VIDEO: Our colleagues at Home Cinema Choice magazine give the Oppo BDP-831 the video treatment
Starting with Blu-ray, The Dark Knight gets a faithful and punchy presentation, bursting with detail and natural colours. The visuals have depth and density in spades, but the Oppo takes them in its stride, making them look rich and cinematic with deep, luxurious blacks and expansive contrast.
From the opening bank robbery, the pictures boast that HD wow factor: edges are as sharp as a Samurai sword and shots of Gotham City's buildings are terrifically three-dimensional.
The BDP-831's excellent detail retrieval is demonstrated by the precisely rendered textures of skin and walls. It picks up all the pockmarks in The Joker's patchy white make-up and the shadow detail on Bruce Wayne's T-shirt. The only let-down is the picture noise that can be seen fizzing in blue skies and other backgrounds, which the noise reduction modes seem powerless to stop.
However, it romps easily through the Silicon Optix HQV test patterns, and brilliantly bridges the SD/HD gap by upscaling DVDs with all the slickness and clarity of a dedicated high-end DVD player. The deck will even convert them to 24fps with no problem whatsoever.
The OPPO is also a formidable audio performer. We let it decode the test movie's Dolby True HD soundtrack and ran the signals through our test rig via the analogue outputs, and the results are stunning, particularly during the car chase through Gotham.
Explosions are fierce and gunshots have a sharp, bracing snap; bass is tight; steering is zippy and accurate; dialogue sounds smooth and high frequencies are relayed without sounding harsh. It's no slouch in the music department either, playing all discs with a satisfying balance across the frequency range.
Although the Oppo's £450 price tag seems steep, its extensive feature list, high-end design and knockout performance make it one of the best-value players around.
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