The Oppo badge on the far left of the facia is also the power button and next to it is a small power status indicator LED. On the front right of the BDP-105EU there is a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI input that is compatible with MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) and a high quality 1/4-inch stereo headphone jack. The overall look of the BDP-105EU is both stylish and solid which results in a contemporary but well-built appearance that can hold its own against any of the other high-end players on the market. This feeling of a high-end player even extends to the well written and informative manual as well as the solid and well-padded packaging; inside which you will find the BDP-105EU itself wrapped in a rather nice bag and a separate box for the player’s accessories. Aside from the remote the other accessories include a high speed HDMI cable, a Wi-Fi dongle, a USB extension cable for locating the dongle away from the player and a detachable kettle style power cable.
The BDP-105EU includes a comprehensive set of high quality connectors at the rear, including two HDMI v1.4a outputs and one HDMI v1.4a input. There is also what Oppo call a 'diagnostic' video output (composite video) but, in keeping with all new BD players, there is no component video output. There are also two USB ports, a LAN port (in case you don’t have a wireless router), a connector for the external IR sensor, a digital audio out using both optical and coaxial and an RS-232C connector for custom installers. The BDP-105EU also includes 7.1 analogue audio outputs via RCA connectors, these are colour coded and are in a straight line at the top rear of the chassis. In addition the BDP-105EU has dedicated stereo audio outputs using both RCA connectors and fully balanced XLR outputs. Finally there are digital audio inputs using optical and coaxial, as well as a USB (Type B) audio input.
Whilst the remote control is quite large, we really like it because the sizeable buttons, intuitive layout and backlight make it very easy to use in the dark. The remote's design and build quality reflects that of the player, as does Oppo’s attention to detail. The remote feels solid and comfortable to hold, the buttons themselves are easy to differentiate by touch and have a nice tactile response when pressing them. The buttons include all the usual controls for playing a disc and navigating menus, along with buttons for engaging the 2D to 3D conversion or bringing up the 3D menu. There is also a Pure Audio button that shuts down the video when listening to music, a button for changing the resolution and one for dimming the front display. There is even a dedicated button for directly accessing Netflix, which has now been added to the player's internet platform.
Setup and Menus
For audio the set-up procedure will depend on whether you intend to take full advantage of the BDP-105EU's capabilities, although if you plan to just use the HDMI outputs then you may as well buy the BDP-103EU. If you want to decode the high definition audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio) in your receiver then the BDP-105EU can pass the audio as bitstream via HDMI. However if you want to decode in the BDP-105EU and take full advantage of the superior DACs, then you can pass the audio using the 7.1 analogue outputs. There are also dedicated analogue stereo outputs with XLR balanced connectors for playback of stereo content. If you have DVD-Audio or SACD discs the player can also pass their audio as PCM via HDMI or the analogue outputs and in the case of SACD the audio can be passed as bitstream using the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) codec if your receiver can decode it. The same is true of HDCDs, which the BDP-105EU can either decode internally or allow the receiver to decode.
Oppo's menu system is very well designed - it is intuitive, concise and very responsive. When you first turn on the BDP-105EU there is an Easy Setup Wizard which guides you through the basic setup of the player for settings such as the primary video output, the resolution, the aspect ratio and the audio settings. All the more detailed setup menus can be found by going to the Setup menu on the Home page or by pressing Setup on the remote. As before, pressing Setup on the remote brings up the relevant menu screen, even if a disc is playing , so you don't have to leave playback mode to alter the settings. This feature is great for comparing the impact of different options and not having to stop the disc saves time, especially where Blu-rays are concerned.
The Setup menu is broken down into six sub-menus - Playback Setup, Video Setup, Audio Format Setup, Audio Processing, Device Setup and Network Setup. Within Playback Setup are the controls for SACD and DVD-Audio playback as well as functions such as auto play, auto resume, languages and parental control. The Audio Format sub-menu allows the user to set the secondary audio used for commentaries etc. and whether the HDMI output will pass PCM or bitstream. In addition you can set the optical or coaxial to pass either PCM or bitstream as well as choose if the DSD decoding for SACDs and any HDCD decoding for CDs is done in the player or passed directly to your receiver for decoding. Whichever combinations you choose, the BDP-105EU is capable of passing audio up to 192kHz at 24-bit over 7.1 channels.
The Audio Processing sub-menu is the only one that differs from the BDP-103EU and includes a number of choices related to the BDP-105EU's additional audio features. If you plan on using the player's built-in DACs then this is where you setup the speaker configuration, distance and levels as well as the crossover frequency for the subwoofer. There is also a dynamic range control for smoothing the audio during low level listening, a control for output volume and one for turning on the DTS Neo:6 mode. Exclusive to the BDP-105EU is a Headphone Volume control and one for setting the XLR Terminal Polarity, as well as the ability to choose which source is sent to the dedicated stereo outputs.
The Device Setup sub-menu includes information about the latest firmware as well as the option to be notified of any new firmware upgrades. Oppo are very good at continually upgrading their software in an effort to provide the best possible performance so we recommend you always have the Firmware Notification set to On. These upgrades can be done a number of ways, either via disc, USB or through your network (LAN or Wi-Fi). There is also a control for the Remote Code in case the default setting interferes with other devices, as well as a control for HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control). Finally there is the control for dimming or turning off the display as well as a menu for the persistent storage. The BDP-105EU has 1GB of internal storage but more can be added via USB. The Network Setup sub-menu allows the user to set up the network connection either through a LAN cable or using the provided Wi-Fi dongle. We're surprised that Wi-Fi isn't just built-in but since the BDP-105EU comes with the dongle, it doesn't really matter. Once set up the user will have access to BD-Live content via Blu-ray and other streamed media, as well as a new feature that adds access to the Gracenote database.
The Video Setup sub-menu offers all of the controls related to the Dual HDMI Output, the TV Aspect Ratio, as well the TV System and since most modern displays can handle PAL and NTSC we would advise selecting Multi-system. We would also recommend setting the Output Resolution to suit your display, which now includes 4K, and turn on 1080p24 Output. If you have 1080p24 Output on and you watch a lot of NTSC DVDs then there is an option to use 3:2 pulldown to convert them to 1080p24 output. There are also a number of Display Options, the most useful of which is the Subtitle Shift which allows the user to move the subtitles up. This is a very handy function if you have a constant height setup with a 2.35:1 screen and the subtitles appear in the black bars on a particular disc. There is also an HDMI Options sub-menu which allows the user to select the Colour Space for both HDMI1 and HDMI2. This setting defaults to Auto which allows the BDP-105EU to select the colour space supported by the user’s display. There is also an option to select Deep Colour for both the HDMI1 and HDMI2 outputs but since there is very little content that uses this feature, we would recommend leaving them at their Off default position.
There is a 3D Output sub-menu where you can select Auto to output 3D if supported by your display, Off which always outputs 2D and Forced which always outputs a 3D Blu-ray as 3D; generally the best setting is Auto. The other 3D related menu is 3D Setting, where you can select the amount of depth when using the 2D to 3D feature and also set the diagonal screen size of your 3D display. A new feature that Oppo have just added with the latest firmware update is Blank HDMI 2, which allows the player to force HDMI 2 to output a 2D blank screen when HDMI 1 outputs 3D video. Some customers reported that during 3D movie playback, when HDMI 1 was connected to a 3D display and HDMI 2 was connected to a non-3D receiver which in turn is connected to the same 3D display, there was no audio coming from the receiver. This change now resolves that issue and is a good example of Oppo listening to customer feedback.
Finally, within the Video Setup sub-menu there is a Picture Adjustment menu which includes Brightness, Contrast, Hue (Tint), Saturation (Colour), Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Colour Enhancement and Contrast Enhancement controls. These controls can be applied to either HDMI1, HDMI2 or the Analogue Video outputs and up to 3 different Picture Modes can be saved. Generally we would recommend leaving the majority of these controls at their default setting of zero. Increasing the Sharpness control to 'sharpen' the image will only add ringing and other artefacts but reducing the sharpness control will slightly blur the image which could prove useful to hide compression artefacts on standard definition content. The Noise Reduction control could also be used to reduce compression artefacts such as mosquito noise on standard definition content. However when it comes to a properly mastered Blu-ray always make sure these settings are all set to zero because a pristine 1080p image just doesn’t need any additional processing.
All the features offered by the BDP-105EU can be accessed from the Home page and initially it looks impressive. However, in the UK at least, the only services that you can actually use are Picasa, Netflix and YouTube, with the rest (Vudu, CinemaNow, Film Fresh, Pandora and Rhapsody)not being offered here. The inclusion of Netflix is certainly welcome and it makes sense to concentrate on Video on Demand services but the addition of more useful services like BBC iPlayer or LOVEFiLM would be useful. The problem that Oppo have is that their players are available throughout Europe and the company has to provide services that support different countries. The BDP-105EU is also compatible with the Roku Streaming Stick, when and if that feature is supported in the UK.
The BDP-105EU is certainly a much better performer when it comes to streaming content over your home network. It includes both Digital Media Player (DMP) and Digital Media Renderer (DMR) features, enabling wired or wireless access of audio, picture, and video files stored on DLNA-compatible digital media servers. The BDP-105EU worked well in our testing and appears to support the majority of media and file formats including JPEG, AVCHD, MP3, MP4, DivX, MKV, FLAC and WAV files. All these audio, video and picture files can be accessed via your home network, discs or USB drives.
The BDP-105EU can play CDs and HDCDs, as well as Super Audio CDs (SACD) and DVD-Audio discs. For both SACD and DVD-Audio, the player supports both stereo and multi-channel high resolution audio programs and for SACD, users can select whether to output the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) signal in its native format or convert it into PCM. A new addition is the ability to connect to Gracenote's global media database over the Internet, offering an enriched playback experience by displaying Cover Art, Title, Artist, Genre and other media information for CD, DVD, Blu-ray and a wide range of digital media files.
Along with most other manufacturers, Oppo offer a remote control app for use with a smartphone or tablet, which is now available for both iOS and Android. We tried out both versions of the app using a tablet and an iPhone and it worked very well, connecting with the player and creating a facsimile of the remote control. It isn't as slick as some of the competition but offers a nice alternative to the provided remote and can be used with the BDP-93/95 players as well.
The BDP-105EU’s performance was equally impressive with the film detail test, correctly locking on to the image and in the cadence tests it also performed flawlessly, correctly detecting the most common types 2:3 (NTSC - USA/Japan) and 2:2 (PAL - European) format as well as all the more obscure variations. There is also an option to restore the original 24 frames per second progressive-scan video from well-authored NTSC DVDs and output at 1080p 24Hz. This is a handy feature if you have a lot of movies on US DVDs but remember to turn it off for video based content. The BDP-105EU also had no problems with the test displaying film material with scrolling video text, the text was always clearly readable without any shredding. This was a superb performance by the BDP-105EU and represents some of the best processing, deinterlacing and scaling that we have seen, not only from a player but even from some dedicated video processors.
Subjective Audio Tests
In the interests of being thorough we tried the digital outputs of the BDP-105EU with a number of formats including multichannel PCM, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA soundtracks from Blu-rays and Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks from DVDs. We also listened to the multichannel audio from SACD and DVD-Audio discs as well as two channel audio from SACDs and CDs, including HDCDs. We tried different methods of connecting the BDP-105EU to our reference receiver, including HDMI, optical and coaxial and also switched between bitstream and PCM. We even tried splitting the HDMI using the two outputs and sending video to our projector with one and just audio to our receiver with the other. The result of all these experiments was that we could not detect any differences between any of these modes and every format sounded wonderful. The BDP-105EU is clearly a very capable audio performer and whether it was DTS-HD Master Audio or a stereo CD the audio sounded fantastic. The BDP-105EU was also able to detect all the different discs and audio formats without any problems and played each one back flawlessly.
However it is the analogue performance using the internal DACs that will be of interest to anyone considering buying the BDP-105EU and Oppo has gone to great lengths to ensure its audiophile credentials. The BDP-105EU uses two ESS Sabre32 Reference Audio Digital-to-Analogue Converters (DAC), one for the 7.1 output and one for the stereo output, both of which use a 32-bit Hyperstream DAC architecture which provides a greater dynamic range and reduces jitter and distortion. The BDP-105EU also uses toroidal power transformers to provide a clean and robust power source to the critical audio components. The 2-channel analogue stereo uses a specially optimised DAC and output driving stages to achieve even greater audio performance and includes both RCA single-ended connectors and XLR balanced connectors. By transmitting a pair of differential signals, the XLR balanced output provides better common-mode noise rejection and improves signal quality. All of these improvements are contained within a rigid chassis that provides solid support to reduce vibrations and also adds greater shielding.
This remarkable attention to detail and build quality has certainly paid dividends with the BDP-105EU delivering a phenomenal analogue audio performance. The analogue stereo from CDs, HDCDs and SACDs was breath-taking, with a clearly defined soundstage and a wonderful amount of detail and clarity. The sounds were nicely focused within three dimensional space and there was a real sense of envelopment, whilst the soundstage also showed a wonderful frequency response and an amazing dynamic range. With 5.1 and 7.1 soundtracks the BDP-105EU was equally assured and the additional speakers just added to the soundstage creating even more envelopment and greater focus. Sounds were perfectly positioned and there was a wonderful sense of detail and clarity. The frequency response and dynamic range were also impressive and the bass was smooth and controlled with a crossover at 80Hz. Overall this was an incredible performance and represented some of the best audio we have heard from a player at any price point.
Other audio features that are new to the BDP-105EU include the addition of a USB Asynchronous DAC, which allows you to bypass the low fidelity, poor quality DAC found on most computer sound cards. As a result, you can turn your computer into a high performing multi-media source by converting digital audio to analogue through the BDP-105EU's ESS Sabre32 Reference DACs. Connecting our MacBook Pro to the BDP-105EU certainly paid dividends, with the player squeezing every drop of detail from selected tracks in our iTunes library and rendering them with warmth and vitality. Another useful new feature is the addition of a Headphone Amplifier, allowing a pair of headphones to be connected directly to the BDP-105EU. The built-in headphone amplifier is connected directly to the ESS Sabre32 Reference DACs and offers a unique performance advantage over standalone headphone amplifiers. We found listening to music using our Sennheiser headphones to be a singularly enjoyable experience, providing tracks with an intimacy and immediacy rarely found with other headphone enabled devices. These new features are certainly the cherry on an already beautifully decorated cake.
Disc Load Times
- Standby: 0.0W
- Idle: 31W
- Playing a disc: 32W
- Universal playback
- Reference audio performance
- Reference video processing
- Reference build quality and quiet operation
- Linear power supply using toroidal transformers
- Very fast load and response times
- Easy to use with well designed menu system
- Two HDMI outputs
- Dedicated stereo output
- XLR Balanced stereo output
- 7.1 Analogue audio outputs
- WiFi dongle included
- Well designed and high quality remote
- Limited internet functionality
Oppo BDP-105EU Universal Blu-ray Player Review
Well not only have Oppo shown there most definitely are second acts in life, what a second act it is! You will not find a better Blu-ray player at any price and from the moment you open the box you know that Oppo has thought of everything. It's this attention to detail, coupled with the company's continuous efforts to improve their products that set them apart from the competition. Oppo are always quick to respond to any needed firmware updates, they take on-board all feedback and their customer service is second to none. Now the BDP-105EU isn't cheap at £999 and if you just want to use the HDMI outputs then you might be better off choosing the BDP-103EU. However if you want uncompromising performance and especially if you're looking for an audiophile player, then you very much get what you pay for with the BDP-105EU.
What exactly do you get? Well first of all you get a genuinely universal player that can handle just about any disc-based format you throw at it including 3D and 2D Blu-rays, SACD, DVD-Audio, DVD, HDCD and CD. There are two HDMI outputs at the rear but you also get two HDMI inputs, one at the rear and one at the front which supports MHL, allowing you to make full use of the reference video processing. The playback of Blu-ray is flawless but the superb video processing means that you can also get the most from standard definition sources such as DVD. The 4K upscaling works extremely well, if you're lucky enough to have a 4K display and there's even 2D to 3D conversion included. You also get triple USB ports and as comprehensive a set of file support as we have seen to date. Whilst there is no WiFi built-in, the BDP-105EU comes with a dongle and setup is extremely easy, thanks to a clear and concise menu system. The internet platform is better than Oppo's previous effort and now includes Netflix but it's still very US-centric and needs more development. However, the networking capabilities of the BDP-105EU were very good and its ability to stream content was highly effective.
The BDP-105EU is built like a tank, with a beautifully designed and solidly constructed chassis that, in conjunction with its fanless architecture, is near silent in operation. The power consumption might be slightly higher than many other players but it is lightning fast when it comes to loading discs and very responsive. The remote control is another example of Oppo's attention to detail, it's comfortable to hold, intuitively laid out and includes a back light. The rear connections are very comprehensive and include 7.1-channel analogue outputs and a dedicated stereo output that includes XLR balanced connectors, signifying the BDP-105EU's audiophile aspirations. The rigid construction uses toroidal power transformers, which when combined with Sabre32 Reference Audio DACs, results in a performance level that will satisfy even the most demanding audiophile. There is also a USB Asynchronous DAC for use with computers and a headphone amplifier which allows you take full advantage of the Sabre32 DACs when listening through headphones.
A reference product is one that sets the standard by which all other products are measured and when it comes to Blu-ray players, that reference is the Oppo BDP-105EU. Its flawless performance in terms of both video and audio, coupled with its peerless design and construction make it a clear winner of an AVForums Reference Status award.
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