorporates Marvell's Kyoto-G2H video processor with the latest generation Qdeo™ technology. Qdeo video processing delivers a truly immersive viewing experience by rendering quiet natural video free of noise and artifacts for all types of content. For high-quality Blu-ray content, the BDP-103 faithfully reproduces the program just as the director intended; for DVD, the up-converted picture quality bridges the visual gap from your current DVD library to Blu-ray discs; for network streaming and user-encoded content at a variety of formats and quality, the BDP-103 offers enhancement options including video noise reduction, compression artifact reduction, intelligent color, contrast, detail and edge enhancements. To learn more about the Qdeo video processing technology, please read the Qdeo Extended Technology Brief.
  • 4K Up-scaling - Enhance the home theater experience with four times the resolution of Full HD 1080p by up-scaling all video sources to 4K (3840 x 2160) output resolution.
  • DVD Up-Conversion - Per-pixel motion-adaptive de-interlacing and advanced scaling transform the standard definition image on DVDs to high definition output on your TV. Additional Qdeo video processing options help to deliver a clearer, smoother, and more true-to-life picture free of noise and artifacts.
  • Full HD 1080p Output - The BDP-103 features user selectable video output resolutions, including 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 4K.
  • True 24p™ Video - Many Blu-ray Discs are recorded at 24 frames per second, the same frame rate as the original movie's theatrical release. The BDP-103 can faithfully redeliver the original frames using 1080p 24Hz output (compatible display required) for smoother motion and a flicker-free, film-like home theater experience. It can also restore the original 24 frames per second progressive-scan video from well-authored DVDs and output 1080p 24Hz.
  • Source Direct Mode - For users who wish to use an external video processor, the BDP-103 offers a "Source Direct" mode. The original audio/video content on the discs is sent out with no additional processing or alteration.
  • Multiple Zoom Modes - The BDP-103 supports multiple levels of aspect ratio control and image zooming. Users can watch a movie in its original aspect ratio, fit to the full screen, or zoom in to remove the black bars on some titles.
  • Vertical Stretch Mode - For customers with a 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) display system, the player's zoom options include a vertical stretch mode to work nicely with an anamorphic lens. A unique subtitle shift feature allows the user to move the subtitle up and down, making it possible to see all subtitle text when using a 2.35:1 CIH display.
  • Advanced Picture Control - Users can have fine control of brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, sharpness, noise reduction, color and contrast enhancements.  The player can remember and apply three custom picture control modes to suit a variety of viewing conditions and content types.

High Fidelity Audio:

  • Dolby® TrueHD - Dolby TrueHD delivers lossless studio master quality audio designed specifically for high definition entertainment.  The BDP-103 supports bit-stream output of Dolby TrueHD via its HDMI 1.4a output. It can also internally decode Dolby TrueHD into LPCM and output via HDMI or the 7.1ch analog audio output terminals. Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus audio formats are also supported.
  • DTS-HD Master Audio™ - DTS-HD Master Audio delivers an auditory experience that matches the lifelike images of high-definition video with up to 7.1 channels that are bit-for-bit identical to the studio master. The BDP-103 supports bit-stream output of DTS-HD Master Audio. It can also internally decode DTS-HD Master Audio and output via HDMI or the 7.1ch analog audio output terminals. (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and DTS Digital Surround are also supported.)
  • 7.1-Channel Analog Output - Individual analog 7.1-channel surround outputs are ideal to connect to a 7.1-channel or 5.1-channel surround sound system. The BDP-103 delivers an incredible sound stage and an immersive surround experience. For users with stereo speakers, the 7.1-channel analog output can be configured to a stereo down-mix mode.
  • Digital Optical and Coaxial Outputs - For simple and easy connection to more traditional A/V receivers, the BDP-103 features both optical and coaxial outputs for digital audio.
  • Rigid Chassis Construction - Built around a steel chassis, aluminum faceplate, and center-mounted disc loader, the BDP-103 is designed to impress as well as to provide a stable base for the highest quality reproduction of your favorite media.

Ultimate Convenience:

  • Dual HDMI Outputs – Two HDMI v1.4a output ports are provided to offer the most versatile installation options to both older and newer HDMI equipment. You do not have to upgrade your A/V receiver to a 3D model in order to enjoy 3D. One HDMI output of the BDP-103 can be connected to a 3D TV and the other can be connected to a pre-3D HDMI v1.1-1.3 A/V receiver. For projector users, you can connect one output to a projector for home theater use and the other to a TV for casual viewing. For a multi-room installation the BDP-103 can output audio and video to two 3D or 2D TVs simultaneously.
  • Dual HDMI Inputs – Connect external devices such as set-top boxes and network streaming devices to take further advantage of the excellent audio and video processing functions by the BDP-103. The BDP-103 offers two HDMI inputs, one on the front and one on the back.
  • MHL Input – Simplify connecting smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to the home theater by using the MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) input port of the BDP-103. Display high resolution pictures, 1080p video and listen to pure digital music all while simultaneously charging the connected mobile device. The front HDMI input port of the BDP-103 doubles as the MHL input.
  • Wireless & Ethernet – Using the included wireless-N adapter or the built-in RJ45 Ethernet port, users will be able to interact with BD-Live content, watch instant streaming programs from providers such as Netflix or VUDU, playback contents stored on their home network, and keep the BDP-103 up-to-date with firmware releases to ensure maximum Blu-ray compatibility.
  • Triple USB Ports - Three USB 2.0 high speed ports are provided, one on the front panel and two on the back. Users can enjoy high definition video, high resolution photos and music directly from their USB drives.
  • PAL/NTSC Conversion - The BDP-103 supports NTSC and PAL systems for both disc playback and video output. It can also convert content of one system for output in another. (Subject to DVD and BD region restrictions.)
  • Back-lit Remote Control - The BDP-103 comes with a fully back-lit remote control for ease of use in dark home theaters. With its ergonomic button layout and clear labeling, operating the Blu-ray Disc player is easier than ever.
  • Universal Power Supply - The BDP-103 features a wide-range world power supply that is compatible with AC power from all regions. No worries about damaging the player due to incorrect power voltage.
  • External IR - For integration into home theater control systems, the BDP-103 provides an external IR IN port to use with an IR distribution system.
  • RS232 Control - For custom installation, the BDP-103 offers an RS232 control port with a rich control and communication protocol. Installers can easily program their favorite control systems to operate the BDP-103.
  • Remote Control Apps – For additional user convenience, the BDP-103 can be operated using remote control apps running on compatible smartphone and tablet devices. The remote control app for Android is already available. An app for Apple iOS devices is coming soon.
  • HDMI CEC - HDMI Consumer Electronics Control simplifies the home theater by allowing a single remote control to operate multiple devices.
  • Gracenote MusicID® and VideoID™ - By connecting to Gracenote's global media database over the Internet, the BDP-103 can offer an enriched playback experience by displaying Cover Art, Title, Artist, Genre and other media information for CD, DVD, Blu-ray and a wide range of digital media files.
  • DMP & DMR - Digital Media Player (DMP) and Digital Media Renderer (DMR) features enables wired or wireless access of audio, picture, and video files stored on DLNA-compatible digital media servers such as a computer or network storage device (NAS).
  • SMB/CIFS Access - The BDP-103 comes with an experimental feature that can access video, audio and picture files shared by computers on the local network via the Server Message Block (SMB) or Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocols.

Notes:
1Requires proper 3D television and glasses.
2Service available in the United States only. A VUDU user account is required to rent or buy movies and TV shows.
3U.S. - Netflix unlimited streaming membership required. International - Netflix is available in certain countries. Unlimited membership required. More information at www.netflix.com
4Service available in the United States only.
5Compatibility with user-encoded contents or user-created discs is on a best-effort basis with no guarantee due to the variation of media, software and techniques used.

Specifications

Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.
Disc Types
BD-Video, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE
BD Profile
BD-ROM Version 2.5 Profile 5 (also compatible with Profile 1 Version 1.0 and 1.1)
Internal Storage
1GB (Actual space available for persistent storage varies due to system usage)
Output
Analog Audio: 7.1ch, 5.1ch, stereo.
Coaxial/Optical Audio: Dolby Digital, DTS, up to 2ch/192kHz PCM.
HDMI Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio, up to 7.1ch/192kHz PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD.
HDMI Video: 480i/480p/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24/4Kx2K, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.
Input
HDMI Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, AAC, up to 5.1ch/192kHz or 7.1ch/96kHz PCM.
HDMI Video: 480i/480p/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24/1080p25/1080p30, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.
MHL Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, up to 5.1ch/192kHz PCM.
MHL Video: 480i/480p/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p24/1080p25/1080p30, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.
Audio Characteristics
(Nominal specification)
Frequency: 20Hz – 20kHz (±0.05dB), 20Hz – 96kHz (-4.5dB ~ +0.05dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >115dB (A-weighted)
THD+N: < 0.006% (1kHz at 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF)
General Specification
Power Supply: ~100V – 240V, 50/60Hz AC
Power Consumption: 35W (Standby: 0.5W in Energy Efficient Mode)
Dimensions: 16.8 x 12.2 x 3.1 inches (430mm x 311mm x 79mm)
Mass: 10.8 lbs (4.9kg)
Operating Temperature
41°F - 95°F
5°C - 35°C
Operating Humidity
15% - 75%
No condensation
Parts & Labor Warranty
2 Years

The review gear:

PS64D8000FM Samsung plasma TV

Denon AVR 4520 – XT 32, 11.2 capable with nine amps inbuilt, twin sub out
Front channels - Musical Fidelity A 5.5 stereo amp in HT bypass driving the 804D (Coming December)
Rotel 1572: 2 channel power amp with 250W per channel
Oppo BR player BDP 95 as CD and HT source for comparison.
B&W 805s, HTM4s centre, Radius 90HD for height and wide channels
PSB Image 10S Bipoles for rear back
Monitor Audio RXFX in dipole mode for surrounds
JL Audio F113
QED XT 300 for front and centre speakers
QED Micro speaker cable for the rest
HDMI cables : Audioquest Cinnamon, Forest; Aiborg flat HDMI cable, monoprice
Audioquest Snake subwoofer cables
Kimber KCAG interconnects
Assorted Xindak, PS Audio and other power cables
MK wall power sockets
Auralex support under the centre speaker
Da lite screen
Glass optical cables
It’s been about two years since Oppo came out with their BDP 93 and 95. These were the second generation Blu Ray players after the 83, which was a real game changer. The 83 gave the world a taste of audiophile music performance, whilst combining it with a kick ass and speedy video player.

Then the 93 / 95 provided 3D, and they were all well regarded as highly reliable, good quality and in particular the 95 won accolades for providing top video performance in a very solid music player. In fact the 93 was used as a OEM platform for other high end makers, and even one who took the 93 and planted it into their far more expensive player.

So after a hiatus of two years, seeing fans around the world discussing, clamoring and finally lusting after a replacement, we get news of the 103 / 105 series.

In essence, what are the differences:

-       4k capability
-       USB Inputs, which support external hard disk based video players
-       HDMI inputs

Other niceties are a remote control app, and one unpleasant new addition is the Cinevera restriction. How this will affect you will be a whole new article, so do read it up elsewhere on the web, there are plenty of very comprehensive articles.

The 105 will also provide a means of using the Oppo as a DAC, as well as all the video capabilities of the 103.

So is this enough to please the fans and attract new ones?


When the first BDP 83 came out, it was a fast loader, had a very decent video chip and was well supported by Oppo. Given that Blu Ray was a very unfinished work at that time, it helped that Oppo responded quickly with firmware updates, and fixes for each disc that broke the player.



The key question owners of older Oppo players will need to ask is:

Are the new features worth your time in upgrading, or is it just a LAGS – “latest and greatest syndrome” short of thing?

4k ready discs are not going to be out for a year or more, and the feature of using the internal video chip of the Oppo via HDMI inputs is less important if you are using this with a current generation mid or higher level AV amplifier which may also have a very good quality chip.

If you are considering the Oppo as a top grade transport and sending your video and audio signals to the AV amp, this should suffice, but those who want better audio performance may want to see what the Oppo 105 offers.

The price gap is very significant, USD 500 versus 1200. In return you will get significantly better audio playback quality when using the analogue outputs and if you have external players with a digital output, they may benefit from the solid DACs built into the Oppo 105.

Interface, and response

I had a Oppo BDP 95 side by side, and there was minimal differences in the drawer opening time, with the Oppo 103 maybe just a hint faster. Both were very responsive, but the newer 103 responded to the remote presses just a bit better. Also the remote design is slightly different but you can use the remotes to control play functions interchangeably.

The 103 begins with a new look, which emphasizes it’s internet and social media roots, but reacts accordingly when you insert a BR discs, DVD or CD. It also allows you to insert an external media, like a USB drive to play.

A nice feature is that you can go to the setup menu without having to stop the disc playing. The interface is very intuitive, and if you have used any Blu Ray player before you probably don’t need to read the manual to get it going.

Remote

The Oppo remote is a competent backlight job, but the build quality will not win any awards. The rubber buttons, lack the quality feel, of the best, such as the Pioneer Kuro or even the older Toshiba XA2 HD DVD player, where the remote is seems to be hewn out of a single solid piece of metal.

Build Quality

The build is above average, and the player is silent, unlike the older 95, which uses a lot of relay switches, causing a lot of clicking sounds. The set I had, did not come with any RCA protectors, otherwise the packing is impeccable as usual.

Video playback

Comparing BR playback to the older 95, I did not see significant differences, especially if you rely on the Direct function. Even on DVD playback, there are little differences. But the player is good enough to justify an outlay in cables. There are distinct differences between my old monoprice cables and the newer Audioquest Cinnamon or Forest cables and you can clearly see these differences. BR offers superb clarity and details, and the Oppos are very good at showing off every single pore.

Your yield on the video quality will depend on the screen. If you only have a 50” or smaller screen, most decent BR players under $300 USD will allow decent video quality from BR discs that are well recorded. And if you only watch BR discs and do not need excellent upscaling, then that’s enough.

I also used a well recorded THX rated DVD – “Titan AE” to see how is the upscaling performance of this set. The picture is pretty decent on my 64” TV, but and at 2.8m from the screen, it will give you much pleasure in keeping those DVDs especially for shows that have not yet come to Blu Ray.

So if you have a good DVD, and wish to keep it, it will be worth investing in a better upscaling chip, like what you can get in this Oppo.

The 103 manages judder, jaggies quite well, and it will be hard to find another player costing under USD 500 with such a video performance.

Audio

The 103 is a more basic player than the 95, and if you intend to use the analogue channels a lot for music, it may be better to wait for the 105. But if you just need a transport, for music to a DAC and for BR disc viewing, this is a very solid deck, with the chops to make for a every decent transport.

It comes equipped with optical, co-axial and of course HDMI output options, plus those HDMI inputs for things like an external media, or even an Apple TV to enjoy better picture quality.

Conclusion:

So how does it perform in the grand scheme of things? Let me quote something I had written a little earlier about the Oppo 83:

“So who should buy this? This player is in a slight awkward position. There are scores of cheaper BR players around, some of which are less than a tenth the price of this baby. …
  The money goes towards the sound so this one is for the discerning audiophile who wants better video performance.”

This player isn’t for the budget home theatre aficionado; who wants maximum value for money. He may be want a budget BR player that costs under USD 300, and mainly uses it for BR discs and DVDs. His system will be less than $3000 for everything and may not upgrade. There are other options. For example, a Sony S 790 player can also do most of the formats, including SACD and 4k. That Sony costs around USD 250. So what do you get for USD 200 more?

This is what I call a “more” player…

This is a player that does every format, and adds good video performance, plus the HDMI input capability, 4k upscaling, and the ability to play from your hard disk and it also makes a solid transport if you wish to add a good DAC later on. So if you have a larger screen, and you want more in terms of video quality, and don’t want to ponder if there is a significantly better player out there for similar or even twice the money, this is it.

So this player will suit those who have an eye for detail, appreciate better quality, be it video, sound and wants the ability to upscale other components. This videophile will also have a projector or large flatscreen TV, and wants the a much better player for his collection of BR discs, and may also have some legacy DVDs which he would like to upscale well.

The person also wants a bit of everything, and he is not sure if SACD, DVD-A are what he wants, and wants a finger in each pie for not too much. This player will not need to be upgraded for a while, even in the home of a discerning home theatre enthusiast. The ability to play SACDs via the HDMI or the analogue outputs will be a great asset for those who want to experience high quality sound.

For previous Oppo fans, they can take comfort that this new player can perform as well as their older players, so if the older player such as the 83 needs replacement or the owner is upgrading to 3D, this will definitely satisfy them.

For new potential owners, they will be buying into a very well built player that does everything well and in particular has a solid video section.


Footnote:

The results my testing of the audio quality of the player will be posted later on when I have run in the player a little more.

Pros:

Solid Build
Excellent video chip
Responsive menus and interface is very intuitive
Will be a good transport for those who want to add a DAC later
Locking on of the HDMI signal is very swift

Cons:
Poor quality remote – rubber buttons don’t inspire
If you have an older Oppo, you won’t get as much wow factor
Cheaper players for just BR playback on a small screen so the cost conscious buyer may shun this player

That’s it!









3 comments:

  1. I spent $230 for a Samsung Samsung BD-D6700 blu-ray player back in Sept 2011. It lasted 16 months and started to freeze and skip. I updated the firmware and used one of the disc cleaners and it would still freeze. I spoke to Samsung and they told me it would cost $110 for repair. My old Oppo BDP-83 is 42 months old and it is still playing. My replacement for the Samsung is going to be another Oppo. This is a good example of you get what you pay for. Another comparison is that the cost of ownership per month has been less with the Oppo.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is quite a review! You really covered all the bases in doing this one. While the price gap is a bit steep, it will probably be worth it to future-proof your system. It may sound as a LAGS situation, but I actually believe in converting every few years just to keep it current and not incur problems especially when a new widely-used technology comes out.

    Angel Garcia

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    as a first time visitor to your blog I am very impressed.
    thank you :)

    ReplyDelete

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