This week I got delivery of the fantastic Oppo BDP-83 player. This unit is the first true universal player on the market: it can play not only Blu-ray and DVD movies, but also CD, SACD and DVD Audio discs.
The unit replaces my former Marantz DV-9500 player that I owned. This was a great player but surprisingly developed a problem with the tray loading mechanism after 3 years of usage: the rubber belt used in the drive mechanism worn out and had to be replaced. In the process of replacing it, I accidentally destroyed the small sensor that detects whether the tray is opened or closed. Calling the Marantz customer support was not helpful: I couldn't manage to get the part that broke even after 4 calls. I decided it's not worth taking it to a repair shop and pay few hundred bucks to have it fixed, so I waited until the new Oppo player was released.
I could not be happier with this decision. The player is smaller and with a much cleaner user interface than the Marantz player it replaces. So far the image and sound quality are very much on par with that of the Marantz player, at a quarter of the price. I got the player for $500 and picked it up directly from Oppo, in Mountain View, CA.
I decided to get the player with the RS-232 option, so I could control it remotely with a computer. The serial port was not originally mentioned in the specs of the player, but it is now an option that can be added to the player for $89.
I am pretty impressed with the way the company decided to release this player. They had an Early Adoption Program (EAP) in which they released the player to a limited number of customers, so they can collect feedback from customers that use it on a daily basis. They collected the feedback and displayed it on their web site, for everybody to see, which is quite impressive in itself. After the first round of customer testing, they fixed whatever problems occurred, released a firmware upgrade and asked EAP customers to test the unit again, this time also asking whether people think the player should be released or not. At the end of this phase, 88% of the customers voted for the player to be released. The company decided to release the player, since most of the remaining problems were pretty minor and could be fixed in future firmware upgrades. I think this a great way to release a product like this and can only applaud the company for doing it!
Check out the gallery of pictures of the player in my current home setup.