By Ben Bowers
on 8.26.08

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Now that the dust has settled from the duel between Blu-Ray and HD DVD, you might wonder why in the world we’d feature a player that, after all is said and done, still only plays standard DVDs.

Let’s start with three reasons:

  1. You’ve dumped a slew of change on your DVD collection, and unless your last name rhymes with hump you probably won’t replace it all with blu-ray discs
  2. That shiny new HD TV you just bought begs for some 1080p lovin’
  3. The horde of divx “films” from your days in the dorm room want in on the home theater action too.

I could go on but when it comes to the Oppo DV-981HD, the picture really is worth a 1080 words – especially if that picture is Transformers on DVD fully upscaled to 1080p. Read on for my full review.


From the moment the movie started there was no question that the Oppo made the film look better than it ever had on my current Sony progressive scan player. And honestly, I would expect nothing less from a component which boasts Faroudja video processing.

Details were noticeably sharper, even during especially difficult fast motion sequences. Colors were also more consistent across wide swaths and noticeably more accurate for typical trouble makers like skin tone. Darker scenes also lacked the typical pixelation I’ve noticed on other up-converting players.

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Really though what really makes the player shine is the attention detail Oppo put into features outside of stellar video quality. The player is compatible with Super Audio CDs (remember those?) and as mentioned before – is certified for DIVX video (huge). Additionally, the built in USB port allows you to play videos directly from any usb storage device (I had Family Guy playing from my external hard drive in less than a minute) and means the unit is updatable as future firmware upgrades are released.

dv981hd_dvd-player-accessories.jpgHome theater purist will also appreciate the ability to turn off the players blue display and lights to achieve a truly darkened viewing room. Hell the device even comes with an included HDMI cable and arrives after shipping packaged like Fort Knox wrapped in a protective reusable sleeve.

The bottom line is if you have a DVD collection and own an HDTV, the DV-981HD is by far the best bang for your buck up converting DVD player on the market. Don’t believe us? See what others experts on CNET, HDTV Magazine, and Sound & Vision, had to say by clicking on the links below.

CNET | HDTV Magazine | Sound & Vision

Cost: $229 @ Oppo

Also See: Vizio XVT Series 1080p LCD/Plasma

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