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Oppo BDP-103 Review & Test by Audioholics


...if you're a fan of our site you're probably aware that we're talking about the Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray Player. At first glance the new Oppo looks both very similar and very different than the existing BDP-93. In fact, the front panel is almost entirely identical save for more robust-looking buttons and slight modifications to the LCD display. There are also inputs for MHL and USB on the front panel.

But... Take a look at the back and you'll see dual HDMI outputs but also an HDMI input. There are dual USB inputs and also full 7.1 audio outputs. Of course if you have legacy audio connections you can still use the optical or coax digital output of the player to connect it to your AV receiver. The BDP-103, like the former BDP-93, includes an RS-232C connection for home control systems. What you WON'T see are any analog video outputs. These are now officially, as of 2013 at least, disallowed under the new analogue sunset rules which state that no licensed player that passes decrypted AACS content to analog video outputs may be manufactured or sold by a Blu-ray adopter after December 31, 2013. Since Oppo didn't think it would be a great idea to have to re-adjust the hardware on their player mid-production, I'd say this was a good advance call.

HDMI input outputs

HDMI "in" means that you can make up for a lack of a receiver or enough HDMI inputs.
Or you can use the Oppo as a switch of sorts to feed just one HDMI cable to your television.

Now let's go back again to the dual HDMI outputs and HDMI input on the back of player. The two HDMI outs can be split so that one sends just audio to an AV receiver and the other goes to your display. This is good if you have a 3D television but a receiver that can't pass 3D. Same goes for the eventual issues we'll have with 4K. You can also use them as true dual outputs, sending both audio and video to 2 different displays at once.

internals

The HDMI input actually lets you set up a cable box or some other source device that will then feed into the player. Then you can select the source device via the player's Input button at the top of the remote. This means you can use the BDP-103 in-line with the another device - and that's going to be good for people who don't have an AV receiver or who just have a couple of source devices but they don't have another HDMI cable running to their television. It also has another use and that's for audio return channel (ARC) control. While it lets you select between the MHL front input and the HDMI back input, it also gives you control over whether you are using HDMI output 1 or 2 to provide ARC audio from your TV.

WiFi dongle

You can place the dongle directly in the player or use this included extension

We connected the BDP-103 to the Internet using Ethernet, but you can also use the included Wireless b/g/n dongle with any of the 3 USB connections to make this a wireless player.

remote control

Absolutely LOVE the backlight on this remote control!

The remote control is very similar to the previous model, however it added to the top Netflix and Vudu buttons and it reorganized the navigation controls to be a little more standard so that you don't slip off accidentally and touch something you're not supposed to. We also like the new backlight. The button is about the same except it's round - and when you press it you get a nice white white light instead the more amber glow of the old remote.

Listening Tests

Okay let's talk play back. The Home menu now has icons for Netflix, Vudu, film fresh, YouTube, Pandora and Picasa. It's not clear whether Oppo can add more applications at a later date. Right now it seems to be very fixed in what the player will offer - but knowing Oppo, the sky's the limit. Aside from the benefits of Netflix, Vudu and others, we also liked the effortless way in which the player can stream audio, video and photos from network computers. We streamed a ton of both Pandora music and also high resolution audio content and loved how well this player sounded in reproducing the material.

Home Screen

Then we tried out some High Resolution sources like Ernest Ranglin's 'Order of Distinction', an AIX Records Blu-ray that features Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio. Ranglin's guitar work was just a beautiful as we experienced with the BDP-93 and the piano and percussion accompaniment was rich and clean. This is a great recording since it's recorded and mixed without any DSP boxes or compression. It's as pure as it comes. In fact both the video and audio quality on this player are superb, as verified by real-world testing as well as using the Spears & Munsil Blu-ray test disc and other objective reference sources we rely on for evaluation.

Audioholics Bench Testing Summary of Test Results

Oppo BDP-103 Benchmark Score: 130 (perfect!)

Test Max
Points
Component
1080p
Component
Pass/Fail
Color Bar 10 10 Pass
Jaggies #1 5 5 Pass
Jaggies #2 5 5 Pass
Flag 10 10 Pass
Detail 10 10 Pass
Noise 10 10 Pass
Motion adaptive Noise Reduction 10 10 Pass
Film Detail 10 10 Pass
Cadence 2:2 Video 5 5 Pass
Cadence 2:2:2:4 DV Cam 5 5 Pass
Cadence 2:3:3:2 DV Cam 5 5 Pass
Cadence 3:2:3:2:2 Vari-speed 5 5 Pass
Cadence 5:5 Animation 5 5 Pass
Cadence 6:4 Animation 5 5 Pass
Cadence 8:7 animation 5 5 Pass
Cadence 3:2 24fps film 5 5 Pass
Scrolling Horizontal 10 10 Pass
Scrolling Rolling 10 10 Pass
Total Points 130 130*

HQV HD Perfect Score is 100

Oppo BDP-103 Benchmark Score: 100 (perfect!)

HD Tests Max
Points
HDMI
1080i
Pass/Fail
HD Noise 25 25 Pass
Video Resolution Loss 20 20 Pass
Video Reconstruction 20 20 Pass
Film Resolution Loss 25 25 Pass
Film Resolution Loss Stadium 10 10 Pass
Total Points 100 100*

*Tested via HDMI output 1

Comments on Calibration and Bench Testing

We're not surprised by the results of this test. In fact, what's really needed is a set of new tests to work out the increasingly vague but present issues with 3D and 4K upconversion. Fortunately, Spears & Munsil are working on a new disc that will address at least some of this. Exciting stuff and something we're looking forward to checking out. In the meantime, the current version allowed us to verify that the Oppo was sending proper output levels to our calibrated reference Epson Pro Cinema 6010 Projector, it also let us verify that the player doesn't exhibit color peaking. And the Oppo has pristine geometry, with no pixel clipping. The dynamic range of this player is stellar—there is absolutely no banding across the grayscale and, as a result, the depth of images presents a very rich picture, particularly when you blow it up to 100 inches or more.

Viewing Tests

When we queued up movies like the ending fight sequence in Resident Evil: Afterlife, the ability of the BDP-103 to not crush the top end of the luminance range was apparent as the entirely-white room formed the backdrop against which Albert Wesker takes on Chris and Claire Redfield in a dramatic fight scene. I've seen players lose the detail on the floors and walls in this scene and that didn't happen here. Of course, it didn't happen with the Oppo BDP-93 either, but that's just more good news for those of you contemplating an upgrade. Another place I really appreciated the dynamic range of this player was in the film Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. When Bane fights Batman the first time in the industrial complex. Here, particularly when Batman cuts the lights, any deviation on the part of the player to reproduce the full black level dynamics required leaves you seeing a blotchy black mess, even on a display that is calibrated for the full dynamic range of HD video. This scene, while dark, was nuanced such that we could discern resolution in the darkest areas that hadn't hit the limits of the format. In particular, watch the skin of Bane's back as he lectures the Dark Knight on darkness. This player looks GOOD.

Conclusion

Oppo has hit another one out of the park. The BDP-103 may not be light years ahead of the BDP-93, but it is ready for 4K conversion and the Marvell Qdeo processing is one of the best systems on the market in our testing. The player has some other whiz-bang features like 2D-to-3D conversion but overall you want to buy this if you've been out of the market for a while or are looking for a flagship Blu-ray player. If you've already got a BDP-93 - congratulations you've made a fine choice and there's little reason to upgrade just yet.