Hands On: Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray Player
A Fort Knox of Home Theater Technology
January 18, 2013 by Grant Clauser

A lot of home theater enthusiasts have a bit of a crush on Oppo, a small company that pretty much makes one thing—Blu-ray players.  In fact, if you look at the Oppo web site now you only see three products, and the BDP-105 3D Blu-ray player is the flagship.

You might think that by now it’s hard to make a Blu-ray player that stands out in a significant way. You’d be wrong. The BDP-105 is a Fort Knox of technology for home theater and audio. It, and its slightly less well-armed sister the BDP-103, manage to cover all the bases in terms of playback formats, connections and extras. In fact it might go a bit overboard on those extras (which is why there’s the BDP-103).

For starters, it’s a universal disc player compatible with all media, BDs, DVD, DVD-A, SACD and of course CD. Because shiny discs only account for a portion of what most people consume now, most digital formats are also included, such as AVCHD, WAV, MP3, FLAC, and MKV video.

Like other disc players today, the BDP-105 offer a basketful of streaming services including Netflix, VUDU, Film Fresh, Pandora, Picasa and YouTube. That’s less than you get on players from LG, Samsung or Panasonic, but it includes the ones most important to video and music folks. The remote includes direct buttons for Netflix and Vudu, and there are control apps for iOS or Android.

Oppo players are known for their hardcore videophile guts, and this model comes loaded with a custom dual-core processor and Marvell’s Qdeo video processor. The dual-core system-on-a-chip allows the BDP-105 to load quickly and navigate online services without pause. With the Marvell video processor, the unit can upscale video to 4K. All of today’s current 4K displays (which we should start to call Ultra HD) include good video processors, so at this time it’s best to leave that task to the TV or projector (a very short list), but it won’t be too long until lower-quality 4K displays start hitting the market. For that reason a better 4K scaler isn’t a bad thing to have around. The same Qdeo scaling happens to be available on a number of AV receivers, including the Onkyo I use, so you might want to experiment to see which device does a better job. The BDP-105 also does 2D-to-3D conversion (which I doubt anyone will use more than once) and two HDMI outputs that can send video to two displays at the same time. That’s useful if you run two media rooms and only want to invest in a $1K Blu-ray player once, or if your display is a projector but you want to have a smaller accessory display for navigating menus when playing music (so you don’t have to turn the projector on just to listen to Pandora).

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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