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OPPO DV-983H Review
1080p Upconverting DVD Player
Out of the Box
The all black, with silver buttons, DV-983H has a strong familial resemblance to its older siblings. The fundamental differences lie under the hood with the chipsets used for video processing, which I will discuss later.
On the surface, the major changes from the DV-980H are that DV-983H does not have a Control and Navigation wheel on the front and the USB 2.0 port is now on the back. The DV-981HD does not provide a USB port.
(I realize that keeping the 980, 981, and 983 clear in your head can be confusing. I constantly have to double check which is which. I recommend that you go to the OPPO site and look at the comparison table.)
In fact, the 983 mirrors the 980 much more closely than the 981, especially when it comes to the back connection panel. So much so, that I can repeat what I wrote in the 980 review.
The 983H supplies Component video outputs along with HDMI. (The 981HD just has HDMI.) The manual warns that most commercial DVDs contain CSS encryption which limits Component output to 480i/480p. So if you are watching a lot of movies, you will want to implement an HDMI pipeline in your system.
(Since they will not transmit an upconverted signal, the S-Video and Composite Out connections are really only for trouble shooting purposes.)
The second variance from the 981 is the 7.1 analog audio outputs on the 983. (The 981 furnishes 5.1.) Of course, the HDMI cable also transmits audio and in addition, an S/PDIF optical digital audio output is included.
I know that many of you feel strongly about the advantages of one connection or another. This player gives you a full range of options and the manual does a good job of explaining all the audio and speaker setup menus.
The manual is great. With a feature rich product like the 983, a clearly written document full of sensible suggestions for settings is a godsend. Even if you are allergic to manuals, I recommend that you spend some time reading this one.
Also on the back panel, RS-232 and IR IN/OUT control ports expedite the integration of the 983 into a home theater setup.
The 983 remote is not backlit but the fluorescent white buttons do glow in the dark. It is literally a twin of 980 remote and I found that either remote can control either machine.
We have the 52" LCD Sharp Aquos LC-52D64U in for review right now, so I used it as our display. I routed the DV-983H through the Pioneer AV receiver VSX-82TXS to the Aquos with HDMI cables. Since the Pioneer can switch between three HDMI inputs, I also hooked up the DV-980H and the DV-981HD for the sake of comparison.
(On a side note, I experienced drop-out problems when I was playing audio CDs on the 983. Nathaniel Plain, the Head of OPPO's Technical Support, said that the current firmware update solved those errors with this series of Pioneer Elite receivers. Indeed it did. He also confirmed that players shipping now contain the new firmware (06-0406). I would suggest that you keep current with firmware. The update process with this OPPO was quick and painless.)
I set the output on all three DVD players to 1080p to match the Sharp's native resolution. To change resolutions on the OPPO, you Stop the DVD playback and punch the HDMI button on the remote, which cycles through the choices, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p.
The 983 also can output PAL resolutions of 576p, 720p 50Hz, 1080i 50Hz, and 1080p 50Hz. If you have PAL TV, you can change the TV Type in the Preferences Menu.
If you have an NTSC TV, you can play PAL DVDs. The OPPO will convert the PAL signal to NTSC. And vice versa with NTSC DVDs and a PAL TV. With the 983, you have the choice of video mode conversions. The Video 2 setting employs the superior Anchor Bay technologies to perform the PAL/NTSC conversion, but it is only available through the HDMI output. Finally, all 983's shipped in US are Region 1 players.
Where to Buy
Buy Direct from Oppo