Oppo OPDV971H Player Set-Up
Pressing the Setup button on the remote control brings up the icon and text-driven menu system for configuring the DVD player. You can set all of the standard fare, including TV shape, language and screen saver. You can also use the "Light Control" menu setting to enable or disable the front panel LED lights located on the power, eject, and navigation controls. As my rack is located in the back of the room I left the lights on, but those of you trying to tame the chorus of landing lights in the front of your room may wish to use the menu to turn off these LEDs.
Setting up the audio for the player was easy, though I found myself looking for more information and options. You can select the Downmix which will appear on the twin RCA connections labeled "Mixed" on the back of the player. If you select 5.1 then discs with 5.1 content will play straight through with no downmixing. There are basic bass management options provided by the player and speakers can be set to Large or Small to allow bass frequencies to either route to the speakers or be crossed over to the subwoofer. While we were glad to see this, the crossover frequency could not be adjusted, and time delay varied per speaker. The center channel, for example, maxed out at 68" (5' 8" ). That was just over half the distance I needed to get to my listening position. Subs and surrounds were more flexible, with maximum settings of 204" (17'). In addition to the issue of maximum distance, the channel delay was configurable in 4" increments. There are also no delay settings available for the main speakers, which is confusing considering the center channel would need to closely match the main speakers (and thus, by deduction possibly controls delay for the mains as well).
Update: According to OPPO, the audio channel delay adjustments are relative distance between the main speakers and the center, left surround and right surround speakers. The adjustments are not the absolute distance between each speaker and the listener. For this reason the adjustable distance of the center channel is limited to 68", and for the same reason the delay for the main speakers is not adjustable. The idea is to compensate the audio propagation difference caused by the distance difference of the speakers. This is not clearly mentioned in the manual, thus the confusion.
The Audio Setup Page allows you to configure the unit to upsample PCM audio to either 48kHz, 96kHz, or 192kHz. You can also set up Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II modes within the player through dedicated sub-menus, though this only works with the analogue outputs of the player. In this way you can tweak the options for dynamic range and also set Pro Logic II to default to Music or Movie modes (there is even an option for good old fashioned Pro Logic). Music mode gives you additional settings for Panorama, Dimension, and Center Width (how much of the mains gets fed into the center channel speaker). Most users will configure such settings on their receivers. Moving back to the main Audio Setup page you will also find a place to adjust channel trims (+/- 10dB in 0.5dB steps) via an on-screen display of sliders (one for each of the 5.1 channels). A global Audio Delay is provided for 0-50ms delay in 10ms increments. This is intended for use to compensate for slower digital displays that may cause the audio to be ahead of the video.
The Video Setup page finishes up the Setup menu with access to Sharpness, Brightness, Contrast and Saturation (+/- 10 for each setting except Sharpness which is Off/High/Medium/Low). It was at this point that the lack of a key repeat on the remote control really started to get to me. To make adjustments you'll need to repeatedly press the key for each incremental change. After a while it just gets tiring. TrueLife (switchable on/off) enables the DVI-only Faroudja processing that uses non-linear algorithms to enhance small details and colors in images. It is designed to improve depth perception by sharpening large edges without introducing visual artifacts or distortion. Basically, turning TrueLife "off" disables the Faroudja deinterlacing, causing the Oppo to perform rather poorly when feeding any DVI/HDMI-capable device.
Update: According to Oppo the problem with turning off DCDi when "TrueLife" is set to "Off" will be corrected in the next firmware release and will be available shortly.
The last Setup Menu items are under the Preference Page and are accessible when the
player is in the stopped mode. Here you can set the unit for NTSC or PAL (the player converts from one
to the other, but we could not verify as we do not have any PAL discs). You can also set the default
language, subtitles, audio track, reload factory default settings and set Parental controls. There is
also an SVCD-specific function called PBC that determines whether SVCD discs play the menu image or
simply play the disc in sequence.
Oppo provides a setting in the Video Setup menu called CCS, or Cross Color Suppression. This was permanently enabled until they pulled it out in a recent firmware update. We recommend leaving this Off as it seems to negatively affect the picture under certain conditions. CCS is intended to be used for still images or imagery that is not in motion and eliminates artifacts caused by the presence of chroma (color) information left in the luma signal after color separation.
I found the remote control to be somewhat of an anomaly. I really liked the look of the buttons. In fact, the buttons looked like they should light up... but they didn't. As a result I eventually programmed it into my universal remote control since it is nearly impossible to see a dark remote in a front projection theater room. Navigation controls were well laid out with the exception of the MENU button, which was located well out of the way, inconveniently placed towards the top of remote. The SETUP button, on the other hand, was right above the 4-way selection area. These two should probably be switched in future iterations.
A KEYBOARD button on the remote brings up an on-screen control overlay, similar to what you see with software DVD players. I'm not too sure what the advantage of having this is, except that the remote control itself isn't that well laid out, so being able to memorize the location of the Virtual Keyboard button might make sense for many people in a darker room. The problem, of course, is that the KEYBOARD button itself is nestled into the mix of buttons at the bottom of the remote! An improvement on this remote could be done simply by varying the button layout a bit more using size and location to differentiate areas for better tactile recognition. Backlighting is a must, and get that oft-used (for me at least) MENU button closer to where the action is.
Some more good things to note include direct access and toggle functions of such things as EQ, ZOOM, SUBTITLE, AUDIO tracks, and a MUTE button that cuts off both analogue and digital audio on command. You can jump to any Chapter or time (via track or disc time) by hitting the GOTO button. A PSM button gives you a nifty 13-band "eye candy" level meter across the bottom of the image that reacts in real time with what's playing. There are two versions that you can toggle. There is probably some proud software developer in China that spent months on this feature - we thought it only fair to at least mention it.
Update: According to Oppo, a new remote control design is in the works and should be available in a few weeks.
Video and Audio Measurements & Testing
Performing measurements and tests on a DVD player using tools at our disposal is somewhat objective, but still results in a certain amount of subjective decision-making in terms of scoring and evaluation. As such, we recommend that these test results be used as a guideline only. For the review of this DVD player, the performance was based on the player in conjunction with the display monitor. We used the Yamaha LPX-510 3LCD projector which was calibrated as close as possible to ISF reference standards. For the test and evaluation of the OPDV971H we used selections from Avia Pro and the Silicon Optix HQV Technology benchmark DVD test discs in addition to various test clips from popular movies.
This is the first player to undergo our new Audioholics DVD torture tests which is part of our new DVD Player Features and Benchmark Comparisons Chart . Our tests are designed to provide objective feedback to sequences and patterns that represent real-world scenarios. Rest assured, this first test was quickly followed up by a couple of other players we had on hand, and we'll try to re-test older players we've already reviewed as they are available to us. The testing process is rigorous. The simple fact is that many of the high-end DVD players cannot pass all the sequences and we are looking at items that will separate "the men from the boys" in addition to what are basic requirements for all quality players. We at Audioholics feel there should be no compromise on borderline judgment calls on the tests. The DVD player either passes the test or it doesn't (exceptions are noted where partial credit is possible). We also do our best to try various settings, outputs and adjustments to ensure the best possible results. It is our hope that with this testing, the DVD player manufacturers will continue to upgrade their implementation of the technologies and strive to make products that are fully capable of providing excellent picture quality for real world situations. All DVD player reviews are subjected to this latest batch of new tests. Please read the conclusions for our thoughts on the DVD player's performance.