I bought the 980 for my dad's system (a Luxman R-115 stereo receiver, a pair of Magnat MSP-60 bookshelf speakers and a small Samsung plasma) for Christmas. From everything I could tell about it, there wasn't anything that indicated that this player didn't live up to its billing. Easy to set up. I liked the amount of separation of the instruments with the sound quality. The highs, lows and mids were well balanced and well intergrated. The highs were clean, clear, extended and without any noticable sibilance or whiteness - phenomenal at this price point. Nice width and depth. The transients weren't quite the equal of a $725 DAC I have, but, even with an A,B comparison, its a very subtle distinction. I was impressed. The picture was excellent, too. Over HDMI, colors were not too vivid or too pale - both accurate looking and very natural looking after adjustment. Plenty of adjustment options. Remote was nice. Deinterlacing was fine and (shock of shocks) the upconverting not only actually works, but works like it, evidently, was supposed to from the very beginning(!). (Who'da thunk it?) All this for $170? - sweet! Personally, I can't wait for Oppo's Blu-ray player.
Well, I feel bad for that other reviewer of this DVD player, because, at least based on my experience (and you always need to wonder whether a sample size of one is statistically significant enough to make any sort of judgment - I believe in logic, it's an ad hominem fallacy - other liberal arts folks, feel free to correct my terminology).
Anyhow, I also wanted to say that I'm not an Oppo schill (though, if they wanted to throw a little cash my way for this positive review, I wouldn't complain ;) ).
So it sounds like my experience with my Oppo 780H has been the polar opposite of the former reviewer. I love my skinny little Oppo 780. I'm using it to replace a Denon DVD-1920, which, though acceptable as a universal disc player, had some issues, among which were it being only an HDMI 1.1 interface (the Oppo is HDMI 1.2 compliant), problems I had with the Denon playing multi-channel SACD, and an annoing tendency of the Denon to pause for a couple of seconds when switching layers in the middle of a movie. So, when the Denon decided to quit working (it was only two years old), I decided it was time to seek out and explore strange new universal disc players.
When I started seeing rave reviews for this machine and its predecssors at Stereophile.com and Audioholics.com, two web sites that seem to have radically opposed philosophies, I thought, what the heck! It's fairly cheap for a universal disc player. Let's get one.
When the Oppo arrived (it's only available over the internet), I was pleased by it's packaging. It was in a sturdy box, with an instruction sheet being the first thing you see when you open the box. It contained very clearly explanations about the need to, once you physically connected the machine, to enter its setup menu and confiigure it before you ever attempted to play a disc.
Connecting the Oppo was simple as I only used the good-quality HDMI cable included with the player. Since the player was HDMI 1.2 compatible, it was supposed to be able to provide my receiver (a Pioneer Elite VSX-82TSX) with a complete, multi-channel signal from an SACD - something the Denon, again, because it applied an earlier version of HDMI, was unable to do; btw, I don't fault the Denon for this, it was the standard when the machine was manufactured - as now HDMI 1.3 is the standard, but the benefits that provides seem more relevant to BluRay).
Anyhow, hookup was a breeze, the setup menus were a breeze, and it's been nothing but a joy to listen to. All the rave reviews I've read about the Oppo are right on. DVD-Audio discs are rich and detailed. Listening to Talking Heads' Speaking in Tongues (DVD-A) rocks. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (SACD) is as full and rich as my MoFi vinyl recording.
DVDs on the Oppo are awesome, too. I used the Oppo's internal scaler to bump up the signal to a 1080i signal, and, while it's obviously not BluRay, the picture on my 5-year old Sony 57-inch 1080i RPTV is spectacular. No pauses when the disc switches layers. Images are rich, colors are incredible, and definitely no jaggies (check out the flyover view of Rome in Gladiator).
Lots of slick little features. Especially that USB port on the front of the player. It recognizes a number of audio formats, but it's easiest if you just use MP3s. Check out the Oppo web site for all the supported formats. It doesn't support FLAC, though, so Hi-Res downloads won't work via this mode of delivery.
Still, if you have a universal disc player, why aren't you listening to your SACDs and DVD-As instead of crappy MP3s and other lossy codecs? And if you're just going to listen to MP3s, doesn't your receiver have a connector for your iPod?
You can also view movie files via the USB port, but you have to convert them, first, to DiVX files. That's kind of a time-consuming process, but it does work.
The USB will also play photos. They're kind of slow to load, but it is cool.
Overall, I'm incredibly impressed with my Oppo. Audio and video performance rivals that of players several times the cost. It has tons of cool features that I like. For instance, you can capture a frame from a movie and use it, instead of the Oppo flash screen, as your screen saver image when you pause a movie or fire up the Oppo without a disc in its tray.
If you're looking for a universal disc player in any price range, and don't want or need BluRay, definitely check this player out.
I am now three years into a long and twisting road toward assembling a "permanent" home entertainment system including decent H/T as well as 2-channel audio. And along that road I've had pleasant surprises and I've had unpleasant surprises -- but I've never been as shocked and stupefied by the disconnect between what other people are saying, and the experience I had, as with the Oppo DV980H. The player (and the company) for which nearly everyone has only praise and nary a whimper of complaint was, in my experience, just about the most single overrated piece of consumer tripe, this side of the New Coke.
To begin with, the Oppo doesn't work properly even by its own standards without a dizzying assembly-line of firmware upgrades. (Note to self: Never again buy a piece of electronics that touts how easy it is to upgrade with a front-end USB port. If it didn't work when it left the factory, don't buy it.) Break point insertions either do- or do not happen from disc to disc, with the same set of keystrokes, audio decoding either works or it doesn't with no apparent rhyme or reason, and most personal DVD backups of old VHS tapes either don't spin up at all, or return perhaps one frame in every twelve to the screen, making every old recording in your collection look like it was made with clay-mation.
Picture quality is lackluster at best, with lots and lots and lots of false contouring, and the audio is peppered with so much midrange breakup at even moderate output levels that for weeks I thought I'd somehow managed to blow up both of my front-channel speakers. It took me three solid days of experimentation to figure out how to make DTS content play to all six channels including the subwoofer, and then when I changed to a second DTS-encoded disc the same switch-settings no longer worked.
Along the way I also learned that the company apparently staffs a team of thinly disguised schills, trolling the discussion forums under the guise of helpful enthusiasts who immediately close down all discussions of their products that aren't favorable. As soon as it became apparent in a different forum that the helpful suggestions I was getting were self-contradictory and ignored my previous posts, my ostensible hobbyist friend posted one more time to say that next time I should read my manual, and then had the thread closed.
Finally I just threw up my hands and bought a Marantz DV7001 and -- WOW! -- it's so much better, from picture quality to audio reproduction to user interface to support, that I just can't see how anyone on earth should patronize Oppo and their second-rate products, whatsoever. Granted, the Marantz will cost a bit more money, but these days it's not really that much more, and besides: in the words of one famous movie character, you *WILL* know where that extra money went.
Send an e-mail to author "at" escapeclause "dot" net, if you'd like more details.