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OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player with HDMI and Anchor Bay VRS Processing - Review

OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player - Page 2 - Evaluation and Final Take

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player with Anchor Bay VRS Video Processing - Inside Front View

OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player with Anchor Bay VRS Video Processing - Inside Front View

Photo (c) 2008 - Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Video Performance

In terms of casual viewing between DV-983H and the other DVD players used, the DV-983H was a definite improvement. Color consistency, edge smoothness, detail, and noise reduction were excellent, with the exception of slight noise on extremely dark scenes.

In a comparison with upscaled DVD on the 983 and Blu-ray or HD-DVD versions of three films (Crank. Italian Job, Serenity), I could tell the difference between true hi-def (sharper edges, more depth) and upscaled DVD (softer edges), but the 983 looked closer to true hi-def than the either the OPPO DV-980H or the Samsung DVD-HD931 upscaling DVD players used for upscaling comparison.

With regards to more technical testing, the DV-983H passed all of the tests on the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD, which measures DVD player or monitor performance with regards to video processing and upscaling.

The test results revealed that the DV-983H has excellent performance with regards to progressive scan (3:2 pulldown), jaggie elimination, noise reduction, detail, motion adaptive processing, and moire pattern detection and elimination. For some examples of how well the DV-983H did on the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark Tests, check out my DV-983H HQV Test Photo Gallery.

Also the DV-983H did not have a problem when converting HDMI to DVI. Using the DV-983H and the DVI input option on the Westinghouse LVW-37w3, which required an HDMI/DVI conversion cable, there was no problem with connection recognition. Also, rerunning the Silicon Optix Disc tests, I found no detectable performance difference between DVI and HDMI.

Audio Performance

OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player with Anchor Bay VRS Video Processing - Rear View

OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player with Anchor Bay VRS Video Processing - Rear View

Photo (c) 2008 - Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The DV-983 also delivered excellent audio performance on DVD soundtracks through the digital optical, digital coaxial, HDMI, and 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio outputs.

Also, when playing standard DVDS, CDs, SACDs (Super Audio CDs), and DVD-Audio Discs. I noticed no audio artifacts that could be attributed to the DV-983H.

Surround imagery and vocal presence in movie soundtracks, such as House of the Flying Daggers, Serenity, and U571, as well as audio-only discs, such as the SACD version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and the DVD-Audio version of Martin, Medeski, and Wood's Uninvisible, was very consistent.

In terms of standard 2-channel CD playback, Heart's Magic Man, with its distinctive bass slide to the extreme low end of the audio range, was spot on and Joshua Bell's recording of West Side Story Suite sounded like it was being performed live in my living room.

The DV-983H demonstrated versatility as both an excellent DVD player and CD/SACD/DVD-Audio player. It is too bad that SACD and DVD-Audio discs are hard to find on the shelves, as this player really delivers the goods on those two niche formats.

I tested the SACD and DVD-Audio output using the both the analog 5.1 channel outputs and the HDMI connection.

The only audio issue I encountered: When using HDMI for audio, I could not access audio files from USB flash drives or iPod unless I went into the DVD player menu and changed the HDMI audio setting from Auto to LPCM. The OPPO DV-980H comparison DVD player did not exhibit this problem - all audio could be accessed leaving the HDMI setting to Auto.

What I Liked About the DV-983H

There is definitely a lot to like:

1. The DV-983H plays almost all video and audio disc formats, with excellent video and audio performance.

2. HDMI and Component output with 720p,1080i, and 1080p upscaling options.

3. DVD-Audio and SACD accessible via 5.1 channel analog audio outputs or via HDMI (provided you have an HDMI 1.2 compatible home theater receiver).

4. iPod files accessible via OPPO DV-983H remote control. Just plug your iPod into the USB port and an iPod file folders pop up on your TV screen.

5. An HDMI connection cable provided - and it is a good one, not a cheap one.

6. Excellent styling, very thin profile allows easy placement. Easy to set up and use - excellent onscreen menu interface.

What I Didn't Like About the DV-983H

1. The USB input is mounted on rear panel instead of a more convenient front panel placement.

2. NTSC 480i or PAL 576i not available via HDMI output for external video processor/scaler use.

3. 720p, 1080i, and 1080p upconversion via Component outputs only available for non-copyprotected DVDs.

4. DSD signals from SACD source material converted to PCM for output.

5. If using HDMI output for audio access, you must switch it to LPCM setting in order to access audio content from Flash Drives or iPod.

6. High price point - $399.

7. Does not play Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs.

Final Take

Despite is modest appearance, the DV-983H is a power house of a DVD player. First off, it is easy to set up and use. Second, its video/audio performance is excellent. Also, the inclusion of the Anchor Bay VRS processing system is a real bonus.

OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player with Anchor Bay VRS Video Processing - Remote Control

OPPO Digital DV-983H DVD Player with Anchor Bay VRS Video Processing - Remote Control

Photo (c) 2008 - Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Using HDMI with the 720p, 1080i, and 1080p output settings in conjunction with a Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor, and using the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD as a reference, the DV-983H produced excellent results in terms of detail, color, video noise reduction, moire pattern detection and elimination, and frame cadence detection. The video quality also bore out in real world DVD playback as well, using several titles, including (but not limited to): Crank, Moulin Rouge, House of the Flying Daggers, and Serenity.

Audio performance of the DV-983H was also excellent. Dolby Digital/DTS surround sound options worked well, with excellent imaging. CD, DVD-Audio, and SACD playback audio reproduction was solid. I did not sense any shortcomings that could be attributed to the DV-983H. NOTE: DVD-Audio and SACD playback can be accessed by either the 5.1 Channel analog or HDMI outputs (provided you have an AV receiver with HDMI 1.2 input capability).

OPPO has succeeded in delivering a true reference-quality DVD player. However, the price point is high, the location of the USB port on the rear panel, instead of the front of the unit, did make using that feature inconvenient, and the conversion of SACD-DSD to PCM may put off some audiophiles.

However, taking everything into consideration, these drawbacks are minor. If you are reluctant to jump into true-HD with Blu-ray, you can still get the best video and audio quality that standard DVD can deliver with the almost-perfect DV-983H.

Based on its performance, the OPPO Digital DV-983H deserves a 5 Star rating.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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