This is the very first review of an Oppo product, a company that is based out of Silicon Valley. We have been hearing only good things about it from various sources and if that doesn’t raise expectations, we don’t know what will.
OUT OF THE BOX
Someone once said that you can find God in simplicity. We aren’t sure about God, but we are sure that the BDP-103’s simplicity helped us find a quick reason to give it a couple of points. The cabinet is conventional—rectangular, hard edges, disc-tray at the centre and buttons on the right side. What stood out from the ordinary was the display that has been moved from the conventional centre position of the front panel to the left side of the disc tray. The build seems rigid enough to stand the test of time, while the buttons are hard enough to rely on and soft enough to press lightly. The back panel is moderately loaded and is very well-marked and arranged so as to make user understandability as easy as possible. At first look, it may appear simple, but if you look under the hood you will realise that is what makes the 103 such a talked about piece of home-entertainment.
The player uses Marvell’s Kyoto-G2H video processor with the latest generation Qdeo technology. The idea is to get every piece of video upto Blu-ray quality. So, while Blu-rays are left untouched, DVDs get upscaled to 1080p and online content gets a host of video enhancements like video noise reduction and compression artefact reduction. These are features you usually find in your TV or projector, so it is good to get this added bit of tweaks right at the source, too. Since we are talking about its video enhancements, the 103 can also upscale to 4K resolution (3840x2160). That is great, but if you could only find displays and projectors that are cheap enough for home-usage that can display that type of resolution.
As far as versatility is concerned, the player can handle standard Blu-rays along with 3D Blu-rays, DVDs and SACDs. The last one is really helpful if you have a stack of SACDs that haven’t been able to find new homes ever since manufacturers stopped making the players. For some reason, they are coming back because this month alone, we have got two SACD players.
Using the included wireless-N adapter or the Ethernet port, you can hook up to the internet and access features like VUDU HD movie streaming, CinemaNow, Pandora internet radio and a whole lot more. Unfortunately, most of these movie sites aren’t open to Indian viewers yet, so we’ll have to wait. Connectivity has reached a new high with the BDP-103. Besides the standard USB ports, video/audio options, you also get dual HDMI inputs and outputs. Now, you might wonder why two of each are present, when this is a simple source that just needs an HDMI ouput? Well, the inputs are to connect external devices like set-top boxes in order to take advantage of all the video enhancements that the 103 provides. It is a little like an AV receiver. One HDMI input is at the back and the other is on the front for quick access. The HDMI outputs are even better. They have been provided to remove your need to upgrade your AV receiver’s firmware to support 3D. So, you can have one HDMI output going to your 3D projector/flat panel while the other goes pre-3D to your AV receiver for audio amplificiation. You can also use these two ports to send one to your projector and the other to a flat panel for casual viewing. This last option is for people who don’t have an AV receiver that can help in HDMI distribution.
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