Oppo is less well-known to mainstream buyers than the likes of Denon, Marantz or Onkyo, but it has an enthusiastic army of home-cinema-loving devotees, and we can well understand why.
The BDP-93EU is solidly made, elegantly styled and equipped with a remote handset that, unlike those supplied with rivals here, is clearly laid out and intuitive to use.
More than that, the Oppo appeals by being simply the most flexible Blu-ray player in its class, its specification firmly eclipsing the potential of any rival.
A universal player
First impressions are positive. The Oppo is a universal player, able to spin DVD-Audio and SACD discs, plus HDCD titles, should you own any. You also get twin HDMI outputs, allowing connection to twin displays or, if you prefer, to separate video and audio devices.
A full 7.1-compatible set of analogue outputs means, whatever the relative vintage of your home cinema receiver, you’ll find the Oppo accommodating should you want to upgrade to 3D.
But that’s no different from the Cambridge Audio. Where the Oppo exerts its real advantage is in its support for network-based media streaming. This player will handle up to 24-bit/192kHz FLAC files over your network, alongside AAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and WMA content.
AVI, MKV and DivX HD video is yours to explore too. That’ll be great news for enthusiasts, although it’s a shame that, at the time of writing, there’s no support for an online-based video streaming platform such as Netflix.
Blu-ray performance is superb
The Oppo’s picture performance with Blu-ray is so very good, though, that it’s unlikely you’ll pine for streamed video.
Colours and contrasts are excellent, the BDP-93EU relishing the crisp transfer to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: its touch with skin tones and textures is particularly deft.
Fast-moving 3D, while impressive, isn’t perhaps as stable as through the Denon DBP-2012UD or Marantz UD7006, although the margin of difference is slight and, if you’re not interested in 3D, may not be of any concern.
Upscaled DVD, by contrast – handled by the Marvell QDEO – is beyond serious criticism, with low levels of noise, crisply defined details and bold, enjoyable colours throughout.
Sound quality not the best
With all these aces in its hand, why isn’t the Oppo best in class? Well, its sound, while perfectly good in isolation, doesn’t match up to the best. That’s most apparent via its analogue outputs, in stereo.
It uses the same design of Cirrus Logic DAC as the Cambridge Audio 651BD, but the Oppo’s presentation seems rather more reined-in and polite than the 651BD.
It’s by no means bad, of course, and via HDMI the gap between the two narrows. Even here, though, the Oppo isn’t quite as forceful as the best here.
All the same, we’re deeply impressed by the 93EU. You could well find it the best choice for your needs, and even if it doesn’t quite do enough to win our test, it’s a very serious contender.