The Oppo BDP-83 is widely held to be one of the best performing Blu-ray players on the market, and we've been impressed enough with its image quality that we use it as the reference player in all our Blu-ray player reviews. Still, it costs $500, which is out of reach for most buyers. The Oppo BDP-80 initially appears to be an attractive "sweet spot" product, costing $290 with almost all the same functionality as the BDP-83. Looking closer, however, we just couldn't find enough value to justify the $290 price tag, as it lacks any streaming media features and built-in Wi-Fi, plus its performance wasn't anything out of the ordinary. To be fair, Oppo doesn't intend for the BDP-80 to be used as a standalone player; instead, the company offers it as a cheaper option if you intend to use an outboard video scaler. Though scaler-users seeking an Oppo will probably be satisfied with the BDP-80, people without scalers who just want an Oppo, but can't afford the BDP-83, have plenty of better options.
Oppo's Blu-ray players have more industrial-looking design compared to the sleek, glossy black boxes common among major brands. The BDP-80 feels built to last, coming in at 7.7 pounds, which is quite a bit more than, say, the 4.4-pound LG BD570. Oppo's front panel is plastic--differing from the brushed metal on the BDP-83 and BDP-83SE--with the disc tray located in the center and the directional pad on the far right. There's also a USB port on the front for easy access. The look won't appeal to everyone; it's more for gearheads than style-first buyers.
The remote's layout is nearly identical to the step-up BDP-83, although the keys aren't backlit; instead they glow in the dark for low-light scenarios. We liked the button layout, particularly the large buttons and the central placement of the directional pad. Yes, we still would like a little bit more button separation and a more modern design, but those are nitpicks.
The BDP-80's user interface is much simpler than what you'll find on most competing players, largely because it lacks any kind of streaming media services. Once the player boots up, you'll be greeted by just the Oppo logo--no icons or menus to click through.
If you press the "home" key you'll get a more traditional, but still spartan, menu for playing music, videos and photos off an attached USB drive. Like everything else on the BDP-80, it's geared toward tech enthusiasts and lacks the eye candy that you get on competing players. We were disappointed that our album art didn't show up, even though it was clearly included in the folder.
|Key Blu-ray features|
|3D Blu-ray||No||Onboard memory||1 GB|
The BDP-80's key features are a couple of steps behind the competition. At this price, all of the competing players from Sony, LG, Samsung, Vizio and Sony offer built-in Wi-Fi. Oppo also doesn't offer a standard true Wi-Fi dongle like the Panasonic DMP-BD85K does, but the company suggests using Asus' WBK-1 wireless network bridge kit, which has the advantage of not needing an existing wireless network. It's also worth pointing out at the Sony BDP-S570 and PS3 Slim are both slated to get firmware upgrades this summer to enable 3D Blu-ray playback, which the BDP-80 doesn't support.
|Streaming media features|
Beyond Wi-Fi and 3D, the BDP-80 also has no support for streaming media content. Again, every competing player offers streaming content like Netflix, even in their entry-level models. It's a huge omission in our book, as streaming media services are becoming one of the major reasons people buy Blu-ray players in the first place.
Oppo told us that the BDP-80 will be receiving a firmware update to enable experimental DLNA compatibility, for playback of video, photos and music stored on other devices on your home network, in the new few weeks. We didn't have a chance to test this feature, but we've had good experiences with other DLNA compatible devices. The BDP-80 is capable of playing a wide variety of formats off a connected USB drive, such as MKV, VOB, MP3 and JPG.
|Audio decoding capabilities|
|Dolby TrueHD||Yes||DTS-HD Master Audio||Yes|
|Dolby Digital Plus||Yes||DTS-HD HR||Yes|
The BDP-80 lacks common features like Wi-Fi and Netflix streaming, but it's the only player we're aware of at this price level that can be considered a universal disc player, with its ability to play back DVD-Audio and SACD discs, in addition to the standard trio of DVD, Blu-ray and CD formats. That feature won't appeal to the mainstream--both formats only barely still exist--but it's a nice plus for home theater enthusiasts who still want to listen to their high-resolution music collection and can't afford the more expensive BDP-83.
|HDMI version||HDMI 1.3||Stereo analog||Yes|
|Component video||Yes||Multichannel analog||7.1|
The BDP80's AV connections are standard, with the exception of the 7.1 analog outputs. That's a nice step up for those who haven't upgraded to an HDMI-capable receiver and still want to take full advantage of the high-resolution soundtracks offered on Blu-ray. Of course if you're serious about your analog audio, be sure to check out the Oppo BDP-83SE, which features superior analog audio performance.