If only the best will do, the Oppo BDP-103 is the Blu-ray player you really want. It costs more than most mainstream competitors, but justifies that with pristine image processing and a bevy of advanced performance-oriented features. Video can be upscaled all the way to 4K with nary an artifact to be found, and this near-universal disc player can handle formats such as SACD and DVD-Audio. Built-in streaming options are limited, but if that's a concern, it's one that can be easily addressed via a $50 Roku Streaming Stick.
In a word, unbeatable. Experts are quick to point out that while the Oppo BDP-103's Blu-ray Disc performance is just about the best money can buy, it's not going to be light-years better than that of even cheap Blu-ray players; such is the nature of Blu-ray technology. The superior image quality shines through more noticeably with DVDs, however. No, not even the BDP-103 can make a DVD look like a Blu-ray Disc, multiple reviewers note, but most add that the near-pristine performance of the Oppo's Marvell Kyoto-G2H Qdeo video processor brings it closer to that benchmark than anything else now or previously available. The BDP-103 can play back 3D Blu-ray Discs, of course, and convert 2D material to 3D. All video formats can be upscaled to a full 4K, for those thinking of springing for one of the new-generation UHD TVs.
Fast off the mark. The Oppo BDP-103 isn't the absolute fastest Blu-ray player available, but among tested Blu-ray players it is close enough to the top that most reviewers say any shortfall will be unnoticeable. The Oppo beats most Blu-ray Disc players by a few seconds in disc-loading test heats, PCMag.com editors say. It is also a couple of seconds faster than last year's BDP-93. Home Theater magazine's David Vaughn says that menu navigation is snappier than on earlier Oppo players.
Refreshingly easy to use. Despite an abundance of options geared toward videophiles, critics across the board note how simple it is to set up and use the BDP-103. An easy-to-navigate configuration menu and a clear, comprehensive user manual limit the need for troubleshooting during setup. Automatic firmware updates make keeping the unit up to date a breeze. On the downside, PCMag.com's Will Greenwald notes that the remote control's home button feels like every other button, making unwanted presses initially easy. On the upside, others comment that the remote's IR sensitivity is improved over that of previous Oppo Blu-ray players.
Tons of performance extras. The BDP-103 is jam-packed with features. As noted, the player is 3D capable and can convert 2D to 3D. Built-in streaming performs well and Wi-Fi is built in, but a few notable providers, such as Amazon Instant and Hulu Plus, are not on board. If that matters, one of this player's two HDMI inputs is MHL (Mobile High Definition) compliant and can accept an accessory Roku Streaming Stick (Est. $50), which brings those services and a ton more to the player. The second HDMI input makes this Blu-Ray player's pristine image processing available to other devices (cable or satellite boxes, video-game consoles, other disc players, etc.) in your home theater setup. Other connectivity includes multichannel (up to 7.1 channels) analog audio outputs, coaxial and optical digital audio outputs and two HDMI outputs. There are also lots of custom picture controls; Home Theater magazine says that those should be left alone for Blu-ray playback, but can be helpful with standard-definition content or with content fed through the HDMI input. There are multiple zoom modes as well, including a stretch mode that's ideal for use with a video projector equipped with an anamorphic lens. Disc and file format support is comprehensive, including DVD-audio and SACD.
A bargain for videophiles; for others, not so much. For videophiles who won't be satisfied with anything but the very best, the Oppo BDP-103 is a slam dunk. Performance is unbeatable, as is the level of custom video control compared to other Blu-ray players. However, the BDP-103 could be overkill for many. Those who would be satisfied with a player that's "only" very good should consider the Sony BDP-S5100 (Est. $120) . Picture quality is a hair behind, though it should be more than good enough to impress the majority of viewers. The Sony also falls behind in high-end features and connectivity (no analog audio outputs, for example), but is otherwise well equipped, with robust streaming and 3D support.
PCMag.com's Will Greenwald says the Oppo BDP-103 is "built like a tank" and rewards this Blu-Ray player with the Editors' Choice award. After extensive testing, Greenwald is left impressed with this player's speedy loading time, artifact-free performance and strong breadth of extra features.
Review: Oppo BDP-103, Will Greenwald, Nov. 29, 2012
2. Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
Chris Heinonen offers an exhaustive and largely positive assessment of the Oppo BDP-103. While overall picture quality is at the top of the pack, Heinonen says it's the extras that make this top performer stand out over its predecessors. "Other players have come out firing at Oppo, but none has yet to dethrone it as the reference Blu-ray player," he concludes.
Review: Oppo BDP-103 Universal Blu-ray Player, Chris Heinonen, Jan. 21, 2013
3. Home Theater Magazine
Home Theater magazine writer David Vaughn praises the Oppo BDP-103's zippy load times and great video performance before highly recommending this Blu-Ray player in his extensive review. He notes, however, that while the picture quality is amazing, it doesn't seem to be substantially better than that of previous Oppo models.
Review: Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray 3D Player, David Vaughn, Nov. 9, 2012
ConsumerReports.org includes the Oppo BDP-103 among the current Blu-ray players it reviews on its site. Testing is hands-on and results are boiled down to make them easy for even complete Blu-ray novices to understand, but discussion falls far short of what's found at the sites of most other reviewers.
Review: Oppo BDP-103, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Users at Amazon.com are largely satisfied with the Oppo BDP-103, giving this universal player a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars following more than 220 reviews. Feedback is largely glowing, with high marks given for outstanding speed, picture quality and audio performance. While complaints are minimal, a handful report networking, freezing and other issues.
Review: Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc Player, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013