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Oppo DV-981HD: The player that will play anything

If you're not ready to plump for HD DVD or Blu-ray, but still want a better DVD player than a £20 supermarket special, Oppo's new range of upscalers will tempt and delight in equal measure

If you want the best picture from your DVD player, you'll want to spend more than the £20 some companies charge for their players. Oppo, a company not especially well known in the UK but popular in the US, is bringing its range of upscaling DVD players to the UK, starting with the DV-981HD.

So, what's the big attraction of the 981? Firstly, it can play damn near anything you care to throw at it, including the obvious DivX and XviD formats. But then you would almost expect that of a £20 supermarket special these days. The exciting bit is that it will also gladly tackle the high-definition DVD Audio and SACD audio formats.

What's more, the DV-981 also had the ability to upscale DVDs to 1080p and output them via its gold-plated HDMI socket. There are also component outputs, both kinds of digital audio connections -- optical and coaxial -- as well as Scart, composite and S-Video out. As a bonus, you even get a free HDMI cable thrown in, and it's a really sturdy one too.

It also just so happens that it's damn handsome. Firstly, it's thin, finished in a smart black and it has an ultra-compact disc tray. It also comes in one of the nicest boxes we've ever seen, and the player is packaged in an Oppo-branded dust jacket. Swanky! What's more, the remote control glows in the dark. What more could anyone ask? The DV-981HD is available now for around £180 online, and you can expect a full review shortly.

Update: A full review of the 981HD is now available. -Ian Morris