One of the most anticipated hardware releases in Blu-ray history is finally going to materialize. After a protracted beta-testing and early-adopter sale program, Oppo Digital is releasing the BDP-83 to the general public Ė or at least, those in the public that had emailed the company showing interest in the player. The first units will ship in May.
While nowhere as popular as more mainstream consumer-electronics brands, Oppo has long enjoyed a good reputation among home theater enthusiasts for their upscaling DVD players, which offered top-notch audio and video quality, and supported all kinds of formats such as SACD, DVD-Audio and HDCD. Since the advent of Blu-ray, many wanted Oppo to apply their know-how to the development of a Blu-ray player which hopefully would push the envelope of what current hardware did. However, for a long time Oppo declined such requests, arguing that the format was not sufficiently mature. Finally, in February 2008 a company executive disclosed that a Blu-ray player was in development.
The buildup towards the launch of this player has been quite unusual. A prototype was shown without fanfare during CEDIA in September 2008. The first product details were released in December. In February 2009, in a novel move for the field of consumer electronics, Oppo Digital started the "Early Adoption Program," by which initially 50 people would purchase the player (loaded with a pre-production firmware) and give their verdict on the product's readiness for mass launch. The program was later expanded to another 300 people, and finally in late April, a vote was taken as to whether to start a wider launch.
Now Oppo is sending out invitations to those who wanted to take part in the Early Adoption Program but were left out. According to a company representative, over 27,000 people had emailed their interest in the player. Only after all invitations have been fulfilled will the player be released to the general public.
The main features of this player are:
VRS deinterlacing and scaling
Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD bitstream and decoding
7.1-Channel analog output
Dedicated stereo output
Dual USB ports (one in the front, one in the back)
Backlit remote control
External IR in and out ports
The list price of the player is $599, but it can be preordered now for $499. Unlike the Early Adopter Program, which was limited to US residents, this sale is open to people in Canada (and also in Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates).
Most common Blu-ray users will not need many of the above features and thus a less expensive player model will be more than enough for them. Oppo is specifically targeting the niche of audio and video enthusiasts who require that extra that they haven't found with more mainstream players yet.
After establishing themselves as bold sellers of top notch DVD layers at affordable prices, OPPO has now reversed course and is pitching to the Denon high end market. $599 is just too much. There are some nice features, but hardly worth that kind of money. AND, the lack of region free support, or a way to adapt the player after purchase, is a real deal killer at that price point, especially seeing as large numbers of buyers became OPPO enthusiasts precisely because the OPPO DVD players could be made region free.
Comparing it to the current Panasonic players, there are a few key items of note that differentiate the BDP-83.
1. DVD-Audio support
2. SACD support
3. Better DVD performance (the BDP-83 is the equal or better of OPPO's 983H DVD player, which scored a perfect 100 on Secrets' benchmark last year).
4. Better analog output section than the BD80 (for folks that lack HDMI v1.1+ in their receivers)
If any of those features matter to you, there is a LOT of difference between it and the Panasonic players.
I have their DV-981HD Upconverting player, and boy is it ever good (solid upconverting, region free/pal conversion). This new Blu player contains the newer upconverting dvd chip, plus plays MKV files (a plus to me) ! It would be a no brainer for someone who wants the best upconverting player, and probably one of the best blu-ray players in one package. But not being region free is probably due to the blu-ray licensing. Still if you look at the price of their dvd players vs. the new blu player, its not too much of a difference, but region locked can be a deal killer.
A year ago I bought BD-P1400 for $420. Now this cr@p cost $120 on ebay. Its slow and annoying. Taking into consideration, that BD83 is blazing fast, DOES PLAY everything, price tag of 600 bones doesnt look agressive. More over, I going to spend extra bones in order to get those Hi-End mods. Definitely worth it.:-)
Rainman208, you need to work on your smeller. The price is $499. Yes list is $599, but Oppo on all previous models showed a list price that is closer to what they could have charged for the feature set and had a lower retail price. They have yet to change the price on a single model in their entire history, so $499 is the regular price. The limited availability is not for a price break, but to show appreciation for those who signed up to participate in the EAP and who followed the development for all this time.
For those complaining about no region free, stop bloody well blaming Oppo, theBDA plainly nixes region free, yes even for DVD, in order to gain a license to produce a BD player. Exactly how many region free players are out there outside of mod operations? Perhaps some manufacturers might be willing to risk getting their licensing pulled to include a much wanted feature, but seriously, how hard is it to grasp why a small company like Oppo would not risk all the development and production funds on this? No, the lack of a favorite Oppo feature is nothing to cheer about, but again, talk to the BDA then wait for a modded player or learn the magical alchemy that can transform DVDs to region free with very little effort.
On the pricing whining, seriously people, when the Oppo 983 came out there was the same whining and crying about how a $400 DVD player was too expensive and how Oppo was doomed. Know what happened? They couldn't stock enough of the thing. Now, for $100 more, one can get the same deinterlacing and upconverting, the ability to use said processing on 1080i BD material, the ability to play PAL features on region free BD titles, a superior analog audio section for those who need or want it, SACD, DVD-A, HDCD, PS3 level speed, great build quality, better support than you are going to get from any of the mega manufacturers, and a company that is willing to communicate with product owners and consider new features like further format support. Since my first Oppo player, the DV-970, I keep reading over and over again people wanting to talk about whether Oppo can compete with Panny, Samsung, or even the bargain basement brands. When are people going to get the concept through their heads that Oppo is not trying to compete with these companies? Their model is to try to get as close to Denon, Pio Elite and other high end brands at a price that mere mortals can afford. The only BD player with a similar feature set is the much delayed $4-5 K Denon. I have no doubt the Denon will best the Oppo in many areas, but at the price multiple, it darn well better. The Oppo player won't be for everyone. That is fine. If it isn't for you, get the player that matches your needs better, but before you blast the Oppo, at least understand what it offers to those of us who have large SACD and DVD-A collections who want a universal player at a better price than any other company is likely to offer.
I absolutely love my Oppo DVD player and love the versality that comes with it. This player I know will be top shelf and probably the best standalone BD player on the market once it hits. I hope they decide to keep it at $499 as that's about where it should price.
I do hope that they will come with a 2nd lower price model that is a bit more price competitive. While this model has all one could need, I think they could price a newer model with a bit less at about $349.
chelsea.tone, I think that Oppo is hoping for May 18th for general release, though I am not absolutely certain about that or that they will make that date in dealing with the early sales, but it shouldn't be much longer until general release.
BTW, at least one person on the AVS thread has communicated with Oppo and has been given confirmation that the $499 price is the standard release price.
I own an Oppo 983H which is a really great upscaler so this sounds like a pretty good player for anybody that wants a full featured blu-ray player along with top of the line upscaling. Unfortunately since I already have the 983 this doesn't offer much for me right now. But, when it comes time to replace my trusty panny I will give this unit a look for sure. The price really isn't bad when you compare the price to the 983. I paid $400 for mine iirc.
It will send SACD 5.1 over HDMI. It will also send it as either DSD or PCM depending on which you want.
This is one of the most fully featured BD players you could ask for with top tier video processing. This is essentially a Blu-ray player with the DVDO Edge VP built in. The only thing that is in the same league feature wise is the new Denon Universal and look at its price tag. I would bet video/audio performance via HDMI will be nearly identical with Denon taking the edge on analog audio output due to their top dollar analog audio section.
While not for everyone, this certainly represents the first player on the market that can truly replace some components some of us have on our shelves for high quality DVD, SACD and DVD-A playback.
Since this player covers SACD and DVD-A, if it can perform as well as the PS3 on BD-J titles (I'm looking at you PotC), then I have my new living room BD player and the PS3 can finally move back to the game room.