I recently purchased a projector system (Epson 5010 + 120" Dalite High Power screen) and have also spent alot of time looking into the best media player. My number one priority is picture quality.
What I tried so far:
- home theater pc : xbmc; media player classic + fddshow / madvr etc; JRiver media player; upgrade 3-4 video cards from Nvidia to Ati. Currently using a 3 year old quad core + Ati 5770 running latest Jriver (with Madvr).
- WDTV Live (Sigma 8655)
- Dvico Tvix 6440 (Realtek 1283)
- Boxee Box (Intel Ce4110)
- Netgear NeoTV550 (Sigma 8642). This media player should have the same PQ as the Dunes.
* I believe from what I read the newer Sigma/Realtek chips may be more powerful with more features to play 3d movies etc but in term of PQ I don't think there's any real improvement.
After hearing so much about the PQ of the Oppo I thought I have to see it for myself so I purchase an Oppo 93.
I also borrowed my brother's PS3 and my neighbour's new Panasonic bluray player (it was a really cheap one about 1/5 the price of the Oppo 93).
I spent a couple of hours using tsMuxer to cut out a dozen 3 minutes sample files of various bluray titles to make the comparison easier. Some sample files focus on close up of faces and hair details while others focus on fast moving scenes; bright outdoor scenes; science fiction scenes etc....
After many hours of testing these are my findings:
- The Oppo has a better PQ than all the media players. (but only slightly better over the best of the media players - NeoTV550/Sigma 8642 chipset)
- The Oppo has a very slight improvement in PQ over the PS3 and the Panasonic bluray player. Most of the sample files have to be played a couple of times for me to tell the difference.
- The Oppo has a very very very small improvement in PQ compared to the pc running Jriver (with Madvr turned on). The differences is so small that I have to switch between sample files over and over and over again to make up my mind. I then have to compare Jriver to the PS3/Panasonic/NeoTV550 to logically arrive that the PQ pecking orders are: Oppo > pc/Jriver > Ps3/Panasonic/NeoTV550.
- Other points I like to note:
- on a 120" screen it's easier to tell PQ of various sources. On a typical plasma/lcd it would be extremely difficult to compare between the above media sources.
- Jriver has very high PQ and is very stable; has alot more configurable features especially for my needs - the size/location of fonts; even Madvr settings like gamma and contrast settings etc...
- my comments in this post only deal with PQ of the various media players. There are alot more important variables that I have not discuss such as hardware quality; features; firmware issues; reliability; annoying quirks;
Pros: very high quality hardware; very nice picture quality; very good analogue sound (from what I read...haven't test it yet);
Cons: expensive; does not play iso bluray ; does not reliably play all movies through the network; does not play region code bluray until more money spent on mods... ; does not allow for changing of subtitle font size.
I sold my Oppo 93 because of the above cons and use my pc instead. With more education/tweaks/newer hardware I believe it is possible for a pc to match the PQ of the Oppo 93 in the near future.....possibly others already achieve this.
I hear there's a newer Oppo models coming out...but that's another story