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Customer Review

462 of 509 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another bulletproof Oppo, October 25, 2012
This review is from: OPPO BDP-103 Universal Disc Player (SACD / DVD-Audio / 3D Blu-ray) (Electronics)
"$500 for a Blu-ray player?" my postal carrier asked as he delivered my Oppo BDP-103 earlier this month. But this is not your run-of-the-mill Blu-ray player, I said. Later, I invited him in to listen and watch. "Oh," he said.

As I mentioned in my BDP-93 review, Oppo has created quite a name for itself with their Blu-ray players for home theater devotees. Priced between extraordinarily high end equipment and players that you can buy at warehouse clubs, the Oppo units have wowed users by truly being worth the extra dollars while providing a high-end experience. So here we have Oppo's brand new BDP-103. We're already several firmware iterations beyond the originally shipping version and I haven't yet run into anything distressing. I only chuckled about the green line that appeared on the left side of the screen saver screen, which I haven't noticed lately and was probably fixed in the last firmware release. As I write this, I'm listening to a "radio" station I created with Pandora Internet Radio, streaming through the Oppo and into the home theater, and while audio dynamics might not be equivalent of an uncompressed playback, it's certainly good enough that it has confused several listeners so far. But I get ahead of myself...

Again, Oppo has delivered a well packaged machine, this time with a somewhat better user interface for the front panel, particularly when using it in a dark room, thanks to a better ability to feel for the on/off and open buttons. The remote has been ever-so-slightly improved as well, particularly in terms of its handling of the internal lighting and component response time, which occasionally was lacking in the BDP-93.

The interface for user settings is among the best I've encountered, with a GUI that rivals those from Apple. The user manual is superb - well-written with clear illustrations. You'll find that given the fine interface, you rarely need to refer to the manual, but then again the complexity of this device is extraordinarily high by virtue of all it can do so there will be times when you want an excellent and handy printed manual.

Play a CD, a DVD, a SACD, or a Blu-ray disc and you'll find audio and video characteristics that rival those from components costing four to five times as much as the Oppo. Loading is fast; you won't be spending significant time watching animated "loading" icons. Response to input from the remote is rapid. The sound is glorious. The picture is impressive. All will be right up to the capabilities of your TV and your speakers.

Since I'm using the Oppo BDP-103 with a 55" Sony LCD panel that is not 3D compatible, I haven't had the chance to check out the upgraded 2D-to-3D up-conversion. 4K Video upscaling will also have to await the brand new equipment that can handle such output. That said, running with a Marantz AV7005, Sunfire 400wpc amp, and Martin-Logan reQuests, I am incredibly impressed with the BDP-103. Audio, Video, Blu-Ray, Netflix, Pandora, SACD, DVD-A, CD's with mp3's (or FLAC files, or nearly any other format you can imagine), USB inputs, HDMI throughput as well as output, automatic firmware upgrades via wifi or ethernet, and the list just goes on and on. About the only thing it can't do that I wish it could is stream directly from Amazon. I could expand upon each of these capabilities further: for example, if you choose to run the HDMI output from your cable box into the Oppo, have the Oppo perform the analog audio conversion, and then take the analog audio from there and bring it to your processor, you can do it. If you'd like to place an enormous amount of music on a USB storage source, then plug that in and play it, you can do that too. And naturally, there are little bonuses such as the Oppo's display (on the TV screen) of the artist/title information for each track being played from a CD.

Overall, you'll quickly find this to be a flexible and intuitive component well worth the extra dollars over the competition. Let me say a word about customer service. Last year, I received a newly released Bluray movie from Netflix - and by newly released, I mean it had been released that same day. Inserting it into the BDP-93 resulted in the unit freezing up and needing to be turned off, then back on again to eject the disc. Within 24 hours, Oppo both heard about the problem with this newly released movie AND released new firmware that allowed the -93 to work with it. From time to time with a Sony blu-ray player, I've run into the same circumstance; generally it takes a month or two, if then, for a new firmware release to come out - and then there is a question as to how to install it.

If your plan is NOT to use the BDP-103's HDMI output but rather to utilize on-board converters, you might want to wait for the soon-to-be-released BDP-105 ($1200) which will have some improvements in the analog audio output section. And by all means, if you're in this category, go to the Oppo website to read about the differences as you may find that the BDP-103's internal handling is perfectly sufficient for your particular installation. Finally, there is an excellent forum for discussion of both the -103 and -105 at avsforum. Search for "BDP-103 Owner" and you'll find it.

Disclaimer: I don't usually write overly glowing reviews, particularly about audio components, though I did about the BDP-93. I don't work for Oppo. I just happen to love their products, their customer service, and their approach to music and home theater. You can tell when the creators truly care about the product they are releasing, and the BDP-103 represents another mark in a line of impressively designed and constructed AV components. As usual, I'll keep updating this review as time passes.

Addendum 1/23/13 - Oppo has posted version 1.6 of the user guide on their website. They also note that there are now apps for both Android and Apple iOS devices allowing the BDP-93 and all newer models (including this one) to be controlled remotely. This is useful in case you're in a different room from the player (which is on your home network and can therefore be reached remotely from your iPhone/iPad/etc.)
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Comments

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Tracked by 11 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 81 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 27, 2012 2:00:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2012 2:00:39 PM PDT
Dear Dr. Gitlow:

Thank you for the great review. I have one question:

Right now I have a BDP-83; when I hit Stop, the player displays a "splash" screen on the TV for the 2 or so minutes until the screen saver comes on. The splash screen has a really bright white "OPPO" logo, which is understandably a big problem for image retention. I e-mailed Oppo Customer Service about it, asking if they planned to change the splash screen, then asking them to consider it, and the guy who answered my e-mails was actually quite rude and blew me off. A rarity for Oppo...

Anyway, my question is whether the BDP-103 has the same splash screen. If someone from Oppo is reading this comment, please consider giving the Setup option of disabling the Oppo logo on the splash screen. After all, a lot of your users are going to have plasma TVs !!

Thanks in advance.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 7:04:31 PM PDT
The Oppo BDP-103 gives you three choices for use of the screen-saver:

In the ON mode, you get an animated Oppo logo that moves around the screen. In the OFF mode, the screen saver will not be activated and the Oppo logo appears in a single location. In the ENERGY SAVER mode, the screen is turned off after three minutes of inactivity.

The animated screen saver mode should resolve the difficulties you found with the BDP-83 splash screen.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 8:15:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2012 10:54:16 AM PDT
Thanks for the reply, but you've misunderstood my question. The BDP-83 has the same screen-saver choices; it's the three minutes BETWEEN when I hit stop and when the screen saver goes on that are the problem. During that time, the Oppo logo is sitting in one place, burning an image into the screen. Over time the image gets very hard to wipe out. I doubt you see the problem because you're using an LCD.

Oppo should give the user an option to make the SPLASH SCREEN blank, or have the logo move around the splash screen, not just the screen saver.

I got a reply to an e-mail sent yesterday to Oppo Customer Service -- apparently the default screen on the BDP-103 is now the Home Screen, where the Oppo logo is smaller than before. That's a move in the right direction IMO...I still don't know what they're thinking putting that high-intensity white logo smack dab in the middle of a black screen. It's a recipe for image retention.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 4:28:40 PM PDT
why are you worried about 3 minutes of burn in? why are you worried about burn in at all, it doesn't hurt your tv (google plasma burn in myth). it is at best a temporary annoyance and most plasmas have a screen you can run to fix any temporary burn in.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 10:36:12 PM PDT
I took a look this evening. If I'm playing a DVD and press STOP, the main menu for the Oppo comes on the screen. This includes the Oppo logo at the top and there are a variety of selections possible. That screen remains the same for a few minutes before the screen saver activates. I don't believe there's any way of changing that function.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 11:56:45 PM PDT
Thanks -- the info is much appreciated.

Posted on Oct 30, 2012 9:18:57 AM PDT
colors says:
Thanks for getting a review up of Oppo's latest. I am looking for a player that plays flac files from a disc seemlessly. Do you know if this machine is capable? The previous generation (from my understanding) played flac files but left audible gaps between tracks. I am wondering if it's possible to play something like Dark Side of the Moon (on a disc as flac files), where the songs run from one to the next, without having any audible gaps. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2012 11:57:22 AM PDT
Colors, I took the DVD-A version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and converted it to .flac files, which I then loaded at the root level of a fresh CD-ROM. The disc booted up in the Oppo as a Data Disc. The files were properly named and the disc was recognized and named correctly. The files played back correctly using all the speakers. But...I'm afraid there are audible gaps between the tracks. They aren't long - perhaps a few tenths of a second - but they are definitely annoying on discs of this nature. (Simon & Garfunkel Bookends, Sgt Pepper, and a few other key albums come to mind as well). I'd think this could be overcome with a firmware modification or user selection, but you're not the first person to raise this issue, which seems to be the same on the 103 as on earlier units.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 4:15:55 PM PST
John Henry says:
will this unit play region 2 dvds? e.g., British??

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 4:39:36 PM PST
No it will not play Region 2 DVD's, as purchased here, though there are some hardware modification kits already posted on the internet that will allegedly allow the unit to be region free for both DVDs and bluray.
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