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Oppo DV-981HD: playing better DVDs

Many people thinks DVD has enough quality to enjoy. But some chinese manufacturers thing little different: why not to improve DVD video to 1080p stanrdard, when it’s so easy now? Although you probable haven’t heard about this brand, the $229 Oppo DV-981HD player that upscales garden-variety DVDs from the usual 480p up to 1080p resolution. It has an HDMI output, but gone is the component video output of its predecessor. That coveted 1080p video doesn’t travel well over component outputs anyway, especially if you’re forced to deal with HDCP (copy-protected) content, but works fine on the majority of basic setups. More info can be found at the product page. Yeah, there are Blu-Ray devices and HDTV, but DVDs’re still pretty good choice for a normal consumer…

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  1. Ken
    December 8th, 2006 | 22:19

    I agree! I have the Oppo 971 model, and i must say, that the company is committed to their products, and after service.
    Upscaling is a good idea, but one of the main benefits of a player like this (which often goes unmentioned!) is that it takes the DIGITAL data on a DVD and outputs via DVI/HDMI DIGITALLY!

    There is no digital–>anolog–>digital conversion taking place, which is what happens when you connect DVD PLAYERS via Component/Scart/SVIDEO etc..This causes picture degradation…

    You will only notice the benefits of upscaling if you have a hd ready display above 37” in size…which has hdmi or dvi input

    As long as the source dvd you are watching is a good transfer (ie an original DVD and not a copy), then this players faroudja genesis chip shines, and produces an astonishing picture…

    When playing compressed DVD material (ie compressed copies or divx files) this player will enhance that compression and produce artifacting/macroblocking in certain areas of the film you are watching, and it is then that you will wonder ‘what a crap picture’…what have i done!
    Having said that it outputs divx/xvid files better than any player i have owned, and thats saying a lot!

    Me—i love it— by far the best dvd player on the market, and came top in Secrets 100 Benchmark test, beating other top branded $3000.00 DVD players!

    If that fits, BUY IT!

  2. Tucker
    December 9th, 2006 | 19:23

    It truly is a wonderful time we live in! Must add this baby to my christmas shopping list.

  3. koopsta
    December 10th, 2006 | 08:57

    Hi there – how does this improve the video quality though? I’d assume it’d be kind of like reencoding a 128kbps mp3 at 320kbps .. no gain in quality because the source itself is less than what you’re going for.

  4. Ken
    December 10th, 2006 | 11:20

    Hi Koopsta,

    You are not re-encoding anything! You are just playing the digital data on the DVD the way it is meant to be played.

    The video quality is improved by a combination of factors such as digital output, faroudja de-interlacing, correct pulldown of frames (ie: 2:2 or 3:2) and choosing required upscaling 540/720p/1080i.

    All these IMPORTANT features are missing on your mass market DVD players, even the current generation upscaling DVD players are no match for this BEAST’S prowess! lol

    If you have ever tried to play a DVD via your Home Theater PC, using software like Theatretek/FFDshow, and output via your Graphics Card to a TV, you will understand that a MUCH better picture can be achieved by this method.

    This OPPO does exactly the same thing, if not better, without the need for a HTPC.

    I believe that this new model outputs via HDMI only, and has 1080p output as well, if your screen can match it.

    Cheers :)

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