OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player Review

Ilya

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OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player Review

The latest OPPO player is here! Here is my review.



First impressions

The player is rather heavy and feels very solid. I do like its clean style and its brushed aluminum finish. Doesn’t look cheap at all (after spending $499, I wouldn't expect anything less :)). The player came enclosed in the OPPO signature bag and with a stylish black box for cables and remote. Nice touch! Also included in the box were: a heavy-duty high speed HDMI cable (with Ethernet support), a Wireless-N dongle, and a USB extender.

Picture quality

The Blu-ray picture on this player looks absolutely spectacular! Of course the same can be said about any high-quality Blu-ray player out there. However, what sets this one apart is how well it handles video noise reduction and upconversion. The latest Marvell Qdeo chip does excellent job in removing video noise and improving the picture quality. This is especially noticeable on DVDs in dark low-contrast scenes.

Dual HDMI outputs

The player features two HDMI output ports. You can display the image on two HD displays simultaneously or you can use one HDMI output for video and the other one for audio ("Split A/V" mode). This is especially convenient if your display is 3D-capable (HDMI 1.4 compliant), but your audio system is HDMI 1.3 and cannot pass the 1.4 signal.

However, the two HDMI outputs are not created equal. The new Marvell Qdeo processing is only utilized on HDMI 1, so that’s the preferred output for video. Keep in mind that HDMI 1 is the one on the right, and HDMI 2 is the one on the left. Somewhat confusing!

I did some side-by-side comparison of the two outputs (using a split-screen setup from two Epson 8350 projectors) and I do see significant difference between the two, particularly for DVD content. On the other hand, if your audio system can decode DSD (SACD Direct Stream Digital) and you prefer that over LPCM, then keep in mind that DSD output is only available from HDMI 2. I also noticed that HDMI 2 port creates some trouble for my projector when switching from one HDMI resolution to another, though quite possibly that can be corrected with a firmware update.

HDMI inputs

Are you running out of HDMI inputs in your A/V system? You are not alone! This player however can offer some help, as it has two HDMI inputs: one in the back and one in the front. Not only this can save you some money on buying an HDMI switch, but more importantly this will allow you to take full advantage of the Marvell Qdeo image processing for other video sources. In addition, the front HDMI input has MHL support (can charge some mobile devices).

Internet streaming

The player supports Internet streaming directly. It has built-in apps for Netflix, VUDU, Film Fresh, YouTube, Pandora and Picasa. I haven’t tried them all yet, but according to OPPO’s website, both NetFlix and VUDU streaming can handle 1080p and multi-channel audio (5.1 and 7.1 respectively).
Need more apps? The player supports the new Roku Stick ($99) via its front MHL-compatible HDMI port. (Though personally, I would rather buy a standalone Roku player.)

External media playback

In addition to playing disks, the BDP-103 can play external media from flash drives and external hard drives (connected via one of its three USB 2.0 ports), as well as play files over the network (via its Ethernet port or via included wireless-N adapter). Not only it can play via DLNA, as both Digital Media Player (DMP) and Digital Media Renderer (DMR), but it even can play files directly from a network share (SMB playback) without requiring any DLNA server! And as always, OPPO supports all kinds of data formats: MP4, AVI, MKV, and many-many more! (I only tried a few and they all played without any problems.) There is no eSATA or USB3 support, but I don’t think this is a big problem, especially with the SMB support over Ethernet.

3D

The BDP-103 is a 3D Blu-ray player. Unfortunately the front projector in my Home Theater is not 3D, so to try it out with some 3D material I hooked up the player to a 47” LG LED set in the living room and gave it try. I played some scenes from Avatar and Prometheus. All looked fantastic! Out of curiosity I did some A/B comparison with an LG player and the 3D image produced by the BDP-103 looked somewhat better, more natural, compared to the LG player, though honestly I didn’t have a chance to do enough comparison to state anything conclusive.

Multi-system support

If you have DVDs from other countries, you will truly appreciate the player’s multi-system capabilities. It can play DVDs recorded in PAL and either output the native PAL signal directly or up-convert it all the way to 1080p. In addition, with a simple “SuperDisk” software mod you can make this player region-free (for DVD). I tried it and it works like a charm!

SACD and DVD-A audio

The BDP-103 is not only an excellent video player, but it’s a great audio player too. Of particular interest to me, is its capability to play SACD and DVD-A formats. In fact, this was one of my main reasons to look into OPPO in the first place: not too many Blu-ray players offer this capability.

Limitations

Not entirely OPPO’s fault, but the BDP-103 does have some limitations compared to its predecessors, mostly caused by the latest industry requirements. Completely gone are the analog video ports (there is one composite video output in the back, but it’s for diagnostics purposes only). The player fully implements Cinavia copy-protection, which is now mandatory for all Blu-ray players. It means that some (presently only few) movies ripped from BDs may refuse to play. It cannot play ISO files directly, though reportedly there is currently a workaround: you can mount and play them via SMB (I haven’t tried that though).

Other features

This player can up-scale to 4K! Wow! That sounds intriguing! But that's probably the most useless feature for me at present, since it will likely be years before I can afford a 4K display and when I finally get one, I am sure it will have built-in up-scaling too. Having said that, I am glad the player can do 4K. It makes me feel better about investing in this player: it won't get obsolete too soon.

This player is very quiet! Not only its transport is very quiet, but it's new fan-less design completely eliminates any fan noise.

Very quick response to the remote, quick disk load. Nice backlit remote!

If you have an older surround system that doesn’t have HDMI, you will be happy to know that the player does offer 7.1 multi-channel analog audio outputs. Though if you are a true old-school audiophile who wants to stay in the analog domain as much as possible, then you may want to wait for the upcoming BDP-105 model ($1,199.00), which is supposed to have much better DACs. For the rest of us, the BDP-103 will do just fine!

Conclusion

So far I am very happy with this player! OPPO makes some of the best and the most feature-rich players out there and this latest model is no disappointment. This player produces an excellent HD image, while keeping it accurate, without doing any artificial “enhancements” and its up-scaling capabilities are superb.

The only question is whether the $499 price tag is justifiable. In my opinion, if you are just looking for a good Blu-ray player and you don't really need all other features that this OPPO BDP-103 offers, then you can save some money and a get a decent player for a fraction of that price. The Blu-ray playback on many players is so good these days that it will be hard for most people to tell the difference. However, if you want to have a top-quality universal player, that can do a great job playing various formats, if you have a large DVD collection and want to get the best possible picture quality out of SD, if you have DVDs from other regions, if you want your player to stream from the Internet and to play video in various formats from a media server on your network, if you want to be able to play SACD and DVD-A audio disks, and so on, then this OPPO player is the way to go! It has no equals!
 

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KE4EST

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Fantastic review!!
 

Ilya

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Remote control app

Oppo has released a remote control app for iOS and Android devices.

I tried the iPhone version and I like it! It's a very simple and easy to use app. It offers two versions of the remote: one is a close copy of the remote that comes with the Oppo BDB-103 player, the other one is a simplified version with just the basic buttons - all you need in most cases. The setup is very simple: you start the player and then launch the app. It searches for the player and then it is ready to go!

The app works on the iPad too, but it's an iPhone app, not optimized for the iPad resolution. However, on the iPhone 5 it does take full advantage of the 5's vertical resolution.

Here are some pics.


image-172037271.jpg image-3030860648.jpg image-900527347.jpg image-171780882.jpg image-4148857879.jpg

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navychop

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Hmmm. If it costs too much to repair my 83 I just might have to spring for this one.
 

gadgtfreek

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Im gonna sell mine on eBay soon, just need to find a replacement player.

Here is why (owned since early Oct):

I purchased it to use the dual outs (one to avr and one to display) and also use the HDMI IN for processing 1080i/60 from the DVR to 1080p/60 for the display. Since the beginning Ive had lip sync issues which still are not fixed, so I went back to using one HDMI out, not using the HDMI in, and running everything thru the AVR again. Now there is an alleged softness issue and undefeatable noise reduction (im sure plenty of player do this), which leads you to getting recommendations to use HDMI 2 (mediatek) which has a quirk or two. Then there is DVD, which everyone will straight up tell you to use HDMI 2 for. Look, I aint running HDMI 1 for Blu-ray and HDMI 2 for DVD, thats stupid. Furthermore, I was hoping theyd work out the sync issue in the newest beta that just came out, but they actually made it worse for some.

Long story short, everything I paid the $499 for doesnt work for me. I dunno if they didnt prepare properly, or its just not as good as the 93, but Im heading back to my Panasonics. I can throw 4 of them away for what I paid for this, and as someone who watches mainly blu-ray and nothing else, I see a BDT230 as being just fine. As far as reliability, the BD65 and BD85 I gave to relatives are still in service :)
 

Ilya

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Mine is a keeper! What makes it worth it for me is the superb picture quality, SACD/DVD-A support, excellent DVD upconversion, multi-region support and great streaming capabilities. Currently I do not use the secondary HDMI output and the only thing I use the HDMI input for is the Roku Stick.
 

gadgtfreek

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Id agree for SACD and DVD-A especially. Like I said, I bought mine for HDMI In processing and dual outs, both of which still dont work right...

maybe they took on too much at the end of the day and should have stayed away from the video processing option.
 

NightRyder

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Just got mine a few weeks ago and love it so far. Replaced a Panasonic that was a huge disappointment. Don't know what happened to Panasonic, Ive always had great luck with their players, but it seems cheap now trumps performance.


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NightRyder

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Which model panny? Their newer 200 and 300 series are kinda like frisbies (great PQ though) but the BDT500 is a premium unit.
320 - The thing would frandomly freeze up during disk playback and the audio for streaming service VUDU just stopped working.


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Ilya

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gadgtfreek

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At their recommendation, I tried setting in the AVR, the issue is from what I experienced it changes. Sometimes not much, sometimes a lot, its very strange. Im just gonna put my BDT500 back in service and sell the 103, I just wont be using it for more than Blu-ray now and itll sell for close to $400+ :)
 

gadgtfreek

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FYI,

I did some digging and reading on the HDMI 1 vs HDMI 2 thing, and the Marvell applying noise reduction. Even in Source Direct on HDMI 1, NR is still applied, just the way it is. Now whether it softens the images slightly like some claim, no idea and Im not that devoted to check :). I had some exchanges with Oppo yesterday and here is what I got back:

"You will want to use HDMI 2 if you want to use the output with the least amount of processing"

"With the newer players, there is no disadvantage to using HDMI 2 as the decoder is doing all de-interlacing and scaling in this situation, not the QDEO. The QDEO is only used for 4K scaling, Contrast Enhancement and Noise Reduction. If you are not using any of these features, then HDMI 2 offers the same performance."

Im a fan of Source Direct for Blu-ray, so Id be using HDMI 2 out and ycbcr 444 color space. Some even claim HDMI 2 (Custom Mediatek) is better at DVD so it's a possible win/win.
 

Ilya

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I did some split-screen comparison using two Epson projectors and I really liked the noise-reduction done by Qdeo. The difference was less noticeable on quality Blu-ray content, but more obvious on DVD. For me personally, video noise is one of the biggest distractions (perhaps because I sit too close to a 110" screen), so I always welcome any improvement on that front. I didn't notice any softness as the result of this noise reduction. (I wold gladly trade some video noise for some softness, but with Qdeo I didn't have to.) So, for me, HDMI1 is the way to go, but that's my personal preference.

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gadgtfreek

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FYI for anyone using the HDMI Input, with the latest Beta they introduced a bug that causes the video to get all herky jerky at times, which requires you to cycle inputs on the Oppo, or power off and then back on. It's triggered by watching a DD 5.1 program, then the feed changing to 2 channel for say a commercial or new program. This only applies to 1080i resolution video. They aware and will hopefully get a fix out soon.
I did some more toying with HDMI 1 and patterns, and found that I actually like the Sharpness +1 recommendation. I know thats heresy, but I think its an improvement :)
 

ronton3

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Thanks for the heads up about the jerkiness, I had not noticed it before I updated, nice to know there is a fix on the way. ron
 

Ilya

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New Official Firmware Update has been released: BDP10X-50-0422

Release Notes:

This release is for the OPPO BDP-103 and BDP-105 Blu-ray Disc players.

Special Notice:

1.Once this firmware version is installed on the player, you will not be able to revert back to any previous official or public beta firmware. There will be no problem upgrading to any future official or beta firmware release.
2. Due to the extensive changes in this major firmware update, it is required that the user performs a "Reset Factory Defaults" operation after the firmware is installed. Please write down your special settings before doing this, and remember to re-apply your settings and adjust the proper volume level (if applicable) before you play any content. You may experience stability issues if this step is not performed.
3. The new decoder firmware supplied by our chip vendor tightens the validation check for the AVCHD file format. If the files in the BDMV folder do not fully comply with the AVCHD specification, the folder will not play. (For example, if the files are from a disc backup instead of an original AVCHD recording, the player will reject it.)


This version is based on the latest Public Beta release version BDP10X-50-0323B. Comparing to the previous Official release version BDP10X-38-1220, the major changes included in this version are:

1. Added support for Direct Stream Digital (DSD) file playback from local storage. The DSD files can be either stereo or multi-channel. Both the DFF and the DSF formats are supported. (The channel mapping error reported in the beta firmware that affects PCM conversion of multi-channel DSD file has been corrected in this official release.)
2. Added support for CUE file playback. This function can be applied to music files on local storage and supported audio formats include FLAC, WAV, APE and MP3.
3. Added a feature that allows the creation of playlists while accessing music files from local USB storage. When navigating these music files, pressing the OPTION button will bring up a menu with a prompt to either "Add to playlist" or "Goto playlist". The created playlist file is stored within the local USB storage, inside "OPPO_Media_Info/playlist".
4. Added support for the AIFF audio format. (Standard AIFF files are supported. AIFF files with AIFF-C/sowt encoding generated by Mac OS X are not supported.)
5. Added support for the ExFAT file system.
6. Added additional Crossover Frequency selections (50, 70, 130, 140 and 160Hz) in "Setup Menu"->"Audio Processing"->"Crossover".
7. Added a feature that allows the user to decide which mode (Auto, Film and Video) to use when performing video de-interlacing. This can be set in "Setup Menu"->"Video Setup" -> "HDMI Options"->"De-interlacing Mode".
8. Added DMR Seek capability, so the user can drag the progress bar on the DMC side and adjust the media file playback progress on the player.
9. Resolved the HDMI high bit-rate (HBR) audio loss issue with Yamaha RX-V673, V773, A820 and A1020 AV Receivers. Customers have reported that when sending DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD signals in "Bitstream" mode through HDMI to these Yamaha receivers, any signal interruption (resolution change, source selection, etc.) will cause Yamaha to display "Audio Decoder OFF" on the front panel and produce no sound from the speakers. This issue has been resolved.
10. Resolved a recently reported FLAC file playback issue. Some FLAC files made from the latest version of the EAC (Exact Audio Copy) software tool could not be played on the BDP-103/105 players. This issue has been resolved.
11. Improved the down-mixing algorithm for the BDP-105's headphone output. This results in better volume and sound staging when playing certain multi-channel audio sources.
This change takes advantage of the main audio DSP (digital signal processor) that is normally assigned to the multi-channel analog output. When headphones are connected, the multi-channel analog output is muted and the DSP is temporarily reconfigured for stereo down-mixing, and its output is routed to the headphone amplifier. Please do not try to adjust the player's audio processing settings while the headphones are plugged in, as these settings are only temporarily used and will be restored to the user's original settings when the headphones are removed.
12. Added a feature that allows the adjustment of the audio delay time within the range of -100ms to +100ms. This can be set in "Setup Menu"->"Audio Processing" -> "A/V Sync", and the delayed time will be applied to all output terminals including HDMI 1 and 2, Coaxial, Optical, and 7.1 outputs (including the Stereo outputs of the BDP-105).
The actual audio delay effect might be different for each of the output terminals due to the different audio process algorithms and signal paths used for each output. Please adjust this setting based on the actual output terminal in use.
The negative adjustment values are for cancelling out the audio delay that the player automatically applies. Depending on the video source and the time it takes to process the video, the main decoder chip automatically applies an audio delay in order to optimize audio video synchronization. The negative manual settings reduce the automatic audio delay, while the positive manual settings apply additional delay. Any negative value setting beyond the player's automatic delay will be treated as completely cancelling the automatic delay. For example, if the "A/V Sync" value is manually set to -100ms and for the current video source the player applies a 70ms automatic audio delay, the final result is that the 70ms audio delay gets cancelled and the audio is not delayed at all. It is not possible to put audio ahead of video using this setting.
For content sent through HDMI IN, the "A/V Sync" adjustment only works with positive values.
13. Resolved the brief audio pop issue found on the 7.1 and Stereo audio outputs. This popping noise could happen when the player is processing content from a television cable box (through the HDMI inputs), and when channels are switched on the cable box. This issue has been resolved.
14. Added basic support for a USB keyboard. Some of the supported keys and their functions are:
Numerical keyboard: if Num Lock is turned on, functions as Numerical buttons; if Num Lock is turned off, functions as navigation buttons ("2", "4", "6", "8").
ARROW buttons (UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT): functions as navigation buttons.
HOME button: functions as HOME button.
END button: functions as STOP button.
Page Up/Down buttons: functions as PAGE UP/DOWN buttons.
ESC button: functions as RETURN button.
ENTER button: functions as ENTER button.
SPACE button: insert a space between characters on the soft keyboard.
15. Improved compatibility with some cable TV boxes, especially from Motorola. Customers have reported that HDMI handshake failures (such as blank green screens, flickering images, and frequent audio drops) could happen when these TV boxes were connected to the HDMI IN port (Front and Back). This issue has been significantly improved in this firmware. (We are aware of an occasional frame drop and audio/video synchronization issue that may still happen when accepting 480i, 576i or 1080i signals from certain cable boxes, and are working to resolve it in a future firmware version.)
16. Improved the support for large capacity external hard drives. The maximum size for a single partition can be up to 16 TB when using GPT partition table and NTFS or ExFAT file system.
17. Improved the digital audio compatibility with the Apple Airport Express (2nd Generation). Customers have reported that frequent audio dropouts were heard on BDP-105's analog audio outputs (both 7.1 and Stereo) when accepting a digital audio signal from the Airport Express 2's optical audio out. With this firmware, the audio dropouts have been eliminated or significantly reduced.
18. Removed a limitation in "Audio Processing"->"Speaker Configuration", that turns off the SBL and SBR speakers automatically when the Center speaker is set to "Off". However, if the SL and the SR speakers are set to "Off", the SBL and the SBR speakers will still be muted.
19. General disc compatibility improvement based on recent and upcoming Blu-ray releases as well as user-submitted disc samples.

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ronton3

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Thanks for the headsup

It is always nice to get a meaningful update. Thanks
ron
 

gadgtfreek

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The newest beta seems to have fixed HDMI input issues. Ive been using the Hopper with it since it was released and its been working great, FINALLY. Im still a fan of sharpness +1, at least for Dish. It reminds of a more subtle effect than the darbee, but it only works on certain parts of the image.
 

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