Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-Ray Disc Player Review 
Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players
Written by Andre Marc   
Thursday, 10 March 2011

Oppo Digital in a few short years has become a force in home entertainment, competing with, and sometimes embarrassing some of the well established giant conglomerates that produce audio visual components sold to mass markets. Their first products were feature packed "universal players" that could handle DVD video, DVD-A audio, and SACD/CD discs.  They also decoded HDCD, and could handle just about any video format through a USB input. They were priced at too good to be true prices, and performed at a level unseen at those price points.

A few years ago I bought an Oppo DV- 980H DVD player and was absolutely blown away by the quality of video playback, the feature set, connectivity, and ease of use. I thought audio playback was what you would expect for a budget component. Styling and reliability were well beyond what you would normally get for around $180. The DV-980H was also a  universal player, and had digital outputs, video up scaling, and a great user interface.

Oppo continued to update their products and blazing speeds. They redesigned power supplies, upgraded firmware, re-engineered signal paths and chassis design, and just plain led the pack.  The company began to get notice from the audiophile community with several positive reviews in the two major domestic hifi publications and all over the web. The ability to playback DVD-A and SACD was certainly an attention getter, as those formats have been completely ignored outside of the audiophile world. Oppo players began appearing as “special editions” and were even modded by third party companies to maximize audio and video potential.

Front left side

But Oppo has not rested on its laurels. They have a line of Blu-Ray players that is already turning heads as the new format starts to increasingly make its way as the video disc du jour.  The promise of Blu-Ray offers unparalleled resolution, and enormous storage capacity. My brief encounters with Blu-Ray were quite impressive, but I had not yet tested it yet in my own set up. That brings us now to the subject of this review, the  BDP-93 Network Blu-Ray player. The BDP-93 also handles 3D Blu-Ray discs. It is priced at $499 and is available directly from Oppo and from various other online sources.

Internally, the BDP-93 is packed with cutting edge technology. I won’t turn this review into a technical white paper, but some of the BDP-93 design and guts deserves some mention.  First it offers cutting edge networking options, which allows the Oppo to act as a de facto entertainment hub. For state of the art video performance, Oppo says “the BDP-93 incorporates Marvell's Kyoto-G2 video processor with the second generation Qdeo™ technology. Qdeo video processing delivers a truly immersive viewing experience by rendering quiet natural video free of noise and artifacts for all types of content. For high-quality Blu-ray content, the BDP-93 faithfully reproduces the program just as the director intended; for DVD, the up-converted picture quality bridges the visual gap from your current DVD library to Blu-ray disc.”

front right side oppo 93

The BDP-93 also incorporates True 24p™ Video. Oppo says “many Blu-ray Discs are recorded at 24 frames per second, the same frame rate as the original movie's theatrical release. The BDP-93 can faithfully redeliver the original frames using 1080p 24Hz output (compatible display required) for smoother motion and a flicker-free, film-like home theater experience.” Of course the player also decodes just about every digital format including, Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™.

On the audio side, Oppo has taken great pains to improve sound quality and flexibility by tweaking an already soundly engineered circuit. The on board DACs can handle up to 192 Khz program material via LPCM. Audio can be sent to an external AV receiver or DAC via the HDMI or Coaxial/Optical outputs. Good quality analog outputs are also in evidence.

Set Up and Features:

The BDP-93 out of the box, before connecting a single cable, was impressive. Weighing almost 11 lbs. and sporting a brushed aluminum faceplate, unheard of at this price, the build quality is  truly excellent. As is the quality of all the connectors on the rear panel. The BDP-93 also comes with a 6 foot, high quality HDMI cable, a really nice convenience. It is also packed with a button heavy remote control, a wireless USB dongle with an extension base which gives you everything you need to get started.

I ran the supplied HDMI cable into the Marantz AV7005 processor. I then powered up and set up both WiFi and Ethernet connections to stream content from NetFlix, which Oppo supports, along with Blockbuster. Oppo offers a trial membership with NetFlix and is a cinch to set up. I then configured the player for basic operation which took less than 5 minutes and was up and running with a Blu-Ray disc in the tray shortly after. The Oppo allows for two TV’s to be hooked up at the same time via the dual HDMI output function, which is pretty cool.

back left side oppo 93

The setup options are endless, with a menu for everything from speaker set up, sub woofer calibration, output resolution, connectivity, video calibration, networking, and anything else you can think of. This amount of flexibility was unheard of just five years ago on video disc players.  Once I completed my basic set up it was time to press “play”.

From the first few frames of the various Blu-Ray and DVD discs I played it was obvious the video playback quality of he BDP-93 was superb. Certainly the best I have experienced in my set up. Sometimes the amount of additional detail was disorienting, particularly on Blu-Rays, almost ruining the illusion that movies create for us, as landscapes and actors appeared strangely too “real’. I never thought I would be overwhelmed, and slightly put off by too much resolution!

I then plugged in a USB stick in the front panel slot and was able to run through hundreds of JPEG picture files from a recent trip. There is also an option to add background music to slide shows.  You can also play back most types of video and audio files, via with the remote. File access was lightening fast. This is now a great, common place feature, and Oppo was one of the earlier companies to offer this. It is extremely convenient and really does deliver on the promise of portable media.  The BDP-93 can also access media files on an e-SATA drive as well.

back right side oppo 93

I also spent a bit of time exploring the NetFlix streaming option. I must say, I am a convert. Accessing the service could not have been any easier. The selection of streamed content, which includes feature films, documentaries, network TV shows, and cable shows is huge. I watched quite a few movies using the hard wired Ethernet connection. Menu navigation was speedy, and there were no interruptions in the stream, and video quality was fantastic. I then activated my WiFi network and repeated the process. I was half expecting some stuttering or loss of video quality due to the limited bandwidth of wireless. No such thing occurred, much to my surprise. The video stream was rock solid.  Oppo also supports Blockbuster streaming as well, but I did not attempt to use it, as we have an account with NetFlix.

I decided to spend a bit of time with the BDP-93 as an audio player, using the analog outputs, and came away mighty impressed.  Oppo has clearly improved fidelity with better parts and refined signal paths. But make no mistake, the BDP-93 probably won’t outshine high four figure disc player. As excellent as it sounded on CDs, SACDs, and music files via USB, it came up slightly short against players I have heard costing way, way more.  For most, this will be all they will ever need.  It covers every conceivable base, including multi channel SACD and DVD-A.



Conclusion:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, Oppo in a few short years has become a major force in affordable, high quality source components. Their first few DVD players blew minds with their feature sets, build quality, and pricing. The engineers at Oppo have obviously found a winning combination. So much so, that several other high end companies have licensed technology from Oppo, including Ayre Acoustics ( for their ultra high end and very expensive DX-5 Blu-Ray universal player), and Lexicon.

From every standpoint, the BPD-93 is easy to recommend. The build quality is crazy good. Video quality across all formats is superb. While not state of the art in audio playback, it only suffers in comparison to disc players costing four or five times as much. But in my opinion, the ability to playback any type of disc, including audiophile formats like SACD and DVD-A and high resolution music via USB input at this price point is beyond comprehension. Several years ago you would have needed 4 or 5 boxes to accomplish all this.

oppo 93 front view

Are there cheaper Blu-Ray players? Sure, but they will under perform the BDP-93 and their cheapo plastic enclosures and inferior parts will give in to the self fulling prophecy of planned obsolesence, and the inevitable destination, your local landfill.  Not to mention Oppo continually updates its firmware as consumers demand new features and their engineers refine what is already a no stress user interface.

Take into consideration, this is the first Blu-Ray player I have had in my system, although I have experienced networked Blu-Ray players in other settings.  After spending some quality time with the BDP-93 I can only imagine it being bettered by one other sub $1000 player, and that would be the brand new flagship Oppo, the BDP-95, priced at $999, which is loaded with additional features like a 32 bit DAC, XLR connections, and other goodies.  For me the BDP-93 is a winner, and it will be part of my reference system for a while, and it will be able to hang with gear costing significantly more. The Oppo BDP-93 is yet another example of the current trend of high performance audio & video gear offering tremendous value, and then some.

Specifications


  • Disc Types: BD-Video, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE, BD-R/RE DL
  • BD Profile: BD-ROM Version 2.4 Profile 5 for 3D (also compatible with Profile 2, Profile 1 Version 1.0 and 1.1)
  • Internal Storage: 2GB (Approximately 1GB available for BD-Live persistent storage. Actual storage varies due to system usage)
  • Output: Analog Audio: 7.1ch, 5.1ch, or stereo
  • Digital Audio: Coaxial, Optical
  • HDMI Audio: Stereo, up to 7.1ch high-resolution PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD, bitstream or LPCM conversion of Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, and DTS-HD Master Audio.
  • Analog Video: Composite, Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr, 480i/480p, 720p/1080i available for non-restricted content only)
  • Digital Video: HDMI with HDCP (NTSC: 480i/480p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24, PAL 576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24)
  • Video Characteristics    Composite Video Amplitude: 1.0Vp-p (75Ω)
  • Component Video: Y: 1.0Vp-p (75Ω), Pb/Pr: 0.7Vp-p (75Ω)
  • Audio Characteristics**    Frequency: 20Hz - 20kHz (±0.3dB), 20Hz - 96kHz (±2.0dB)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >110dB (A-weighted)
  • THD+N: < 0.002% (1kHz at 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF)
  • General Specification    Power Supply: ~ 100V - 240V, 50/60Hz AC
  • Power Consumption: 35W (0.5W Standby)
  • Dimensions: 430mm x 311mm x 79mm, 16-7/8 x 12-1/4 x 3-1/8 inches
  • Mass: 4.9kg / 10.8 lbs

Company Info

Movie Playlist


Blu-rays:

  • The Other Man
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Watchmen, Directors Cut
  • The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

NetFlix Streaming:

  • Donnie Yen movie

Reviewer Setup

  • DVD player: Oppo 981 Universal Player, Panasonic DVD-R
  • Home Theater Receiver & Power Amp: Marantz AV7005, MM7055
  • TV: Vizio 55 inch HDTV
  • Digital Cable: Time Warner HD DVR
  • Speakers: Paradigm Monitor 9 V5,  (Front and Center Channels) Paradigm Atom (Rear Channels), PSB subwoofer
  • Cables: QED, NuForce, Kimber, PS Audio, Home Depot. Audioquest,  Transparent






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