Oppo’s critically-acclaimed but DV-983H (which was not Blu-ray-capable) was the direct forerunner to the BDP-83, which effectively replaces it. In designing the BDP-83, Oppo made the following improvements to the already good audio section of the DV-983H:
The BDP-83 has a highly intuitive user interface that, on initial start-up, presents an Easy Setup Wizard to walk first timers through basic setup procedures (though experienced users can bypass the wizard to access a more advanced menu).
Once basic setup is complete, or whenever you press the Setup button on the Oppo remote, a menu opens up with seven clearly labeled options: Playback Setup, Video Setup, Audio Format Setup, Audio Processing, Device Setup, Network Setup, and Exit. Veteran users should be pleased by the comprehensiveness of Oppo’s suite of menu options. As one small example of Oppo’s thoroughness, the BDP-83 lets you decide whether SACD digital audio outputs via HDMI should be presented in their native DSD bitstream format or converted to PCM format—the sort of option that not many affordable universal players would provide.
Oppo’s user interface is reasonably intuitive, but can seem daunting because of its depth and thoroughness. Bear in mind that the BDP-83 provides control choices in places where other players don’t even have places. I found the BDP-83 interface clearer and better labeled than the already good menu GUIs provided in earlier generation Oppos, and it is backed by a well written user manual. In keeping with longstanding Oppo practice the BDP-83’s menu system allows you to make adjustments on the fly (whereas many players force you to stop playback before allowing access to menu-driven changes). Oppo’s approach lets you see and hear the effects of your intended changes in real time.
The BDP-83’s remote is backlit—a first for any Oppo player—with soft orange control button lights. Buttons illuminate whenever any control is pressed, but there is also a backup light switch.
Unlike most competing players, the Oppo provides variable analog outputs that can be controlled from the remote. This means that—in a pinch—you could actually run the BDP-83 directly into a power amplifier (though for best sonic results I would recommend running the volume control full up, and then adjusting volume levels via an A/V controller, AVR, integrated amplifier, or preamp).
Another somewhat surprising touch (though one seen quite often on high-performance AVRs and A/V controllers) is a Pure Audio button, which shuts down the player’s video circuitry to improve overall sound quality. Finally, the Oppo remote provides a Resolution button that lets you toggle through the player’s many upscaling/down-conversion options.
The BDP-83 provides a broad set of Picture Setting controls, including Brightness, Contrast, Hue (Analog), Saturation, Detail Enhancement, Edge Enhancement, Noise Reduction, Y/C Delay, and Border Level. While diehard videophiles typically caution against using any video “enhancements” at all, I found that the Oppo’s enhancement options—if used with discretion—seemed subtler and more usable than most, so that you might find them beneficial on certain disc.
In keeping with standard Playback practice, I used the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD to test the BDP-83’s DVD playback capabilities, and—much like Oppo’s earlier DV-983H universal player—the BDP-83 aced every single test on the disc, including the often-difficult jaggies, film detail, and cadence tests. In practice, the BDP-83 equals or surpasses the DVD performance of any player I’ve yet tested, regardless of price.