Originally Posted by Gary Murrell
Well guys, I think the time has come where the Panasonic classics have finally met their match, this illustrious personality is known as the Oppo 981
I have been working on the new Oppo 981 over the past few weeks and I finally got time to set down with it and my DVDO VP50, I checked out what I think are the 2 best SD DVD's ever made, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi
I have never seen a SDI image of this quality, the Oppo 981 is every bit as good as the Panasonic RP82/RP91 and maybe a pinch more, I think the Oppo may have slightly better colors, it is sharp as a tack and clean as a whistle, strikingly so
I compared the HDMI output at 480p into my VP50, which features a amazing Prep process that extracts the original 480i image, comparing this to the SDI 480i image was a riot, a child could see the difference, I checked out the 1080i output and it wasn't much better, the stock Oppo outputs look like **** IMHO
I have to say, the Oppo 981 is NOT a easy SDI mod as was the 971, I never had the pleasure of modding or seeing a 971 Oppo but I hear they were easy, no such luck on the 981, I can say one thing, those that think they can use a moome card or the PMS BT656 kit will be sadly mistaken
please guys, no PM's on the SDI Oppo 981
, I am in fact preparing a special power buy with the AVS forum, I am just so excited about this player that I had to post, I know for sure that a 981 will be in my rack from this day on
Respectfully, I work for a respected high-end A/V specialty retailer/custom installer and we work with some amazing stuff. I had a customer come in the other day and we got to talking and he mentioned he bought the Oppo 981. He volunteered to bring it in in order to compare it to some of the offerings we have. He did so just a couple days later and we hooked it up via HDMI to a Pioneer Elite Pro-FHD1 1080p plasma. Not wanting to unfairly tilt the scales in favor of something I had, we started the comparison with a Pioneer Elite DV-46A, which retails for $299. All settings were matched so that there would be no obvious reason to suspect one had a built in advantage. To put it simply, the Elite was clearly better, and the customer though surprised, reluctantly agreed. He mentioned how the Oppo was so highly rated and how it passed all the "Secrets of Home Theater" tests and was the proverbial "darling of the internet", and conversely how mass market players like the Elite did not pass all of the tests the Oppo did and basically wondering 'how in the world can it look better?'
And this is something we hear and see all the time. When one does all of their research online without doing any comparative analysis, there is no basis of comparison that can be definitively stated to give that opinion true weight. At our store, before we declare something 'the best', we do a 'shoot-out' with products in that competing category. In other words, we'll stack up 4 or 5 DVD players, play the same clips via the same connection and try and come to a consensus. Under such matched conditions, such concensus is usually easily and quickly achieved.
I say all this not to deflate your enthusiasm, which is great and I enjoy reading your posts. I say it because we see examples all the time where something is the internet 'flavor of the week', but under scrutiny compared to other products with greater R&D resources or a more talented team of engineers, these products often show their limitations as was the case with my customer and his Oppo 981.
Further, there are a half-dozen players we carry that easily best the Elite DV-46A, though I'm sure many of them did not pass with flying colors the 'Secrets' tests. Which merely says that in electronics, skimping on the power supply, the chassis integrity, etc. can allow a player such as the Oppo to be handily bested by a well built machine whose design choices were made by engineers employing a wholistic approach to their designs and not worrying that in one test or another it may not be "the best". The proof is always on the screen.
I realize you are speaking of a modded 981, but I can't help but wonder what such modifications would do to a player that starts out life looking so much better?
I sincerely hope this did not come off condescending or like a lecture, as that was not my intention. I know us sales guys are sometimes regarded as 'the enemy' in these forums, but please consider that at least in my case, I CHOSE to make working with audio and video components and trying to use my knowledge to help people get fantastic systems my livelhood AS WELL AS an ongoing hobby.