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OPPO BDP-831 Blu-ray Player - OPPO BDP-831 Blu-ray Player
The fun doesn't stop there. There's an Ethernet port for downloading BD Live content and a second USB port on the back for adding extra memory to the 1GB already inside the player. And if this deck is intended as part of a custom installation, the IR input and outputs make it easy to integrate.
Although the lack of built-in Wi-Fi support is mildly disappointing, OPPO says it's going to sell a compatible USB Wi-Fi dongle through its online store. In the meantime, there's more than enough elsewhere to make up for it. Possibly the most remarkable feature is DVD-Audio and SACD playback, a talent that has until now been reserved for the mega-expensive Marantz UD9004. And when you consider that the OPPO can also play almost every DVD and CD format going (apart from DVD-RAM) - as well as DivX HD, MKV, JPEG, AVCHD and WMA files from USB or disc - then it has to be the most media-friendly Blu-ray deck in the business. Oddly enough, the only format our sample wouldn't play is MP3, but OPPO says that it will be activated on production units.
Handling picture processing duties is Anchor Bay's Video Reference Series (VRS) chip, which was last seen gracing the DV-983H DVD deck. It tackles deinterlacing, DVD upscaling and detail enhancement among other things, and if implemented properly it could give this player a real advantage over similarly-priced rivals.
Also on offer is a range of zoom modes that alter the aspect ratio, including a vertical stretch mode for 2.35:1 Constant Image Height displays. You also get 1080p/24 output and a Source Direct mode that outputs the raw video signal without applying any processing, should you want to run it through an external video processor. Such is OPPO's generosity that it even throws two Blu-rays into the bargain - Spears & Munsil's video calibration disc and an AIX Records HD sampler & audio calibration disc.
Thankfully OPPO has ditched the rudimentary onscreen design of its DVD players for a more sophisticated system, which uses bright, welcoming graphics and a foolproof structure. This makes setup a doddle, despite the extensive array of picture and sound tweaks on board.
The picture menu offers nine adjustable parameters to play around with, giving you a great deal of control over how the image looks, and for audio you can tweak each individual speaker channel as well as selecting various options for SACD and DVD-Audio playback.
Ever the show-off, OPPO even supplies a remote with a backlight to help you find the right buttons in the dark. But to be honest, the button placement is so well thought out that you can mostly use it without looking anyway.