Well the folks at OPPO Digital are at it again. This time they have released a new high end Up-Converting DVD player. The DV-983H is the new gold standard in up-converting DVD players. It incorporates Video Reference Series processing (VRS by) Anchor Bay. This is the same technology used in video processors costing $3000 or more.
As in previous reviews we tested the 983 out of the box without any changes to the settings on the player. We tested the player on a properly calibrated 65 inch 1080p DLP TV so we did not adjust the player's settings. We watched Spiderman II (Superbit), Blackhawk Down, and Monster's Inc. Monster's Inc looked like it was an HD version of the movie, the other two movies showed a nice improvement over the DVD version watched on our Mac Mini (the Mac Mini also upconverts).
Like previous models we were impressed with how good our old DVDs looked. You could easily tell there was an improvement in the picture! The Superbit version of Spiderman Two looked very good and our torture test of night scenes in Blackhawk down were no problem for this player. But these are subjective tests. We put the HQV Benchmark DVD into the player and started going through subjective tests. This disc is designed to put difficult material on screen to test how well the player can deal with them. The player passed each test with flying colors. And this where the case is made for buying this player over one of their other lower cost units.
The DV-983H uses are more sophisticated algorithms and electronics to handle more difficult video which results in better performance. To be honest some of the improvements are hard to see unless someone points it out to you. When comparing some video you won't see a difference between the OPPO players. But in video that is not transferred to DVD very well the 983H will be able to improve the picture while the other OPPO players will actually make them worse.
Back when we reviewed the OPPO DV-981HD (Podcast #130) we viewed a movie called Bend it Like Beckham. In that review were not impressed with the 1080p playback of the movie noting noise around faces and in soccer scenes. The 983H was able to render these scenes with much improved results.
For Audio, we set the player to process Dolby Digital on the 983 and send it to the receiver as PCM as well as sending bit stream to the receiver for decoding there. We found no discernible difference in our setup. The 983 supports DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD which will make use of the 24 bit, 192 kHz D/A converters. That is if you are using the 8 analog outputs of the player. As with the other OPPO players we were quite satisfied with the audio performance of music CDs.
Odds and Ends
The menus are basic and easy to navigate. The remote control is basic but has some dedicated keys that will make switching resolution easy. If you opt for a universal remote, these commands will need to be mapped to a soft key. The player can be made region free so you can watch DVDs from anywhere as well. To make the OPPO Region Free do the following: (Press Setup. Press "9210" in quick succession. A new window will appear. Press "0". Press Setup to exit.). It comes with an HDMI cable too! More information can be found online at the OPPO Digital website.
We really liked the OPPO Digital DV-983H. So who should spend $399 on it? If you are really into movies and have a large collection of DVDs this is the player that will do the best with everything you have. If you have a front projector and don't want to spend $3000 on a video processor this player will do the same thing, at least for your DVDs, for a fraction of the cost. If you are a videophile and you want the absolute best video performance the 983 is for you. Finally, if you just can't bring yourself to buying a Blu Ray Player this is the unit for you.
Posted by The HT Guys, March 19, 2008 9:40 AM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.