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OPDV971H DVD Player Updates - Remote Control & Firmware

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It's rare that we run into an almost universal consensus among users with respect to the quality of a company's customer service. Certainly there have been some companies in the past, Axiom Audio for example, that have excelled in this category; but Oppo Digital may perhaps take the cake. Since the introduction of their OPDV971H DVD player last year they have consistently provided excellent quality of service and attention to their customers.

Here are just a few examples of the kinds of quotes you will find around the web with respect to Oppo's almost unbelievable customer service:

"What a pleasure to deal with... they answer emails with actual usable information usually in less than 30 minutes." - resellerratings.com

"I was very pleased with their customer support - they are very responsive and really caring, which is hard to find nowadays. I e-mailed them a couple of times to check on the status of my package (holidays shipping - you know...) And they were very professional again, even had sent me a second remote while the first one was delayed in the mail." - amazon.com

"...Oppo's customer service is fantastic. even though I bought my player at Amazon, I asked them if they could send me a dvi-hdmi cable (some Amazon units don't ship with one) and all I had to do was forward them my confirmation email." - bensbargains.net

Firmware Updates to Fix Bugs Fast

Firmware updates are a mixed bag. For one, if a company makes decent products and has adequate quality control, chances are they won't require any firmware updates (how many times do you see Yamaha do a firmware update for example?) The other side of the coin is that if a company is doing their best, then as long as the ability to make a firmware update is present - and they are quickk to make these updates - then you could say that this is a good thing. It is even more acceptable when the product in question is priced at just under $200.

New Minor Firmware Release

Version: OP971-D-1111B
Release Date: November 22, 2005

Summary of changes in this release:

  1. Default brightness level set to studio level

Summary of changes in previous major release:

  1. Added support for 2:2 Cadence for PAL playback.

  2. Proper DivX aspect ratio support. 4:3 content will no longer be stretched to fit the screen.

  3. Enhanced DVD+R Dual Layer support.

  4. Fixed TrueLife turning off DCDi. Turning Off TrueLife functionality will now retain all DCDi functionality.

  5. Added Noise Reduction function.

  6. Fixed Frame Stepping for Black remote users.

  7. Fixed proper aspect ratio support while zooming.

  8. Added support for DTS and Dolby Digital tracks on DVD-Audio discs

  9. Added memory function for single ejected disc

  10. Added Random and Shuffle functionality for Audio CD playback.

  11. Increased the DVI mode change display time.

  12. Added firmware Version display through OSD button.

  13. Added support for DivX Digital Right Management (DRM) and Video on Demand (VOD)

  14. Increased baseline Brightness. Default Brightness is now equivalent to "+5" in previous firmware.

  15. Changed user interface font to Arial.

The Firmware Update Process

Oppo utilizes ISO CD-ROMs with which to perform firmware updates. This is a great way to do it as it alleviates the need for Serial connection or adding USB interfaces which would increase the price of the unit. Here is the process in a nutshell (taken from Oppo 舗 s website):

  • Download the firmware from Oppo

  • Burn a CD from the downloaded ISO image file. Be sure to burn the CD as an ISO image file, not a data file. The CD should contain a .bin file if you burned successfully. Please consult your CD burning software's help/instruction manual for more information on how to do this.

  • Turn on your display and the OPPO player.

  • Open the player tray and insert the firmware CD, and then close the tray.

  • As soon as the CD is loaded, you will see "Press Play to Start" on your TV/display. Press the PLAY key on the remote or the player once.

  • The TV display shows "File Copying" and then "UPGRADING"

  • In about 8 seconds, the CD will be ejected. Remove the CD quickly. DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE. The player will go through an internal update process and then reboot itself.

  • DO NOT PRESS ANY BUTTONS OR ATTEMPT TO CLOSE THE TRAY OR UNPLUG THE POWER DURING THE REMAINING UPGRADE PROCESS.

  • After approximately 1 - 2 minutes, the player reboots itself and closes the tray automatically to complete the process.

I tested the latest firmware update and found it to fix the default brightness level which was off in prior releases. Considering that the remote and the brightness (black) level were the two main gripes I had with the player during my review last year, I pretty much got first hand experience in just how fast Oppo's customer service works!

Got a Mediocre Remote? Rebuild It! (and then give it away for free)

Oppo OPDV971H remoteThe original remote (at least the one that came with our review sample) was lackluster in its functionality and ability to perform ergonomically - a main criteria for getting high scores in my 'remote control' category. It had an out-of-the-way Menu button, no backlit keys, and all of the buttons were lined up like corn rows 舑 making it very hard to use by tactile feel.

After cruising through the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas and seeing the Chinese, Korean and Taiwan booths - many of which had tens of different remote control styles - all ready to be OEM'ed - I no longer tolerate any excuse for an overtly bad remote control. They are simply too cheap and easy to come by. Oppo, apparently ran into the same people and integrated something more useful in their currently shipping models. The new remote control breaks up the buttons nicely. It also has a more ergonomic feel in the hand, with a gentle curve, both along the back and sides of the remote body. Gone are the endless rows of 3-wide buttons, replaced by a more mixed arrangement that can be felt in the dark.

The new remote control is still not backlit, but does have glow-in-the-dark keys which make it much easier to use when the lights go out. They also moved the Menu, Title, and Return buttons into position around the navigational keys. The buttons are a tad difficult to mash, but for a $200 DVD player I'll agree to cease complaining. Overall the remote qualifies as very nice and quite usable.

Oppo OPDV971H DVD Player

MSRP: $199
http://www.oppodigital.com

 

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