- The display panel on the front of the player was perfect for us; the letters were large enough to see pertinent information from the sofa, while the litany of smaller icons (BD, SACD, audio soundtrack type, etc.) let you know exactly what was going on up close. If we had to nitpick, we'd say the brightness level was a bit high, as it definitely glowed more than we wanted when all the lights were out. Maybe an intelligent sensor for dimming when the movie starts, OPPO?
- We were thoroughly impressed with the bundled remote. Sure, it's dead simple, but it's great for those not willing to mess with a universal alternative. The backlit buttons were easy to see, and the remote itself was comfortable to hold.
- Blu-ray Disc loading time was downright astounding. After the unit was powered up and setup, we popped in a BD copy of The Dark Knight. Literally 3 to 4 seconds later, we were watching an introduction to the film. We even tried it again to make sure our eyes weren't deceiving us, but yet again it managed to dive right into the film in a matter of seconds. Let's put it this way -- when you walk up to pop the BD in, it'll probably be playing by the time you get your rear back to the couch. Also, startup took only a few seconds; it was quick enough that we didn't even bother clocking it, and that's saying something.
- The user interface within the film was also admirable. The pop-up scrub bar let us see exactly where we were, and the pop-up menus were beautifully implemented.
- As for Blu-ray Disc playback? Drop-dead gorgeous. Granted, testing with The Dark Knight helps, but seriously, we watched intently for any reason to harsh on the player's playback abilities, and we came away empty-handed. The visuals were astounding, and the audio was equally impressive.
- Speaking of audio, the BDP-83 handled high-res audio decoding like a champ, and while we weren't able to personally test the analog surround output of SACD, the ports are definitely there. And given just how well it performed with a BD, we have no reason to believe things will be any less wonderful with SACD (and in the future, DVD-Audio).
- The bottom line? We can't believe that this isn't a finished product. We tried hard to find any beta jitters, and frankly, we couldn't. OPPO has a true winner on its hands here, and we're quite excited for this thing to start shipping en masse to those who need access to every major high-def / high-res format (save for HD DVD, sadly) in a single box.
- Again, the final MSRP has yet to be nailed down, but judging by what we've seen here, OPPO can't be far out from putting the finishing touches on this and marking it gold. If you're learning towards buying a new BD player, we can't help but ask you to wait -- particularly if you value the ability to play back SACD and DVD-Audio discs.