DVD players are undergoing a consumer and economic shift. With the rapidly dropping prices of existing upconverting players and the emergence of HDMI as a digital audio and video standard, DVD players are losing most of what differentiates them from each other. Audio used to be a major issue, but now it is really becoming difficult to “screw up” HDMI. In addition, video processing is becoming “old hat” and most players are doing a significantly better job than in years past.
The real competition is with the emergence of Blu-ray and the decision of whether to purchase your, perhaps final, “high-end” universal DVD player or simply just to move on to the latest HD format. We already know that Oppo’s many DVD players are a fantastic deal and offer stellar quality for the price, but with the introduction of a $399 model, the budgetary question becomes a real issue. This review will attempt to evaluate the flagship Oppo player in that light.
Unpacking & Build Quality
As with all Oppo players, this one came in a nice retail package and wrapped in a cloth garment. Unlike other Oppo players, the front face of the DV-983H is made of a piece of thick brushed aluminum and has the look of a minimalistic high-end piece of equipment. There are only 5 buttons on the front (Power, Eject, HDMI, Stop, Play/Pause), each of which have a backlight and are a nice metallic contrast to the black player. Lose the remote and you’ll need to contact Oppo for a replacement if you want to continue to fully utilize the player. When each button on the front is pressed, the surrounding blue backlight lights up. In the case of the Power button it goes from having a red inset light (Standby) to Blue (On). The Play/Pause button’s inset blue light only activates during use and then winks out after a couple seconds.
The player arrives with an extra-thick 14 ga. polarized power cord, HDMI cable, composite and analogue stereo RCA cables and a remote control with batteries. This is the same remote control that ships with all current Oppo DVD players. The HDMI cable is short enough to ensure that it will most assuredly work properly, but the presence of ferrite cores is not something that screams “quality”.
There are four micro-LED lights which are used to indicate the HDMI output resolution (480/576/720p/1080i/1080p). If HDMI is disabled, the lights are all off. The main VFD (vacuum florescent display) screen is blue and sits back from the front panel to give the display some depth. The VFD has icons for what disc type is inserted (DVD, DVD-A, SACD, CD, HDCD, and A. Only) as well as visual cues for Mute, Track/Chapter, Title/Group, A-B Repeat and Random modes. There are also some icons which light up to show the presence of Dolby Digital, DTS, EX modes, Play/Pause, Repeat (Single or All), and Angle. Oppo really crams a lot into the display, though given its size I don’t think it will be used for much more than troubleshooting audio or video format issues.
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