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Oppo's New BDP-83 Blu-ray Player Gets Reviewed in Beta Form

Posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 4:46 PM

Oppo's Blu-ray player has been highly anticipated since they announced they were working on one. Their DVD players have a very good reputation, and enthusiasts are expecting great things from the company when it comes to their high definition player.

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Player

The BDP-83 Blu-ray player is billed as a universal Blu-ray disc player that supports Bonus View (for picture-in-picture and secondary audio effects, useful for commentary tracks) and BD-Live (Internet connected services), as well as DVD upconversion, CD, DVD-Audio, and SACD audio support, and the playback of media formats, such as AVCHD video and JPG photos on recorded discs and attached USB devices. Lossless audio support is standard, with 7.1 analog audio outputs to complement the HDMI connection. The list of features reads like a who's who of audio and video celebrities!

The company took a very non-standard (but cool) path in developing their player by opening up the beta testing process to the public in a process they called the "Early Adoption Program." They offered 50 people who signed up the ability to purchase the player with full knowledge that it was in beta form. Then, before they would open it up to more people, a majority of the first batch of people had to agree that it was ready. The program was then opened up to 300 more early adopters, and the 70% "supermajority" rule applied once again.

They've surpassed that number with over 91% of early adopters saying it was ready for release, so now it's just a matter of dotting the i's and crossing the t's until we see the unit for sale to the general public!

Audio/video web site Audioholics had the chance to review one of the beta models and published their results and opinions. You can read the full review using the Read link below, but I'll spoil the surprise by telling you that they really liked the player and concluded that:

The BDP-83 combines excellent video quality, advanced features and pristine audio performance into one slick package that is coming out at exactly the right time. At just $100 over their former flagship universal disc player, the BDP-83 is a steal.

I have little doubt that this player sets a benchmark that few others can meet, but I do have to question the $499 price tag. In comparison to high end players from the likes of Denon, its price is attractive, but for those of us who would not even consider paying $1,000+ for a disc player, it's quite high.

If you start at the other end of the spectrum instead of the stratosphere that Denon likes to orbit in, this player has as its immediate competition the higher end players from Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer, and even Samsung. All of these players have list prices of $399 with street prices commonly $50-$75 beneath that.

Granted, the Oppo delivers more audio features (none of them handle DVD Audio or SACD), but it is missing access to some of the online services, like Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Video on Demand, and the like, as well as any network media features like DLNA support (for playing media over your local network). These features are becoming more and more popular, and if I'm going to pay $500 for a player, I'd like to see those features included, or at least on the company's to-do list.

It will be interesting to see more reviews and how the general public reacts to this player when it becomes available. I think the DVD Audio and SACD functionality will appeal to a very hungry but small user base that will be more than happy to pay the asking price (at least 350 have so far!), but I think they will either need to drop the price or add more features to attract a wider audience.

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