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?
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).
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.
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.