Product Review (July 2008) - OPPO
DV-981HD 1080p High Definition
Up-Converting Universal DVD Player

By Kevin Nakano


Oppo Digital, Inc. located in Mountain View, CA has introduced the OPDV981HD HDMI-enabled DVD player, which is the successor to their highly regarded DV971H DVD player. The new DV981H has the same Genesis/Faroudja FLI-2310 video processing chip to handle deinterlacing along with the DivX Certified™ Mediatek MT1389 MPEG decoder chip. The DV981H has an attractive black finish and features a stylish low-profile chassis with a blue fluorescent display. The thin tray compliments the low profile design. Few buttons occupy the front panel and include Power, Open/Close, Play/Pause and Stop. The DV981H supports DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD (SACD), DivX®, XviD, Audio CD, HDCD, and Kodak Picture CD formats. The unit has a built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoder along with a Soundfield (Concert, Living Room, Hall, Bathroom, Cave, Arena, Church and Off) and EQ (Rock, Pop, Live, Techno, Classic, Soft, and Off) processor. Karaoke fans will be happy to know that the DV981H works with karaoke discs as well. The unit has the ability to load new firmware updates with the latest features and bug fixes from the OPPO website.

In looking back at the earlier DV971H, the biggest strength of the unit was its ability to play virtually any recordable disc. While this may be less of an issue nowadays with so many players capable of playing recordable media, the DV971H did it without any issues. This along with the exceptional deinterlacing and scaling made it one of my favorite DVD players. Everything I admired with the DV971H is also on the DV981H and some of the shortcoming found on the earlier unit have been addressed. Pressing the front panel open/close button with the unit off would not do anything on the earlier model. However, on the DV981H the same action turns the unit on and ejects the tray. Also, pressing the power button with the tray open on the DV971H would shut the unit off while leaving the tray out. This has been fixed on the DV981H.

Connections
Unlike its predecessor, the DV-981H does not include component video outputs. The intent of this machine is to take advantage of the HDMI digital video outputs. Resolutions for the HDMI output include 480p. 720p, 1080i and 1080p. While composite and s-video output are included for convenience, OPPO felt there would be a limited need for component video outputs so they eliminated them completely from the DV981H. As a result, this player is not for those with non-HDMI HDTV displays. Full six channel audio outputs are provided for Dolby Digital and DTS as well as a pair of mixed-down audio outputs. Both optical (toslink) and coaxial digital outputs are also provided for maximum flexibility.

Remote
The DV981H remote is similar in appearance to the other remotes offered by OPPO. The buttons are small and are getting more difficult to read as my eyes get worse with age. The navigation keys were easy to use, but most of the others buttons took a fair amount of effort to see. Unortunately, the remote does not have backlighting, but they do glow in the dark. True backlighting behind the keys would be an improvement as using the remote in a dark environment can be a problem.

Performance
Video tests were run on our Mitsubishi LT-52133 1080p LCD display with the included HDMI cable. Several test discs including the Faroudja DVD, Silicon Optix HQV DVD, and some of our favorite sample material, put the player through the ringer. The player did an excellent job at deinterlacing and scaling. The flag waving test on the Faroudja disc looked great as it should since this is a Faroudja-based processor. Even the HQV tests did surprsingly well on this player with just a few issues with some of the less common cadences. Some players while attempting to scale a 480i material will actually make the picture look worse. Not the case with the DV981H. The DCDi® (Directional Correlation Deinterlacing) video processing on this player is excellent and the image resolution looked fantastic for DVD. I say DVD because no one should think that the native resolution of the DVD source material will ever look as detailed as Blu-ray or HD-DVD even though it is being upconverted to 1080p.

Conclusion
The Oppo DV981H is everything the earlier DV971H offered and more with the exception of the analog component video outputs. The player supports an array of formats including SACD, DVD-Audio and HDCD. The DVD player does an outstanding job deinterlacing and scaling video to 1080p resulting in excellent video quality. The Faroudja TrueLife™ enhancement and motion adaptive noise reduction works wonders on real-world material and the results are seen on the screen. Even though many of the new high-definition players support scaling of standard DVD resolution (720x480), few look as good as the OPPO DV981H DVD player and certainly not at the price of $229. OPPO sweetens the deal by including a 6-foot HDMI cable which is hard to beat.

- Kevin Nakano




OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Projector: Mitsubishi HC5000 Full-HD 1080p LCD Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD+ A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer

D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
HDMI Cables: VizionWare Hi-Wirez 15-meter Active HDMI Cable
Power Conditioning: Panamax MAX® 5510 ACRegenerator
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 ISF Certified All-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: ColorFacts PRO with GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer


Review - At a Glance


OPPO - DV981H HDMI-Enabled DVD Player


Click here to download the OPDV981H User Manual


Specifications

Disc Types

DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD (SACD), DivX®, XviD, Audio CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD*
(*Note: The DV-981HD does not play Blu-Ray nor HD-DVD discs)

Official DivX® Certified product, certified to the Home Theater Profile. Plays all versions of DivX® video (including DivX® 6) with standard playback of DivX® media files with encoded video resolution up to 720x480 30fps and 720x576 25fps
CD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R DL**
(**Note: Compatibility with user-encoded contents or user-created discs is on a best effort basis with no guarantee due to the variation of media, software and techniques used. For example, Discs recorded on some stand-alone DVD recorders or DVD camcorders may not exhibit smooth playback. )

Output

Analog Audio: Stereo, 5.1ch
Digital Audio: Coaxial, Optical, HDMI
Analog Video: Composite, S-Video (Y/C) - standard-definition output only
Digital Video: HDMI with HDCP (NTSC 480p/720p/1080i/1080p, PAL 576p/720p/1080i/1080p)
No Component Video Output. The DV-981HD is designed for use with a display device with HDMI or DVI digital video input.

Video Characteristics

HDMI: HDMI Specifications 1.1, CEA-861-B
S-Video Amplitude: Y: 1.0Vp-p (75 Ohm), C: 0.286Vp-p (75 Ohm)
Composite Video Amplitude: 1.0Vp-p (75 Ohm)

Audio Characteristics

Frequency: 20Hz – 20kHz (+/-1dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >100dB
Total Harmonic Distortion: < 0.01%

General Specification

Power Supply: ~ 100V – 240V, 50/60Hz AC
Power Consumption: 20W
Dimensions: 420mm x 270mm x 41mm, 16-1/2 x 10-5/8 x 1-5/8 inches
Mass: 2.4kg / 5.20 lbs (DVD player unit only)

Operating Temperature

5°C - 35°C
41°F - 95°F

Operating Humidity

15% - 75%
No condensation



Features

Universal DVD Player Features:

  • DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD (SACD) and DVD-Video universal playback
  • Compatible with Audio CD, HDCD, WMA, Kodak Picture CD, and other digital audio/video/picture media and formats* (*Note: The DV-981HD does not play Blu-Ray nor HD-DVD discs)
  • Official DivX® Certified product, certified to the Home Theater Profile
  • Plays all versions of DivX® video (including DivX® 6) with standard playback of DivX® media files
  • Plays XviD and .SRT, .SMI, .IDX and .SUB format
  • Compatible with CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW and DVD+R DL* (*Note: Compatibility with user-encoded contents or user-created discs is on a best effort basis with no guarantee due to the variation of media, software and techniques used. For example, Discs recorded on some stand-alone DVD recorders or DVD camcorders may not exhibit smooth playback. )

Video Up-Conversion Features:

  • High definition up-conversion with film-like picture quality to up-convert 720x480 interlaced video encoded on DVD discs to 480p/720p/1080i and 1080p
  • DCDi by Faroudja video processing technology with progressive scan, film mode detection, TrueLife™ enhancement and motion adaptive noise reduction.
  • Video is analyzed on a single pixel granularity to detect presence or absence of angled lines and edges, which are then processed to produce a smooth natural looking image without visible artifacts (jaggies)
  • High-quality pure digital video and audio through a single HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) cable
  • Multiple high definition video formats through HDMI output: NTSC: 480p/720p/1080i/1080p; PAL: 576p/720p/1080i/1080p
  • Compatible with HDTV, HD-Ready TV, HDTV monitors and projectors with an HDMI or DVI input
  • Direct PAL/NTSC disc and TV compatibility and system conversion
    (For more information about DVD video up-conversion, please read our white paper article Getting the Most out of DVD on an HDTV Display)
  • Supports screen aspect ratio 4:3 (standard) and 16:9 (wide-screen)
  • User adjustable video controls: Sharpness, Contrast, Brightness, and Saturation
  • Composite video and S-Video outputs (standard-definition output only)

Optimized Audio Features:

  • High-resolution multi-channel digital audio output through HDMI supporting CD, DVD-Audio, SACD, Dolby Digital and DTS sound tracks.
  • Individual analog 5.1-channel surround and down-mixed stereo outputs
  • 24-bit, 192kHz high resolution audio D/A converters
  • Optical and coaxial digital audio outputs with DTS, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro-Logic II and Linear PCM support
  • 3D Surround (Virtual Surround): Concert, Live, Dance, Techno, Classic, Soft
  • Built-in equalizer, channel trim and channel delay functions

Compatibility Features:

  • PAL/NTSC disc and TV compatible with automatic or manual system conversion
  • Dual-laser optical pickup head with excellent error correction
  • Enhanced dual-layer disc support with fast layer change
  • Wide range universal power supply (~100V-240V, 50/60Hz AC)

Convenience Features:

  • Special disc tray - thin, flexible and strong. Can tolerate some bending without breaking.
  • Smooth and easy navigation of photo albums, music collections and video files on DVD and CD
  • Selectable subtitle and audio tracks
  • Discrete ON/OFF remote control IR code for programmable universal remote controls

Firmware Updates:

  • Upgradeable via CD-ROM

Connectors:

  • HDMI - High Definition Multimedia Interface: 1
  • Analog Stereo Audio (Mixed 2-Channel Left/Right): 1 group (2 connectors)
  • Analog 5.1 Channel Audio: 1 group (6 connectors)
  • S/PDIF (IEC-958) Coaxial Digital Audio: 1
  • S/PDIF (IEC-958) Optical Digital Audio: 1
  • Composite Video: 1
  • S-Video: 1

    Note:
    No Component Video (YPbPr/YCbCr) on the DV-981HD model. This model is designed for use with a display device with HDMI or DVI digital video input.

Accessories Included:

  • High-quality certified HDMI cable with gold-plated HDMI connectors
  • Remote control with "glow in the dark" keypad (batteries included)
  • Stereo audio cable
  • Composite video cable
  • User manual and warranty information

Company Information

OPPO Digital, Inc.
2269 Old Middlefield Way
Mountain View CA 94043 USA

Phone: 650-961-1118
Source: Manufacturer Supplied
MSRP: $229

URL: www.oppodigital.com
Email: Cservice@oppodigital.com

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