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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.12.07]
Manufactured by: OPPO Digital


Open the Box

The user experience for any electronic device always begins with opening the box when it is delievered to your door (or when you get home from the store, if you still buy such things in stores).

Even though Oppo offers value prices, the presentation is certainly not what you would expect from a value product. Open up your Oppo box, and you are treated with top-class packaging usually reserved for $1000+ units. Oppo takes great pride in delivering a full customer service experience.

Very classy, and will withstand the abuse expected from various couriers who sometimes seem to use peoples' shipping packages as soccer balls.

Inside the box, you'll find:

An AC power cable (the DV-981HD is dual-voltage by the way, and can be used anywhere in the world), a remote (with batteries), a well-written manual, a high-end HDMI cable (HDMI certified and gold-plated), and some analog RCA cables. Like I said before, the DV-981HD is ready to go right out of the box; the only thing you may need is a digital cable if you are not using HDMI to output digital audio (both coaxial and optical connections are supported).

Outside The Box

As you can see, Oppo have employed a minimalistic design for the DV-981HD. Featuring a matte black enclosure with brushed-metal look on the front, it is meant to blend into your AV setup rather than stand out as a showpiece like a video game console would.

The DV-981HD is full of blue-LEDs and lights which gives it a modern look, but may be distracting during playback. Thankfully, you can change the settings, which we will talk about later on.

The DVD tray definitely feels flimsy - it sort of bends and flexes with the slightest bit of pressure. However, I have the feeling that this design was intentional, and the tray is made to basically bend rather than break. This is a good thing, but it inevitably feels cheap because of the flex.

The DV-981HD carries a 1 year warranty, which is the norm for something in this price range. Oppo is known to have fabulous customer service, with direct correspondence to some technicians who actually know their stuff.

The Remote

While the DV-981HD itself looks classy and refined, if a bit understated, the remote looks a little cheap in comparison. The buttons all glow in the dark, at least for a while. This does come in handy in a dark room when you first need to set up your movie playback, but after a while the glow wears out, and you are stuck with a remote full of way too many buttons that are all a similar shape. A backlit remote would have been nice, but considering the price I guess it shouldn't be expected.

For those who use a single programmable remote, you'll be happy to hear that the DV-981HD supports discrete on/off codes.

Rear Panel Outputs

Make no mistake - the DV-981HD is only intended to be used with TV sets with an HDMI connection. Without such a connection, you will be left with either composite or S-Video, and a maximum resolution of 480p. Be sure to keep this in mind if you have an older set with the best connection choice being component cables, or if your digital input is DVI (in this case, you can use an HDMI > DVI cable).

Despite the fact that few analog choices are given for the video connection, you still get 6 channels of output for analog audio (as well as 2 'mixed' outputs if you are going to use this with stereo speakers). The DV-981HD has a 24 bit, 192 kHz DAC, so it may even be worth using these instead of your current amplifier if it is an older model, or a budget product.

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