Reputation often precedes any compliments that can be dished about OPPO as a company, largely in the realm of world cinema. Their 970 and 980 lines of DVD players handle just about anything thrown at them, all while upscaling standard-definition discs to impeccable quality. When word inked into the picture that OPPO would be releasing a “Universal” Blu-ray player, their BDP-83, many a mouth salivated. However, a few breaks have to be slammed on this parade: region coding issues have locked its Blu-ray capacity to Region A, and its standard-definition player capacity has been relegated to Region 1/0 discs.
OPPO’s BDP-83 has taken strong strides in surmounting these obstacles, decisions mostly dictated by restrictions out of their control. Instead of trying to finagle malleable technology into their player like the Momitsu multi-region player on the market now, they seeped directly into refining everything underneath the hood. Out cranks this fine player, which is a compelling and impressive infusion of technological prowess, limited yet impressive versatility, and overall exceptional rendering of both new and old home video formats. “Universal” might be misleading for those familiar with OPPO’s lineage, but tunes will chance once they’ve wrapped their hands around this outstanding ~$500 unit.
Out of the Box
Arriving in a surprisingly sturdy box with an array of packing materials inside, along with a nice sheet of glossy paper with the product printed on top, the experience in opening this OPPO player operates in much the same way that the company itself has established itself over the years – offering more within the box than the sticker price claims. The player itself comes in a signature OPPO fabric shoulder bag, while all of the components sit safely in a sturdy, sharp-looking box with the company’s branding on the side. It comes with run of the mill analog A/V cables and a weighty power supply cord. OPPO has also included a rather tightly-assembled HDMI cable with this package, a thick-corded HDMI 1.3 cable with strong gold-plated connectors.
At the front, a highly inconspicuous USB 2.0 drive is hidden by a sturdy silicone-like rectangular cover. It’s the access point to load up firmware updates via flash/jump drive, as well as to play audio and video video files – more on that later. To the rear, one HDMI output is available to input into a desired source, running into an Onkyo SR605 for this review. If HDMI audio isn’t a possibility, the player also contains 7.1 / 5.1 analog jacks, as well as optical / coaxial outputs for lower-resolution sound processing. Furthermore, a second USB 2.0 port sits to the back if the front is currently occupied, along with a set of designated Stereo jacks.
At first glace, it’s obvious that a lot of time has been put into ensuring satisfaction with OPPO’s aesthetic build. Their BDP-83, measuring close to 17 inches wide, a hair over 13 inches deep, and roughly 3 inches tall, comes with a slick, semi-matte, black brushed metallic finish on the front end that adds to its simplistic yet elegant design. Minimalist lighting gives it a very sleek look, one that sports a chic look for its traditional front-loaded design. It’s somewhat bulky, stretching as far back as Toshiba’s HD-A2, and comparable in height to a standard Motorola cable box – maybe a half an inch taller. Simplicity, however, definitely adds to the leanness of its appearance, along with counterbalancing its concentration on a substantial, protective build; with minimal busyness on the face, a slick Power On/Off button, and a very sharp circular skip design for the navigation bezel (maybe a hint of Apple influence, though not touch-based), it’s a practical and attractive unit that meets form and function head-on.