The OPPO was the clear winner in build quality and quiet operation.
Its chassis and especially its disc tray felt much more sturdy, and the
BDP-93 was impressively quiet when loading and navigating discs. (Some
of the other players sounded like they were really manhandling the
discs.) Beyond hearing the faintest hum in a totally silent room, I was
seldom aware of the BDP-93's operation. Furthermore, the OPPO responds
to remote commands in a quick, timely manner. Some of the players were
sluggish in menu navigation and response, while others actually
responded too quickly, causing me to jump past desired menu options.
The BDP-93 struck that proverbial "just right" that made it easy to
navigate menus. It also performed reliably with all the disc types I
tried, with no freezes or hiccups.
Regarding the BDP-93's upconversion of standard 480i DVDs, the
Marvell chip (HDMI 1) was the better all-around performer, but the
basic processing chip (HDMI 2) also proved itself worthy with
film-based sources. The Marvell chip did an excellent job in the
scaling department, producing a well-detailed image on both a 46-inch
TV and a 75-inch projection screen. It passed the film and video tests
on the HQV Benchmark DVD (Silicon Optix), and it passed my real-world
Gladiator (DreamWorks) DVD test: The Coliseum flyover in chapter 12 was
generally clean, with minimal jaggies and no blatant moiré in rooftops.
However, the Marvell chip failed my torture-test scene from chapter
four of the Bourne Identity DVD (Universal Home Video), where two men
sit in a cafeteria, surrounded by closed window blinds. The processor
was never able to lock on to the 3:2 cadence, producing moiré
throughout the scene. Interestingly, the basic processor on HDMI 2
passed this test, cleanly rendering the blinds, and was actually a bit
quicker in detecting 3:2 with many of the film-based tests. The basic
processor did a solid job in the scaling department, but the image
didn't appear to have quite as much detail as the Marvell chip. Beyond
scaling, the Marvell chip also distinguished itself with video-based
signals. I use a pilates workout DVD to test for jaggies, and the
Marvell chip did an excellent job keeping all of those diagonals clean,
whereas the HDMI 2 chip performed below average in this area. So, for
the most consistent performance with all DVD content, HDMI 1 is the way
to go, but HDMI 2 is still a good choice for DVD movies. In its HD
processing, the BDP-93 passed the 1080i tests on the HD HQV Benchmark
BD through both HDMI outputs, and it cleanly converted 1080p/24 to
1080p/60 in demo scenes from the Mission Impossible 3 (chapter eight,
Paramount Home Video) and Ghost Rider (chapter six, Sony Pictures)
In the 3D realm, the BDP-93 performed as desired. It automatically
detected the Blu-ray 3D signal on the Monster House, Ice Age: Dawn of
the Dinosaurs (20th Century Fox), and Monsters vs. Aliens (DreamWorks)
discs, and I saw no issues with signal quality (in my experience thus
far, the TV is the where you're likely to find issues with 3D
performance). With VOD content, the BDP-93 had the newer version of the
Netflix interface that allows you to browse and select titles without
having to add them to your online queue. OPPO's Netflix interface has a
slightly different layout than that of the other 3D Blu-ray players:
The menu runs horizontally, rather than vertically, and it includes
more genres/tabs to aid in the search process (with options like "top
picks," "imaginative animation," "witty sitcoms," etc.). The BDP-93 was
quicker to enter, exit, and maneuver the Netflix app than some of the
other players. Unlike Netflix's subscription service, Blockbuster
onDemand is a pay-per-use service, and its pricing and selection are
comparable to what you get with Amazon or VUDU (more big-ticket
releases than you get with Netflix). With both of these streaming
services, the picture quality is dictated primarily by your broadband
speed; unfortunately, my 1.5Mbps DSL connection makes for a compressed
image and often-choppy playback.
On the audio side, I really enjoyed the opportunity to dust off some
SACDs and DVD-Audio discs--including Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon
(Capitol Records), Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Sony Music), Cassandra
Wilson's Traveling Miles (Capitol Records), and Queen's A Night at the
Opera (DTS Entertainment)--as well as some of my standard CD demos.
These music tracks were tight, crisp, and clean, and both the stereo
and multichannel soundstages were big and balanced. The BDP-93 did not
do anything to hinder the performance of my RGB speaker system and
Pioneer VSX-55TXi receiver, which is what I ask of a source component.
With movie soundtracks, the subwoofer volume was just a little low, so
I manually turned it up to help flesh out the rumble of explosions and
other LFE information. Otherwise, I was perfectly pleased with the
performance of the multichannel outs with DVD/BD soundtracks.
Just as the BDP-83 had an audiophile complement (the BDP-83SE), OPPO
will soon release a higher-end 3D Blu-ray player aimed at the
audiophile crowd. The BDP-95 ($999) will feature a toroidal power
supply custom designed by Rotel and two SABRE32 Reference ES9018 32-bit
DACs from ESS Technology: one for the 7.1-channel output and one for
the dedicated two-channel output that uses balanced XLR connectors.
Compared with players from Samsung, LG, and Panasonic, OPPO's Web
platform is currently limited. The company's decision to go with
Blockbuster's VOD app may be a boon to Blockbuster, but I'm not sure
it's the best fit for OPPO--primarily because the service doesn't
support HD streaming. VUDU offers 1080p video, and Amazon at least
offers 720p. Right now, Blockbuster is SD-only, although that could
certainly change. If OPPO chooses to make a deal with VUDU and goes
with the VUDU Apps package, then you could also get apps like Facebook,
Twitter, and Flickr that are currently lacking. Near the end of my
review session, OPPO released a firmware update (v. BDP9x-38-0126) that
added Picasa to its Web package, and I have no doubt we'll see more
upgrades in this area.
As I mentioned above, the BDP-93 uses a USB WiFi adapter for
wireless network connectivity, as opposed to an integrated WiFi system.
I personally have no qualms with the add-on adapter; however, if your
rack space is tight or you're more concerned about your system's
appearance, you may object to this approach. In explaining the decision
to use an adapter, my OPPO rep said that the player's heavy-gauge steel
chassis and aluminum front panel would interfere with reception for an
integrated solution. They have considered an integrated solution in
which the antenna is mounted behind the glossy part of the front panel,
but they still worry that users with steel equipment racks would
experience reception issues. So, for now, OPPO feels the add-on adapter
is the most reliable option.
Finally, a true nitpick. I was very impressed with the overall
quality of the owner's manual. It is thorough, logically organized, and
written in a manner that should be easy to understand for the average
user. However, I would've liked to have seen a clear explanation of how
the dual-HDMI setup should be handled with a non-3D-ready HDMI
receiver. I had to email my OPPO rep to confirm exactly what the player
does to ensure compatibility.
Competition and Comparison
Compare the OPPO Digital BDP-93 with its competition by reading the
reviews for the Denon DBP-1611UD,
Cambridge Audio Azur 650BD,
and Panasonic DMP-BDT350.
Learn more about 3D-capable Blu-ray Players by visiting our Blu-ray
OPPO Digital has done it again. In both performance and design, the new
BDP-93 is a rousing success. It supports the two hottest new trends--3D
and VOD--yet it's also built to accommodate most any system and play
most any disc in your back catalog. At $499, the BDP-93 is a good value
for a player that combines 3D, dual HDMI outputs, universal playback,
and multichannel analog output. Of course, if you don't need or want
those features, then there are plenty of lower-priced models from which
to choose. As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to having the
complete package, the BDP-93 is the player to beat on the current
Blu-ray landscape.Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews
from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find an LED HDTV
or plasma HDTV
to get the most out of the BDP-93.