Ever since standalone Blu-ray players hit the market, there's been a great deal of anticipation for an Oppo Blu-ray player, mainly because of the company's reputation for making excellent upconverting DVD players. Oppo held out for quite some time, and in retrospect it was a smart move; almost all the early Blu-ray players were plagued with usability problems and hardware limitations. After a long beta-testing period, the Oppo BDP-83 is finally here and it lives up to the hype. The player feels fast and reliable, and has outstanding image quality on Blu-rays and DVDs. It's a true universal disc player, handling both DVD-Audio and SACD discs in addition to Blu-ray Discs, CDs, and DVDs. (Sorry, HD DVD fans--that dead format isn't supported.)
On the other hand, the Oppo BDP-83 really isn't for everyone. It lacks Wi-Fi and, more importantly, streaming media features such as Netflix and Pandora that are available on cheaper Blu-ray players from Samsung and LG.
At a $500 list price, it's also very expensive compared with the Sony PS3 Slim ($300), which also offers excellent Blu-ray playback--and can play high-definition video games, stream media, and browse the Web.
If you're not a home theater enthusiast with a sizable budget, you'll get more value from a PS3 Slim or LG BD390. However, if you are a dedicated, well-heeled home theater fan, the BDP-83 is a nearly perfect way to get the most out of your disc-based media.