OPPO BDP-103 UNIVERSAL 3D NETWORK
4K (UPSCALING) BLU RAY PLAYER
The Oppo BDP-103 has quietly come out but will certainly make a loud splash! Oppo has released another "cost effective" Universal player which will handle Blu ray, Blu ray 3D, SACDs, DVD-Audio, 2D to 3D Conversion, Netflix/VUDU HD (1080p Streaming), Pandora (as well as many other Network Apps) and not to mention DVDs, CDs and a vast variety of other Media Formats. You name it and the 103 has got it! If you are still using a couple players which are assigned for different tasks then Oppo has you covered. Of course the most important feature is the image quality. I am pleased to say that Streaming looks excellent. So does Blu ray, DVD and Blu ray 3D. The 103 is using the latest generation Qdeo technology from Marvell. Their Kyoto-G2H video processing is second to none. And if you happen to have a dedicated video processor there is a Source Direct Mode which allows the image to pass through without alteration. For those that plan or already have a 4K (Ultra HD) display the 103 can upscale (3840 X 2160) the image. For the purpose of this Review I used a Sony VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector. So what else does the 103 offer that makes it tough to beat? You get my favorite feature with Dual HDMI outs. As well as two INPUTS (more on that soon) front and back. As for the Dual HDMI outs this simply allows you to send the image directly to your display while using the othr HDMI out to send the Audio to your AVR or pre-pro. Some will argue but I am a firm believer that you get the absolute best of both worlds sending those signals straight to the source without any detours. Unless you are using a Darblet which in that case you go straight into it then to your display. The 103 can do both Wireless and Ethernet for the internet. It also has a MHL (Mobile HD Link) input which makes life easy when wanting to connect your smartphone or tablet to the front of the unit for playback. Triple USB ports, a Back lit Remote and PAL/NTSC Conversion for those import titles that just aren't available yet over here. And I can't dismiss the fact it has an excellent rigid chassis construction. So many players these says are on Weight Watchers and are nearly paper thin! The 103 is built around a steel chassis. It's nice to see some manufacturers still believe in Build Quality. There are other nice convenience features like Remote Control Apps, RS232 Control, Gracenote, etc... Of course I have to finish my opening statement with my new favorite "Game Changer" innovative feature. The HDMI input on the back has put distance between the 103 and the other brands. Death to the stand alone Video Processor... I can hear "Taps" playing now. Read on...
Sending in my DirecTV feed I first started off watching a few NFL games. I love making them "pop" on a big screen. Using the 103's Advanced Picture Control you can fine tune Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue, Noise Reduction, Sharpness as well as Color and Contrast Enhancements. You can pause the image and as you tweak you can set it exactly to your liking. Sharpness can be increased slightly as well as the Color and Contrast Enhancements making a satisfying image. You have 3 Pic Modes you can set. I have set 1 for sports viewing and video games. I am using 2 for Blu ray 2D and regular DirecTV shows like Dexter, Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead. And I am sure you guessed that 3 is set up for 3D. Never before have I been able to use a Blu ray player to set up picture parameters for all of my viewing needs. Even my favorite Video Processor tweak can be done. For sports you can send PC RGB level! Of course for everything else I send 4:4:4 YCbCr. The PC RGB Level is pure eye candy! Perfect for the NFL! The HDMI Color Space is global and needs to be changed (unless you are happy with a particular one) if you like say PC RGB for sports and 4:4:4 for movies and regular TV viewing. If you are happy with one then just set it and forget it! Many like 4:2:2 and that's fine to. Besides uniforms having nice pop and showing incredible detail the 103 also shines with close ups in the above mentioned shows. Zombies look to real and you can clearly make out the stuble on Dexter's face (pics below). The 1920's look amazing in Boardwalk Empire. I was enjoying sending 1080p to my Sony Projector. Before I am asked all of this Review was done without usng the Darblet device. I took some pics of the Set Up menu. It is very simple to navigate. It also is very easy on the eyes. Especially in a dark room. My Wife Jaclyn can navigate easily as well. Not that I am saying anything. :)
As you can see the GUI is well laid out. Whether you are selecting your input or making some basic Network selections all are self explanatory. I should also point out when you select options (on the remote) and then select Pic Adj. it gives you the option to adjust HDMI1 or HDMI 2. That is really useful if you are splitting the HDMI signal to two different displays. It is nice having the ability to do this. Of course the more displays the more chances of having HDMI handshake issues. So far I have not had any issues using the 103 with a couple different projectors, a DLP TV, a Plasma and a LED LCD TV. Just remember never hate the "player" hate the game. That is so true when it comes to HDMI. I am happy to report no compatibility issues when using with the Darblet. And since Oppo is the best when it comes to Updates I consider the 103 a definite safe bet.
As for Blu ray ad Blu ray 3D I am happy to report the image is second to none. I started off with my latest favorite The Avengers. Action scenes never get old. I really like the visuals when Ironman is flying around. I am also very impressed with how this movie looks in 3D. The 103's 3D settings are thorough. I like it when a player asks what size screen you are using. I wish other brands would follow and do the same. This helps optimize the 3D presentation. Before I forget to mentio it check out Disney's Finding Nemo in 3D! One more, AMAZING!!! More on 3D soon... As for Blu ray I want to point out that I have a Carada Masquerade Masking System which eliminates black bars. Sometimes movies put subtitles in that "dark gray" space. The 103 with its Subtitle Shift takes a Masking System out of the equation. Just simply move the Subtitles up into the viewing area. Nice! As for other movies I checked out The Campaign. Colors were vivid and the image just popped. The movie 21 is excellent eye candy. The cool camera work around Vegas (pics below) really tells you just how good your display is. It looked first rate using the 103. I also looked at a couple DVDs and the upconversion gets a nice thumbs up. I remember the days when we would need to spend over $1,000 to get the best 480i upconversion. Those days have long been gone and players like the 103 will keep it that way. The 2D to 3D conversion is always the toughest task for the newer 3D players. No difference here. Though the 103 is as good as it gets it still does not feel natural. Though I will admit Disney animated movies are quite convincing. Still I can't wait for Finding Nemo to hit Blu ray 3D this December. My home theater is at its all time best using the Sony 1000ES 4K projector, Oppo 103, Onkyo TXNR5010/Parasound A51 (11 channels) and BG RADIA speakers. Using DTS Neo: X the sound is as good as the image. Eye candy meet Ear candy!
These Dexter images to the left demonstrate the result from adding the 103's Sharpness and Contrast/Color Enhancements. The top are at default and the below are tweaked up a notch or two. Which type of image do you prefer? This is the beauty of having "Enhancements" with players. It gives us the ability to adjust the image to our own tastes. The good news is there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone wins! Just remember each display can have different results. Experiment some and above all have fun!
Having the ability to use a Blu ray player like the Oppo 103 to tweak your TV viewing is a new cutting edge experience. This is why now for the first time since I have had a "Theater" set up I am going without a stand alone Video Processor. The writing has been on the wall for them the past couple years and Oppo has just closed the door!
I played around with sending 4K (upscaled) straight into my 1000ES. I did it with both DirecTV viewing and Blu ray. I was at first alarmed at how soft it looked when I first tried. Since then though after a newer Firmware Update it has seemed to improve a little. Still I would not expect it to best the 4 or 5K scaler in the Sony 1000ES. My Onkyo 5010 also can upscale to 4K (using Marvell as well) and at this time both are much more alike than different with the end result. I would possibly opt for a 4K Video Processor as long as it does not cost an arm and a leg. Of course the results from it would have to be better than my the 1000ES's. If 4K Blu ray would just hurry up then we could start seeing the real potential of a 4K display. Until then...
Brief comments about the Remote. It is backlit. I like the direct Netflix and Vudu buttons. Having the ability to switch Resolutions on the fly is always a plus. Much more important to me is the Options button. Hit it once and you can access the Picture Adjustments section. The Info command tells you about the disc you have in. Sound, resolution, time left etc.. Oppo has always had the best "Info" feature on the market and that definitely is still the case with the 103. If you are using the input the Info command is even better. Resolution and sound coming in and also what you are sending out from the 103 just by tapping (you guessed it) the Info button. Love it!!!
My i Robot Sonny head. Number 17 of 250 made!!!
The Avengers in both 2D and 3D are stunning. I can't remember the last movie that had so many action moments. This one was non stop fun!!!
Both i Robot and Titanic are good conversions that came out not so long ago on Blu ray 3D. Titanic especially makes you feel as if you are on the ship! i Robot has its moments but I am a big fan and love watching it in 3D. Sonny steals it!!!
So how does the Oppo 103 compare to the Panasonic 500 and Sony S790? The Panasonic was better than the Sony with 3D. The Sony was sharper than the Panny 500. I also hate the 500's remote. Between those two I would take the S790. Overall it is a nice rounded player. So where does the new 103 land? Let's see... It has the same excellent 3D that the 500 has. The main difference is I can tweak the image more with the 103. DVD upconversion (for those that still have SD DVDs) hands down goes to the Oppo. Though they're not that far apart. Blu ray 2D again are all pretty much dead on at 1080p/24. The Enhancements of both the 103 and S790 put them slightly ahead of the Panny 500. Build quality is in favor of the 103 and 500. Both have nice analog audio out sections. And 4K upscaling at this time just ever so slightly favors the S790. Though I have a feeling the 103 may surpass it in a future Update. Time will tell. The Panny 500 does not do 4K upscale. The final most important game changing cutting edge feature that only one model has is the 103's HDMI inputs. This alone puts the 103 on top. Not only do you get stellar Blu ray 2D/3D you also get to use the same excellant image processing on your TV source. I will say the 4K upscaling with DirecTV was pretty good. One day I hope the Sony 1000ES gets an Update which will allow it to accept more 4K signals. And if Oppo were to improve their 4K upscaling things could get real intersting...
Definitely the movie of the year!!!
Final Thoughts... As I have said before success breeds followers and Oppo has quite the fan base out there to prove it. Their new generation of players will continue to cement them in as "THE" Blu ray player manufacturer that others once again will have to measure themselves up to. Both innovative and user friendly Oppo will remain the people's champion. If you have never tried an Oppo you need to. The BDP-103 is proof by example that sometimes the grass is greener on the other side...
For more information on the BDP-103 click below.
SONY VPL-VW1000ES 4K 3D Projector,
OPPO BDP-103 Universal 3D Network 4K (upscaling) Blu ray,
OnkyoTX-NR 5010 Receiver/ pre-pro, DARBLET, DirecTV HR24 500, Xbox 360, PS3, Monster Power HTS 5100, Sony BDP S790 4K (upscaling) Blu ray, Panasonic BDT 500 3D Blu ray player, MonsterVision 3D glasses, Sony 3D glasses, Parasound HALO A51 AMP, Antec Component Coolers, Vutec SilverStar 120.5" screen with a Carada Masquerade Masking System. Speakers (11.6) BG RADIA CENTER CC-220 & FS-420s (Left and Right), Pinnacle Speakers- Heights BD500 OWs, Surrounds Super K555s and the KLCR for surround back. Subwoofers- BG Woofer SW210, Pinnacle Dig 600, plus four MTX Lolita Low Profiles. 7.6 Sound! Remotes: Harmony 1100. Monster M1000 Ultimate HDMI cables top to bottom. And two Monster 35 foot HDX Hyperspeed HDMI cable.
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Equipment used for some or all of this Review in the "lab" are:
Thanks for reading. Feel free to email with any questions or comments. Next up is a BG Woofer SW210 Subwoofer and the SONY VPL-HW50ES.
I would also like to thank my Wife Jaclyn for her allowing me to dedicate time and effort into my Reviews. Our 1 year Anniversary is just about here!
I hope we have many more to come and each year is as great as our first year has been...