Oppo BDP-103D Darbee Edition Universal Disc Player Reviewed

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Oppo BDP-103D Darbee Edition Universal Disc Player Reviewed

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Since the BDP-103D uses a different processing chip than the BDP-103, I also ran the player through my standard assortment of processing/deinterlacing tests to make sure its performance still makes the grade ... and it does. It passed all of the 480i and 1080i tests on the HQV and Spears & Munsil test discs and cleanly rendered my favorite demo scenes from Gladiator and The Bourne Identity on DVD. Some quick A/B comparisons between the 103 and the 103D showed that the processing chips offered virtually identical performance. According to Oppo, the reason the processing performance is so similar, despite the use of different chips, is because Oppo has moved most of the "heavy-lifting video processing works" to the main dual-core decoder chip in both the BDP-103 and 103D, so there is not much left for the Marvell or SI chip to perform. One place where there is a difference between the two chips is in the Picture Adjustments menu: The Marvell QDEO chip's color and contrast enhancement controls are gone, replaced by edge and detail enhancement, plus the ability to add video smoothing. Both players support 4K upconversion, but Oppo also mentioned that the SI VRS ClearView processor can output 4K video at a 50Hz or 60Hz frame rate over HDMI 1.4a using the new YCbCr 4:2:0 color space as defined in the HDMI 2.0 specification, which will make 4K upscaling better for content that's not originated from a 24Hz film (like 1080i concert video); the next 103D/105D firmware update will include this experimental feature.

High Points
� DVP does an excellent job improving picture clarity and depth without adding edge enhancement or crushing white/black detail.
� The Darbee button on the remote allows for quick, easy adjustments on the fly to dial in the DVP for each source.
� The Silicon Image VRS ClearView processing chip passed all of our usual processing tests, performing as well as the Marvell chip in the original BDP-103.
� The BDP-103D includes all the features we already like about the original BDP-103.

Low Points
� At its higher settings, DVP can accentuate noise, add edge blurring, and create an unnaturally harsh look with facial close-ups. However, you can easily dial it back to remove those issues and still enjoy the improved detail and depth.

Comparison and Competition
The Oppo players are the first disc players to incorporate Darbee Visual Presence and are thus unique in the space. I wouldn't be surprised to see other manufacturers follow suit, though. If you already own a disc player that you love, Darbee sells standalone processors called the�Darblet DVP-5000�and Cobalt DVP-4000 that lets you add the DVP effect to all your sources. The technology has also found its way into other standalone processors, including the�Lumagen Radiance 20xx�and the�Wolf Cinema ProScaler MK V.

Conclusion
Most video reviewers and enthusiasts run screaming from any type of video enhancement technology, and I think most of us first greeted Darbee Visual Presence with skepticism. Darbee is making believers out of us all, though. Oppo certainly isn't a company that's prone to cramming its machines full of undesirable, potentially detrimental features just to say it has them. The company feels that DVP adds a compelling performance upgrade, and after seeing it for myself, I agree. For the serious videophile who is looking to eke out that last bit of depth and detail from the image, Darbee Visual Presence is something you need to see, and its inclusion in the Oppo BDP-103D makes the player a must-demo if you're in the market for a new universal disc player.

Additional Resources

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HTR Product Rating for Oppo BDP-103D Darbee Edition Universal Disc Player

Criteria Rating

Performance

5

Value

5

Overall

5

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