Oppo Digital DV-970HD DVD player

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Oppo Digital DV-970HD DVD player

Oppo DV-970HD DVD  Player  

Sound Buys product review By Don Lindich  

Though most consumers are unfamiliar with the name Oppo Digital, chances are you have owned or seen some of Oppo’s cousins in stores around the world. Oppo Digital is a new venture of BBK Electronics, one of the world’s largest OEM manufacturers of consumer electronics. Oppo is now re-writing the cost/performance ratio of high performance DVD players.

Last year the Oppo OPDV971H was introduced. It is a $200 DVD player that matches or exceeds the picture quality of some of the priciest units on the market. High-end reviewer Steven Stone said, “I spent many hours comparing the OPDV971H with the far more expensive Lexicon RT-20 ($4,500) on conventional, non-test DVDs, and was hard-pressed under those real-world conditions to see any drastic differences in picture quality.”

In short, the OPDV971H offers Ferrari performance in an economy car body and price. I say,”economy car body” because $4,500 DVD players are built like tanks, and that accounts for part of the high price of admission.

The caveat to the OPDV971H is this incredible picture quality is only available through the DVI output, which can be connected to the HDMI or DVI input of an HDTV. Oppo even provides the cables in the box. The DV971H does not offer progressive scan through the component outputs, so if your HDTV lacks a digital input would be better off with that $79 DVD player from a big box store.

Oppo has addressed this somewhat with their new DV-970HD DVD player, the subject of this review. In some ways it is superior to the 971H, in other ways, it is not quite as good. The final conclusion is simple, but for now, let’s talk about the player, which at $149, costs even less than its remarkable predecessor.

The DV-970HD comes in a chassis similar to the DV971H. Much-appreciated new features are SACD and DVD-Audio capability with enhanced audio circuitry, a memory card reader for displaying digital pictures on your TV, and progressive scan from the component outputs. The DV-970HD also has a HDMI port.. This HDMI port can send a 480i signal to an external video processor, which is often used in high-end home theater setups. The downside is the DV-970HD does not have the same premium-quality video circuitry of the OPDV971H.

When I received my DV-970HD, I found it packaged with the same care as the OPDV971H I tested last year. Presentation counts for something, and getting a full-color box with a carrying handle, containing a carefully packaged DVD player wrapped in a cloth envelope tells me this company cares about their products and image. Speaking of which, in a very short time Oppo has developed an excellent reputation among video enthusiasts. The original remote issued with the OPDV971HD was found by its owners to be unwieldy, so the company re-designed and exchanged the remote control for existing owners, all at no charge.

I compared the DV-970HD to its predecessor and found everything pretty much as advertised. The video quality was excellent, if not quite as good as the OPDV971H or the high-end Denon player I use as my reference when comparing progressive scan from the component outputs. For $149 it is certainly a bargain, especially when the addition features are taken into account.

Which one should you buy? That’s simple. If your TV has a DVI or HDMI input, get the OPDV971. If it has only component inputs or you plan on using a video scaler, get the DV-970HD.

You can see Oppo products at www.oppodigital.com. Both players are highly recommended.

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