oppo

First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

I’m taking my plans to upgrade my home theater to 3-D slowly and easily, one small step at a time. Step 1 is to get a 3-D Blu-ray player. That happened this week when the OPPO BDP-93 arrived on my doorstep. Let the unboxing begin!

The OPPO BDP-93 is one of the most anticipated HT hardware releases of the year. The OPPO Digital brand is famous among discerning home theater nerds for both its high quality standards and its very strong value propositions. OPPO’s DVD players frequently ranked among the very best for standard-def upconversion on HDTV screens, yet were priced (relatively) reasonably compared to other high-end solutions. The company’s first Blu-ray player, the BDP-83, has been my reference Blu-ray playback device since its debut, and I know many other home theater reviewers who use the same. If I’m going to go 3-D, I definitely want to be in OPPO’s hands for the transition.

For the time being, I don’t yet have a 3-D display to connect this player to. Until that happens (which is still to be determined), I’ll only be able to test it in standard 2-D mode. I’ll post my results with that more as I get time to play with it. In the meantime, let’s start with some tantalizing photos of the unboxing. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

You can’t start an unboxing without a box:

box First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

Here’s the first shot of the box’s innards:

innerbox First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

The instruction manual:

instrux First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

A smaller box holds the accessories:

accessorybox First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

Here are the accessories. I believe that’s a wireless bridge kit at the bottom. I don’t know if that comes standard, or was put in special for early adopters.

accessories First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

OPPO always includes a carrying case for the player. It’s a nice touch, though I can’t say I’ve ever used one.

carryingcase First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

There she is, the BDP-93 herself:

oppo93main First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

A close-up of the OPPO logo on the front panel:

oppologo First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

And a look at the right side of the front panel:

frontpanel First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

Finally, here’s a shot of the connection terminals on the back panel:

backpanel First Tentative Steps into the Third Dimension

The BDP-93 has two HDMI outputs. One is the standard HDMI connection, while the other is dedicated exclusively to audio. This allows you to connect the player to a 3-D display with one cable for video and to an older HDMI 1.3 A/V receiver separately for audio. That’s something I plan to take advantage of, because I have no plans to change my receiver.

31 comments

  1. Bryan

    Both HDMI ports deliver audio and video. HDMI 1 utilizes the Marvell Qdeo chip for video processing, while HDMI 2 utilizes the same MTK chip found in the BDP-80.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I stand corrected. I still haven’t hooked it up yet. I may be thinking of Panasonic’s implementation, though I could swear that OPPO had previously indicated that the second output would only be used for audio.

  2. Andy

    How on earth did you get a hold of a BDP-93 already? I have checked both Oppo’s website and every other website imaginable for availability every single day since October!

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      The player I received is technically a pre-relase unit with beta firmware. OPPO offered these to a limited number of users as part of an early adopter program. Part of the responsibility of the users is to test and report firmware bugs to the company.

      I recommend that you sign up on the OPPO web site to be notified when the player will be formally released.

      • Andy

        Josh, any handshake issues with the BDP-93 so far? I wrote to Oppo yesterday, inquiring about why they haven’t released this to the public yet. They told me that there have been some major handshake problems so far, and that they are trying to work out all of the bugs before releasing it for purchase.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          I haven’t had much time to use it so far. I hope to do some testing this weekend.

          Typically, OPPO won’t release a product until problems like this are fixed and they’re sure it’s ready.

          Also, keep in mind that handshaking issues could be specific to interactions with certain brands of equipment.

          • Andy

            Ok. Please keep us updated. I’d love to hear if you experience problems handshaking with your receiver (Denon I believe), or any of your other equipment.

          • Loni

            Josh,

            Are you ever going to update us about the BDP-93? I would really love to know if you’ve experienced any performance issues with it.

  3. hurin

    Lucky, I have the Oppo 80. I rarely watch DVD’s anymore and don’t need analog sound, so I didn’t see the need to buy the 83.

    I envy the dual HDMI outputs, the NTFS and FLAC support. My preprocessor won’t let the signal trough if I use deep color, but I’m not sure I would see any improvement if it did.
    As an anime fan the best thing about the Oppo is it’s ability to play MKV files, while it does have subtitle support it’s not it’s strongest point. I wonder if they look better on the 93. If I get an MKV file bigger than 4Gb I have to split it, and if it has FLAC audio, I first have to extract it, decompress it to WAV, convert it to AC3 and finally put the MKV file back together again.

    • Why not buy a cheap WDTV or Viewsonic, or popbox or something to play all those files without any headaches? It would totally be worth the money and you wouldnt have to convert anything back and forth just to watch them

      I would tend to wonder myself what the advantage a high end Bluray player would have myself, the PS3 has always been touted as one of the best players on the market, how can one of these Oppos really make that much of a difference anyone can notice?

      Dual HDMI would be nice so you wouldnt have to send anything through a receiver to get to your TV, but otherwise I cant imagine such a big difference to spend this much money on something over anything else

      • hurin

        I’m probably making it sound as a bigger problem than it is. My laptop has HDMI out, which is what I used before I got the Oppo.
        The big files with flac sound are Japanese BD rips as opposed to TV shows, and my laptop just isn’t powerful enough to handle a large 1080p movie without stuttering.

        It’s also much more convenient to transfer the files to a USB key than using a laptop.

      • Ubertrout

        The BDP-93 can play multichannel FLAC, which the WD and (I believe) Viewsonic units cannot do. I’m also not sure if those units can play high-resolution FLAC, which the BDP-93 can also handle. The BDP-93′s handling of audiophile files matches much more expensive audiophile units, not the consumer-grade players.

  4. I don’t want to start a war here, but I fail to see why OPPO and other high-end players sell so well with enthusiasts.

    I saw a OPPO DVD demoed a few years back, and it WAS AMAZING. The OPPO players have GREAT DVD upconversion and video processing.

    However, with a Blu-Ray player, the player simply passes the information along via HDMI to the tv. Right? And then the television processes the video. Or am I totally wrong on this?

    I am sure this player has a great DVD upconversion, but I also have a Toshiba HD-DVD player, and these were known for having very good DVD upconversions.

    Quite frankly, as far as straight Blu-Rays have gone, I haven’t seen any difference between the cheapy sub-$100 models, the PS3, and the $600-$1000 models I have seen hooked up through HDMI. Is it snake oil, or is there REALLY a difference between players?

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      As far as raw Blu-ray playback video and audio quality goes, there’s a pretty level playing field among most Blu-ray players these days. Among other things, what sets OPPO apart are:

      DVD upconversion- Most people still want to consolidate Blu-ray and DVD playback in the same unit.

      Fast loading times – The DBP-83 runs neck-and-neck with a PS3. I expect the same from the 93.

      SACD and DVD-Audio playback – This is still a desired feature among audiophiles, but most universal players are limited to high price units from brands like Denon or Marantz.

      Stability and firmware support – OPPO players have the fewest playback issues with problematic discs among standalone Blu-ray players, and the company is very aggressive in rolling out new firmware when needed. OPPO’s customer support is second-to-none. They will very often have new firmware ready within days to a week of a problem being reported. Compare that to the big brands like Panasonic or Samsung. You’re lucky to get one new firmware a year from them, if they even bother to support models more than a few months old at all.

      • SACD is not a feature on most players? Just never thought about it, I got it on the PS3, and love it. Sadly, there seems to be a lack of good content. :-( Not sure if the PS3 supports DVD-Audio, haven’t tried.

        But I guess if you didn’t have a PS3, and wanted features like that, the OPPO would be a good solution.

        Speaking of SACDs, anyone know of a good place to find them? I guess I could check on Amazon – I buy everything else there.

  5. ah darn, I had a comment after the first paragraph, and it looks like the message board saw it as an HTML tag or something and didn’t display it. :-( I basically said that I flinched to try to avoid the barrage of beatings that were sure to come.

    • hurin

      I don’t see why you should, it was a reasonable question.
      No there isn’t really all that much difference between BD players when it comes to BD playback, and even cheap BP players like those from Panasonic do excellent DVD upconversion.

      What sets the Oppo apart is all the little differences usually not found on other players, MKV, SACD, subtitle shift, source direct and so forth. Hey, if you get the SE version you can get high-end analog sound for the fraction of the usual cost.

      • Now I forgot about the subtitle shift feature, THAT is cool.

        I got a HTPC, so a stand-alone player to play MKVs is kinda redundant to me. I use to use transcoding software to convert files for streaming to the XBox and PS3, but finally bought an DVI to HDMI cable and just play off the computer. Now if I can just get a decent remote to control VLC. The one for the iPhone works fairly well, but that means I either have to unlock my phone if i want to pause, or risk draining the heck out of my iPhone battery to leave it on.

        The features described sound very similar to the PS3 (well, except Sony never takes responsibility for when their firmware updates bricks PS3s). And I use an HD-DVD player for upconversions (or the PC). But I guess I could see, if I wasn’t a gamer, or if I wasn’t an HD-DVD player owner, what the appeal would be.

        • Tim

          Without getting into a big PS3 versus standalone debate, the Oppo players offer some other features valued by audio/videophiles:

          *Better integration with universal remotes (PS3 uses Bluetooth so it won’t work with a Harmony out-of-the-box
          *SACD/DVD-A support. Only the first generation of the PS3 offered this feature.
          *Analog outs. Users of older AV equipment (pre-HDMI days) can use standalone players to send high definition audio over analog cables. On the PS3, it’s HDMI or…basically nothing.
          *Lower power consumption on standalones. Most standalones consume about 25 watts of power, while the PS3 uses about 100 or more. Less heat is produced and therefore cooling requirements are lower for most standalones.
          *Form factor. Some audio/videophiles like to rack mount or stack their equipment, which is difficult to do with the PS3′s unusual shape.

          All this to say that one option isn’t better than the other; it’s just a matter of personal preference.

  6. Tim

    Josh: I assume those logos on the front-right of the Oppo are not removable stickers? IMO, those logos ruin Oppo’s redesigned faceplate.

      • Tim

        It’s not a dealbreaker, but it is annoying.

        “Honey, what are you doing in the kitchen? It’s 2:30 in the morning…what’s on the stove?”

        “Simple, I’m boiling my new Blu-ray player.”

        [Wife shakes head and leaves without saying a word]

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          The logos on the 93 are of the same type as the SACD and DVD logos on the 83. There’s a few more of them, but they’re a darker shade of gray and actually don’t stand out as much.

    • hurin

      The Oppo 80 front plate is plastic, but the front of the 83 and the 93 is brushed metal (not sure if it’s colored steel or aluminium), sandpaper is a definite no-no, but if you went and bought some really harsh cleaning products that dissolve plastic it should be possible to remove the stickers without damaging the metal underneath.

      Just don’t sue me if I’m wrong.

      • hurin

        Actually the best way to do it would be to remove the face plate and put it in boiling water.
        It might not work but there should be no chance of damaging the metal.

  7. hurin

    He, he. The point I’m trying to make is that it would by impossible to remove the stickers on the 80 because it’s plastic on plastic, so whatever you did to damage the icons would damage the faceplate as well.

    But the icons on the 83 and 93 are plastic on metal, so of course its possible, you just need a process that damages the plastic but not the metal, I’m just not exactly sure how.
    Removing the faceplate and exposing it to boiling water would be the best way to start, since it shrinks plastic and dissolves glue but has no effect on metal.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Personally, I’ve always found 24p playback for DVDs to be problematic. Most DVDs, even big important titles from major studios, have bad cadence flagging at some point or other. It’s very rare that I’ve ever played a DVD at 24p and not encountered a serious trip-up that causes the image to stutter badly. And this isn’t just a momentary stutter. The entire movie keeps doing it until you pause and restart. I find that unacceptably annoying, so I just watch DVDs at the regular 60 Hz.

      I think that 24p conversion for DVDs is an overrated feature. The format really wasn’t designed to accomodate it properly.

  8. Josh Zyber
    Author

    I’ve been meaning to write some follow-up posts about the player, but the holiday crunch has taken up too much of my time with other work.

    I did not personally experience any handshaking issues. For those that did, OPPO recently issued a firmware update to resolve that. The player is now officially open for general sale with that new firmware.

  9. “I believe that’s a wireless bridge kit at the bottom. I don’t know if that comes standard, or was put in special for early adopters.”

    Any update on what this is? Clearly it’s for USB, but I’m clueless. (Pleae be kind, this is my first “high end” HT gear). I ordered the player on Saturday when it was announced and it arrived Wednesday, which I find amazing since it crossed the entire country so quickly. Anyhoo, I was not in their test pool and this item was included in my package.

    Great player so far. Haven’t even gotten to using it for Blu yet. So far the upscaling improves on my entry level player and the SACD/DVD-A is spectacular.