HDTV Review Logo
Dick De Jong
April 17, 2007
HDTV Solutions

OPPO has gained a well-earned reputation for designing and producing DVD players that upconvert standard definition (480i) DVDs to high definition (720p and 1080i) resolutions that playback on HDTVs. With the DV-981HD, OPPO has reached the current pinnacle of upconversion, 1080p.

To take SD programs that have a native resolution of 720 x 480 interlaced and expand that limited information into a 1920 x 1080 progressive, good looking image requires a little alchemy and a lot of muscle. The DCDi by Faroudja video processing technology provides the brawn and the results are quite remarkable.

Before we go any farther, even though the DV-981HD produces 1080p signals, it is not one of the high definition DVD players, Blu-ray or HD-DVD. It can be a little confusing because both Blu-ray and HD-DVD players can read SD DVDs and upconvert them like the OPPO. The difference is that the OPPO cannot play either Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs.

Upconversion can look great. But from our experience, it cannot match the detail and richness of an HD disc played back on a HD-DVD or Blu-ray player. No matter how good the video processor, and OPPO's Faroudja is exemplary, you need to fill in too much picture information to upconvert a 480i image to 1080p. And that synthetic image will always fall a bit short of a native 1080p source.

With that said, an overwhelming majority of DVDs in the marketplace and in your collections are still standard def and probably will be for at least a few years. Until you are ready to jump into the pricier high definition DVD players, the $229 OPPO DV-981HD provides a perfect stepping stone for upconverting SD DVDs. Beyond that, the DV-981HD is extremely flexible in its ability to playback all sorts of CD and DVD formats like PAL, DivX, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD (SACD), HDCD, WMA, and Kodak Picture CD.

Review Contents: Introduction Out of the Box Setup Performance and Conclusion