Oppo BDP-103AU

The Oppo 103-AU may come with a premium price tag, but the video-processing power and build quality make it well worth looking at.


8.7
CNET Rating
6.0
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.


Oppo traditionally builds very premium products, and, as such, they traditionally come with a premium price tag. When we reviewed the predecessor to the BDP-103AU — the BDP-93 — back in 2011, it was priced at AU$850.

This model is a bargain by comparison, at only AU$699, but it's considerably pricier than many other players, more than even the Sony BDP-S790. So what does the Oppo offer?

Design

The first thing you'll notice is the build quality; it's a beautiful brushed aluminium, with a solid weight of 4.9kg and a very nice change from shiny, plastic, fingerprint magnets.

The BDP-103AU has three USB ports and two HDMI outputs — you can use one for video and one for audio, or you could plug in both a TV and projector. There are two HDMI inputs, as well — you can plug in a media streamer or a PVR to take advantage of the Oppo's video-processing power.

For networking, it's set up for wired or wireless, and supports a big range of popular file formats for video and audio: MKV, AVCHD, FLAC, AVI and more. Playback is supported from various network storage and streaming devices.

The remote is of an equally impressive build — there's some weight to it, but nothing that makes it unwieldy. Buttons are clearly marked, large enough and well spaced, with two dedicated Video on Demand service buttons at the top (we'll get back to those later).

Performance

The biggest draw card here, however, is probably the proprietary two-step video-processing system that it uses. The Oppo uses a custom dual-core system on a chip, as well as a Marvell Qdeo video processor, which means that in addition to Blu-ray playback in 2D and 3D (plus BD Live), you can also get 2D-to-3D conversion, 1080p 24Hz output and even 4K/Ultra HD up-scaling. Audio is equally impressive, with on-board decoding of Dolby TrueHD and Master Audio, as well as 7.1-channel analog output.

Load time was great, with a Blu-ray disc going from tray out to ready to play in around 18 seconds. Using our standard Clash of the Titans test disc, we found that 2D playback was sharp, with great blacks and excellent colour. In 3D, the action was smooth, with no ghosting issues and crisp visuals.

DVD upscaling was great, with even an older film, such as Chinatown, benefiting from the Oppo's video processing power. We were even more impressed with playback of video files from USB — the Oppo took a 720p AVI file and outputted great video, with even on-screen text looking clean and sharp.

The interface also deserves a mention for being well designed — icons are large and clear, files are easy to navigate, and the home screen is uncluttered and simple. Conversely, the settings allow you to drill down into video and audio quite deeply, and may be a dash complex for the non audio- and cinephiles.

Overall

If there is one bum note on the Oppo, it's the selection of online video services that are built in. As mentioned above, the remote features prominent buttons for both Netflix and Vudu, neither of which can be accessed legitimately from Australia. If Oppo can work some local deals to include a local service, such as Quickflix, or local catch-up TV, such as iView, then we'd be blown away.

As it stands, however, the Oppo BDP-103AU has all the quality and power of its predecessor, at a better price. While it doesn't have the range of internet video services of, say, the Sony BDP-S790, its video processing is second to none, and anyone looking for top notch image quality should put the Oppo on their short list.



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cmastoro
6
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"Not much gain for the monetary pain."

cmastoro posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Highy configurable and very easy to setup and use.

The Bad:Very pricey unit let down by some poor upscaling.

Purchased on the promise of superior upscaling capabilities and DLNA file compatibility both as compared to my Panasonic DMR-PWT500 player and I’m very disappointed with the outcome. The upscaled playback of NTSC DVD introduced very noticeable judder (the Panasonic handles it no problem) and the only way around it is to set output to ‘Source’ (effectively bypassing the video processing) so that output was reduced to 480i. PAL DVDs and Blu-Ray discs did not suffer the same judder but neither could I see an improvement in picture over the Panasonic and this was tried in 1080p @24p and 1080p @50Hz & 60Hz and in ‘Source’ mode 576i @50Hz and 1080p @24p & 50Hz.

Using the mode for dual HDMI output split for video (HDMI 1) and audio (HDMI 2) I verified that no audio was being output via HDMI 1 but found that HDMI 2 does in fact carry a video signal. The proprietary video processing system is only available via HDMI 1 so whilst in this mode I was able compare the two by switching my TV input between both. Not sure if the unit was performing correctly but I could not discern any difference between the two.

Playback of media files over DLNA network struck the same issue with certain types (not all) of MKV files but all my other DLNA devices also suffer this same issue – no gain or loss on that front.

Cannot provide any feedback on the 3D aspect as I don’t have a 3D TV (maybe later).

Setting up and using the unit is a breeze with nearly all configuration changes being made on the fly rather than having to stop/start movie playback to get in and out of the menu which is a huge improvement over the Panasonic.

A missed feature on the Oppo is the very handy Jump Forward and Back buttons featured Panasonic - a pity but overall, playback control is very well handled. Also, the memory feature is excellent and it was able to track my many place holdings through 4 different discs. (Some titles don’t allow that feature so that’s not the fault of the player.)

The build quality is a cut above the more mainstream brands but on it's own doesn't justiy the price differential. If it was similarly priced then I would whole heartedly recommend it.

 

StephenD2 posted a reply   

If you have a problem with judder on 480i DVDs, the fix is straightforward. Out of the box the Oppo has its default video mode set to 'PAL'. Find that setting under 'Video' in the setup menu and change it to 'Multi-System'. 480i60 content will then be correctly scaled to 1080p60 rather than 1080p50.

I think the latest Oppo firmware has already addressed this.




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User Reviews / Comments  Oppo BDP-103AU

  • cmastoro

    cmastoro

    Rating6

    "Purchased on the promise of superior upscaling capabilities and DLNA file compatibility both as compared to my Panasonic DMR-PWT500 player and I’m very disappointed with the outcome. The upscaled p..."

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