I think it's too bad Oppo isn't using another high performance chip solution which is "macroblock enhance free." But, I guess Faroudja is still the best bang for the buck these days, no?
The Silicon Optix ReonVX is pretty darn cheap, entirely feasible for a <$250 DVD player. A Silicon Optix representative has said to expect additional ReonVX -based players at CES in January.
If the Oppo 981HD is the same product formerly known as the 972, then the design is almost a year old. The ReonVX is relatively new. Redesigning the player around the ReonVX would not only delay the product, but would require a costly redesign after they've already spent plenty on the existing one.
The 971 delivered industry-leading price/performance for almost two years, but its time atop the charts is probably coming to an end. Nor would I expect the 981HD to remain atop the charts for long if it uses Faroudja processing. Few would argue that that Genesis chips with Faroudja technology are competitive with the latest solutions from Genuum and Silicon Optix. If the 981HD uses Faroudja processing, expect another manufacturer with a ReonVX-based player to replace Oppo as the source of the best price/performance DVD products in less than six months.Reference DVD player designs using the Realta chips with the latest firmware pass all tests on the HQV test disk, i.e. score 100/100 on the Secrets DVD benchmark with no macroblocking and superior scaling to 1080p.
If the 981HD is announced to use Faroudja technology and offer 1080p output, then it would probably use the Genesis FLI8548. AFAIK, this is the same chip used by Samsung in the DVD-HD960, which suffers from extensive macroblocking. Oppo is as good as anyone at extracting the maximum possible performance from their hardware, but completely eliminating that Faroudja design flaw is not something they can do in firmware.