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Oppo BD Player Earns Praise From All Corners

23 Sep, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

If you haven’t heard of Oppo Digital’s Blu-ray Disc player, it probably means you’re not a video/audiophile. Well, that and Amazon.com is the only retailer to carry the $499.99 player.

“We don’t want to get too big,” said Oppo CTO Jason Liao said at the recent CEDIA Expo in Atlanta. “We’re a customer-focused company.”

Earning near-universal praise from both its owners and hardware review sites, Oppo’s BDP-83, first released in July, boasts Blu-ray, DVD, Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio and CD capabilities, 7.1 analog outputs, standard HDMI output with 1080p, two USB ports and a GB of onboard memory.

Home Theater Forum gave the player its highest recommendation, CNET called its image quality “outstanding,” and Ultimate AV Mag named it the “ultimate Blu-ray player.”

Kevin Collins, director of Microsoft Corp.’s custom installation channel, and former Microsoft evangelist for HD DVD, said the BDP-83 is the best Blu-ray player he’s ever used.

Bill Hunt, editor of TheDigitalBits.com, was even more enthusiastic with his praise, saying, “It’s the aficionados’ top player. I love the Oppo.”

With all the praise heaped their way, you’d think Oppo would want to expand beyond one Blu-ray player model and one retailer (the player also is sold at oppodigital.com). But Liao is adamant that Oppo’s strength is its smallness, which allows the Mountain View, Calif.-based company to better relate to its customers. For example, Hunt Sept. 23 said he called Oppo customer service to resolve a problem with the company’s latest firmware upgrade, to play the new X-Men Origins: Wolverine Blu-ray. The problem was solved in 30 minutes, he said.

Try that with the bigger Blu-ray player manufacturers.

Oppo went so far as to let consumers decide when the BDP-83 was ready for market, doing two rounds of early adopter tests to work out any bugs.

“We know there’s going to be more demand for Blu-ray, and we’ll respond to it, but gradually,” Liao said. “We pay a lot of attention to our video quality, and the user interface. We love the feedback we’ve received.”

Liao said “guys with IP and video processing backgrounds” started the company in 2004, and Oppo first tested the high-def waters in early 2005 with the release of the OPDV971H upconverting DVD player. After a couple more upconverters, the company decided in 2007 that it was going to try Blu-ray.

“[The BDP-83] is the best for its price,” Liao said. “If you can find any one for under $1,000 like it, I’d like to see it.

“We know we’ve attracted some attention. Now we’re looking at what’s next.”

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