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Old 07-12-2018, 07:32 AM   #221
Movie Miscreant Movie Miscreant is offline
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There really ought not to be too many concerns and regrets over Oppo’s manufacturing / trading cessation.

At one time, the Kuro plasma was the king of all domestic plasma screens. The same technology developed for Pioneer's Kuro went into future plasma screens from other manufacturers that included further improvements that outstripped the Kuro’s tech specs by a county mile.

Just because a company ceases to trade, it virtually never follows the technological wherewithal disappears. All of the parts, components, etc. developed by Oppo for Oppo (as well as other manufacturers) that made them the rightful leaders in their field are well documented and patented. Other brands with an interest are aware, the same as they’re aware patents are sold and auctioned.

In broad sweeps it’s akin to nuclear disarmament (and the proverbial ablation of drawing board blueprint design to production); there exists a possibility, albeit remote that every warhead on the planet is dismantled but somewhere, someplace the schematics exist providing all that’s needed to reproduce them. It’s no different to the world’s deadliest viruses and bacterium stored on ice in vaults regardless of the reasons being sound (inoculations, vaccines, etc.) or unsound. If history tells us anything on this topics, it wouldn’t take long before warheads are rebuilt, only bigger, better, shinier, and packing more atomic bounce to the ounce than ever.

More relevantly, the British manufacturer Audiolab, founded in 1983, were makers of entry-level high-end audio equipment. By the mid ‘90s, Audiolab always came under consideration by any audiophile upgrading their Hi-fi components.

Audiolab became a leading market player of entry-level and mid-range high-end equipment and offered a product line with reasonable prices. In terms of performance, Audiolab gave top-of-the-tree, high-end brands such as Krell a run for their money. Audiolab’s original 8000M Monoblocs were legendary then and remain so today.

In 1998 Audiolab’s ownership fell under the McLaren Group. Thankfully for Audiolab but woefully for them, they renamed / rebadged the product line “TAGMcLaren”. The takeover proved disastrous in many aspects but the two primary areas that really killed it were audiophiles and Hi-fi enthusiasts who always take note of (1) rebranding, which was terrible mainly because no serious audiophile would want a product associated with F1 racing (the rich audiophile’s deepest dilemma is they all want both high-end performance and aesthetics), and (2) product quality, which was again terrible. So much so, they stopped developing in 2003 and audio operations were eventually sold to the International Audio Group.

2005 heralded Audiolab’s re-entry into the market with an entire new range of equipment, greatly refined and vastly superior to their original line of products. I know; I was an Audiolab owner then and am now.

Things like this happen all the time. Most of the time it goes unnoticed in the same way that few consumers cared or knew in late ‘90s that their Toshiba’s flagship 42 inch PDP was identical in every technical respect to Panasonic’s PDP, which incidentally contained few parts manufactured by Panasonic.

Whether Oppo will re-emerge again as Oppo seems unlikely – but who knows? The point is components inside hardware manufactured by Oppo will eventually go into bidding. Engineers that played pivotal roles in development (chipsets, etc.) will move on to other manufacturers. This is the way of the world. Sooner or later one of the big players; or a new one; or perhaps a reformed Oppo, will re-enter the market with new players that outgun all current models.
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I'd rather be ashamed of a film that was making money than proud of a film that was losing it.

Last edited by Movie Miscreant; 07-12-2018 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:44 AM   #222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadeRF View Post
I signed up on May 27th hoping to score a 2nd 203 for my bedroom. Well just about an hour ago I got the email and purchased a brand new 203. So excited to be able to get another one before they are all gone!
Really? I also signed up on May 27th and haven't heard a word.

I hope you don't mind my asking, but did you pay the regular price for it?
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Old 07-27-2018, 03:11 AM   #223
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Since Oppos are no longer available , what about getting a Cambridge CXUHD and there Azur 851D , would that work and what else would I need to make up for a Oppo 205 ?
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Old 07-27-2018, 04:58 AM   #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sa5150 View Post
Since Oppos are no longer available , what about getting a Cambridge CXUHD and there Azur 851D , would that work and what else would I need to make up for a Oppo 205 ?
Seriously none of those. The CXUHD has no analog outputs, its a digital transport that happens to have similar file/media playback, but no it doesn't have the exact same software applied to it. The CA Azur 851D is a bit like a BDP-103D with 7.1 analog outputs, but still far from a UDP-205 which is a "real" Universal Networked UHD BD player - audiophile edition!

Just pray you are lucky enough to acquire one if they are available.

see https://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-...5-Reviews.aspx
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Old 07-27-2018, 10:56 AM   #225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sa5150 View Post
Since Oppos are no longer available , what about getting a Cambridge CXUHD and there Azur 851D , would that work and what else would I need to make up for a Oppo 205 ?
The Cambridge UHD player and a really good DAC would get you close to a UDP-205, but it wouldn't be much cheaper since the DAC is going to be expensive. The analogue out from the UDP-205 is legendary.
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Old 07-27-2018, 08:21 PM   #226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naiera View Post
The Cambridge UHD player and a really good DAC would get you close to a UDP-205, but it wouldn't be much cheaper since the DAC is going to be expensive. The analogue out from the UDP-205 is legendary.
I always thought the 203 combined with a Oppo Sonica DAC was interesting combo for achieving most of what the 205 provided DAC wise for interacting to a computer. But now look at both prices versus a 205 online.

A RME ADI-2 DAC is a interesting DAC to consider ($1099)

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Old 07-28-2018, 01:54 AM   #227
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I'd never buy a fireworks display like that for my setup. With that one, I also figure that too much effort was spent on making it a pre-amp and a head-amp as well. All that's less money spent on the sound quality itself.

All three of my DACs are simple, without pre-amps and don't really need to be managed at all. I do turn off the Stello because it has class A analogue outputs that run really hot
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Old 07-29-2018, 08:52 AM   #228
Movie Miscreant Movie Miscreant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sa5150 View Post
Since Oppos are no longer available , what about getting a Cambridge CXUHD and there Azur 851D , would that work and what else would I need to make up for a Oppo 205 ?
Reading your post made me realise the following (by no means an exhaustive list).

Unless you a technician with access to the hard / firm / software, (legal) rights and means to acquire and implement up to date firmware version; Loader version; Sub version; CHIP version; NRD Version; and the 20 - 40 Open Source Credits, not to mention the yet to be invented DIY kit needed to build a besploke made player, your endeavour is akin to building Doctor Who's Tardis. Sure, you'll have an outer box but what it contains won't be anything akin to an Oppo player, or anything close to, or resemblingbOppo quality since unless you are an industry insider, patent stealer, have comprehensive and copacetic wherewithal of tiered lexicons used in the industry that all play their part in the overall assembly. PLUS access to technicians on all levels (clearly a list very few individuals have at their disposal to bring patented, or in this case, throwing together some "equivalent" (they're anything but) parts together.

We're talking about Oppo hardware... not the days when any enthusiast could build a convincing Cervin Vega loudspeaker and other pedestrican separate components. I can build a monobloc for £300 outlay but in the absence of pinpoint accurate circuitry; consumtpion / output, various relays to built in parameters onbaord on a pre-amps, not to mention host of other composites needed, you might think your homemade power source driving your speaker is the nuts when actually, it'll be shite.

Your plan is written on the back of a matchbook. (Copland).

You should also take a close(r-?) look at Oppo's detailed spec-sheet (not the main model spec page). Oppo players are essentially hardware that deliver high-end performance for an entry level fee.
I'd rather be ashamed of a film that was making money than proud of a film that was losing it.

Last edited by Movie Miscreant; 08-26-2018 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Addendum
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:13 AM   #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naiera View Post
I'd never buy a fireworks display like that for my setup. With that one, I also figure that too much effort was spent on making it a pre-amp and a head-amp as well. All that's less money spent on the sound quality itself.

All three of my DACs are simple, without pre-amps and don't really need to be managed at all. I do turn off the Stello because it has class A analogue outputs that run really hot
Warning: long post ahead.

Don’t bother reading it unless, like me, you’re on a quest to unfurl the secrets and mysteries of home cinema and share knowledge, tips, advice and new ideas, while at the same time discovering new films, rediscovering old ones and being prepared to put in a bit of time looking for something fresh and original, which for someone like me who has virtually no interest in mainstream cinema (or mainstream anything) is getting consistently harder.

I make long posts on these topics and stray into (related) tangents because I am a firm believer that if you want to get the best out of anything, when it comes to Home Theatre equipment, it can be as confusing to the seasoned among us, to the novice. It can be variably-time-consuming, depending on our aptitude to grasp settings and the subsequent interplay from other hardware.

As a cineaste, “getting the best out of it” has and always will be the axiom underpinning the quest for the best ‘cinematic’ experiences and renderings on the silver screen and more so – for me at least – at home.

Unlike days past when all but the true audiophiles bought one brand to create an entire setup, it’s becoming ever more prevalent to ensure compatibility from brand to brand – at least in broad strokes. If you’re planning on going UHD, it’s imperative to research it at length if you want your setup to run relatively smoothly and reduce the need to change a setting every time you load a different disc.

It’s all relative – of course. Everything is. A few will applaud me for the detail I include here but most will bemoan it because to them it’s irrelevant. See, it really is all relative, in spite of the fact, this post represents an example of the original reasons online forums came into being – NOT groaning about how your latest online order hasn’t been shipped, or you’re hoping for it to arrive tomorrow…. and the positively most irksome and profoundly non-cinematic but completely ‘collector’ based gripe, “Does it come / can I still get this one with a slipcover?”

Aside from obvious discussions on our favourite and new releases (and most of those discussions lack substance), I consider these forums as a place of equal importance to take the opportunity to share knowledge, exchange ideas, pose genuine questions. Learn from each other, and pull someone up (politely) if they’re blowing hot air, or worse, spreading bilge. As a place providing a platform for discussion on cutting edge technology in the realm of home theatre, it amazes me to find posters with airy-fairy titles, frequently using words incorrectly such as ‘factoid’, or including links to their collections when we just click on the collections hyperlinks.

Back to that word: ‘factoid’ which is actually not a bullet point fact. The correct definition is; a false statement presented as being fact. The word ‘factoids’ and lists that follow it have appeared on countless DVD sleeves – mostly erroneously presented as facts. C’mon folks! We know Hollywood is a con, it’s up to us to raise the bar.

Most, if not all of us posting on the forums have varying levels of technical insight, and outside of empirical stats, even the most well-informed person can only offer subjective opinions. Any junior to senior employee of any respected specialised retailer will tell you the same, which is why the good ones will never recommend a specific product unless it’s the only one available at that time, which outshines all others in its class and range.

I bought my first serious Hi-Fi (Audiolab & Cambridge) set-up in 1993 at a cost of £4,500. I bought my first serious Home Theatre setup in 2003, sporting Panasonic’s PDP TH-42PW5 42-inch plasma at the core. It set me back £4,500… that was just the PDP. I spent £14K overall. Trivia: had I bought the previous generation PDP in 2002 that the PDP TH-42PW5 replaced, it would have set me back £12,000. In 1999, you couldn’t buy a PDP at retail price for under £18,000.

In 2015 when I finally adopted Blu-ray and UHD having spent the previous 17 years building a massive DVD library; I wanted my current system to reflect my years of time spent having learned, and continuing to learn about as many technical aspects of the hardware, firmware and software, that as a film enthusiasts has been used or passed through my hands pretty much every day without exception for the past 35 years. Having been privileged to own entry level setups quite early on (although I told everyone it was the real high-end stuff), I wanted my big upgrade to UHD to reflect both my experiences in owning various setups as well as the tide of changes that marked the end of analogue, plasma, and rebirth of vinyl and fanzines.

The big UHD setup I originally had planned in early 2014 would have ended up setting me back £60K to £70K. Not a chance… plus more vitally, 2014 was a disaster year for people to go UHD. I was right to wait until the end of 2015 both in terms of my current setup being in no way out of date or obsolete. Additionally, new industry standards in UHD haven’t marred my UHD experience in any way. It was also the right step financially holding off for another year. If I’d gone ahead in late 2014 with plan 2 (a cheaper set up), the cost would have been £32,000 with no HDR.

All told, my home entertainment hardware setups set me back £45,000 of which £25,000 is my home theatre the rest is my dedicated Hi-Fi setup. Even now, many people think going UHD is too big an investment risk to make, or currently own very expensive systems that simply make UHD prohibitive and unattractive but I’ve got big bang for my buck, including a deal with Panasonic that will ensure my TV will never be out of date.

Here’s a couple of opinions about a single area of the home theatre experience that are vital, that being, its quality. My opinions are objective but still bear the process of subjective scrutiny – so what follows… you will either know this; or believe me; or be indifferent; or if curious, you might look it up.

1. CALIBRATION:
I dare say anyone owning a domestic professional* UHD monitor may not have had a clue where or how to start a system calibration but would be aware it’s something they ought to have learned or, if approaching and finding too laborious / complex, should have looked into or paid for a professional calibration. It’s done for one reason and one only; to optimise the content of your listening and viewing experience. I speak only for myself but working under a general assumption that film lovers want to watch their films in a manner that resembles the filmmakers’ intentions as accurately as possible. Those buying UHD TVs for under a grand probably don’t care or know what calibration means. They’re happy with the settings that it comes with out of the box – good for them! That said sharpness, contract, brightness and colour are probably a total mess. Very few TVs come with ‘good’ settings straight out of the box.

2. CONNECTIVITY:
Cables and leads for those with setups that qualify at entry level and beyond, which generally means spending between 2 to 3 grand on each component – this demographic never ceases to astonish me by settling for cables that come in the box.

Consider and then realise the only reasonable consideration is to invest in dedicated mains and speaker cables. ‘They’ say spend 10% to 15% of the overall cost of the hardware the cables interconnect. Regarding those percentages, that’s been the golden rule for audiophiles (‘They’) for over 6 decades. Home cinema owners are gradually waking up to the fact this also applies to a home theatre built by old or new enthusiasts with some cash to burn, who should like audiophile, audition hardware before buying and seek quality and durability over bells and whistles. Upgrades, be they a single component or the entire overhaul always means digging yet deeper into our pockets in increasingly harder times. My take is this – life is too short so it is worth the additional outlay. Proverbial ‘rainy days’ are already here.

If you’re not prepared to invest in dedicated mains and speaker cables, again… consider it. IsoTek is an excellent place to start and you will notice an overall cleaner and transparent quality. Even if PQ was previously solid, there’s a perceptible improvement in stability (simpler things such as keeping the setting for hardware fascia displays of amps and players to ‘Off’ (don’t select ‘Dim’, always ‘Off’). As a combination of these simple steps ups overall A/V quality and just that feel of superior quality is tangible.

Dedicated mains leads for hardware brings noticeable improvement in both PQ and audio, and you’re in for a real treat if you’re a music listener that still plays CDs, in which case, consider going one further and buy analogue leads for a separate audio channel between player and receiver / amp. If you play CDs via a DVD or BD player, you’ll need to select a separate output on your remote control for CD or it’ll simply channel the audio through HDMI. If your player has a ‘Pure Audio’ option, use that, too. The combination of these changes is to experience an elevation in both the scope of the soundstage and its quality, converging sublimely to recreate a manipulation of the senses greatly ameliorating the ease to reach suspension of disbelief from the opening credits – a basic tenet of cinema, massively eroded by an endless stream of regurgitated, poor imitations of guff. The latest Mission Impossible film isn’t my usual cup of tea but I remember Brian de Palma’s original was great adventure storytelling that completely sucked me in. Frankly, an iffy 56-year-old Tom Cruise reprising a character for the nth time fills me about as much enthusiasm as a doughnut with no jam.

I love my Oppo BDP-105D and Panasonic DMP-UB900 UHD players. The Panasonic still stands up very well as a UHD playback source even though it’s been out a few years. Since then other brands have improved current UHD hardware, with newly honed technical tweaks to former standards and the inclusion of new UHD industry standards for which currently, there appears to be no end in sight. However, and it’s a big however, the industry (both film studios and hardware manufacturers) are still at odds over UHD standards. Industry standards continue shifting with the additional caveat that the so-called standards are not universal and vary depending on the big studios and hardware investors that develop them, meaning industry standards are unlikely to be boiler-plated anytime soon. (8K anyone?)

These anomalies leak down into the various platforms over which UHD is being delivered, or introduced. So… regardless of your ‘newbie’ ninja’ or ‘overlord’ status, it’s we – the domestic end users – who part with our hard-earned to buy this stuff, who find ourselves at the bottom of this food chain and nowhere close to – aside from our eyes and ears – being sufficiently equipped with the raw data needed to make an accurate gauge as to whether PQ and audio reflects as close an experience as possible to that which the filmmakers and artists originally intended. Occasionally, something sticks out due to process(es) going awry, mistreated, overlooked, or simply forgotten during the authoring process. Most of the time we have no idea whether the picture on the BD we’re watching is a good rendering of the maker’s intent. Already there are a lot more “4K UltraHD” Blu-ray releases available than originally anticipated (even though the “4K” bit is a misnomer and should be dropped until such time – if ever – studios can create and support DCI standard transfers, which is true 4K being 4096 x 2160 pixels. Of course, this will also depend heavily on TV manufacturers being convinced market demand is sufficient and profitable enough to begin production of TVs with an aspect ratio of 1.9:1 of which the 16:9 equivalent is 256:135 (can’t see that one catching on, but hey, 3,840 managed to catch on as ‘4K’)

Regrettably, many of these “UltraHD” BDs have proved to be awful affairs, due in part to UHD standards still being a work in progress for the foreseeable future, but more commonly because HDR is a vital component at the core of UHD. Even now HDR technical standards, while fairly cogent in the film industry, are being hugely derailed by TV manufacturers, all of whom seem to have their own set of standards for HDR’s technical aspects built into a TV. I’ve been blown away by some UHD BDs in my home environment, where I’m confident how to control hardware settings, especially the TV settings. The technical aspects of HDR at work in my TV and UHD BD player adhere to and conform to industry standards rather than a ‘tailored’ version of what they consider to be their HDR standard. It is counterproductive on the one hand, for TV and BD player manufacturers to bring their own blend of HDR to their products knowing it renders images very differently from brand to brand. If the image isn’t adhering to the creator’s vision but it’s a subtle anomaly, without very costly software it’s almost impossible to know if it’s the transfer, player, or TV that’s responsible.

It’s all compounded when studios and labels get it drastically wrong, too. Example, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge is a film I hold in high esteem. I saw this at the Scala many years ago. When I bought into DVD, as soon as I heard Criterion announced a special edition release, it was a no brainer. From the get-go of my first DVD viewing something felt wrong – definitely not the same palette I experienced at the Scala. When I arrived at the scene with the pool table, it was like a shot in the face. At the Scala, the pool table was blue. No question of my memory playing tricks on me as I remember thinking that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a blue pool table. The Criterion release – and let’s face it whether we like the entire roster, or not (and few do), most of us regard The Criterion Collection as a company that pays close attention to getting it right, so when the pool table scene came on and I’m looking at a green pool table, I started checking my system to see if something was wrong. When the UK DVD was released by the BFI, I was relieved to see the pool table and overall colour palette evoking memories of my Scala viewing. Criterion have made this kind of cock-up on over a dozen titles, and that’s when I stopped buying Criterion – think they were only on spine number 400 at that point.

Home cinema is more exciting than ever but it’s always been minefield and more so now than ever. Putting the collective technical asides, aside, so to speak, we know from reading online or in the press, another example of the film industry undermining it’s audience, is (this, depending on the source you consult) 10% to 15% of BD releases in the EU with sleeves claiming the presentation is in 1080P are actually 1080i transfers that are out there. Sometimes 1080P transfers are difficult to obtain but this happens mostly because it’s cheaper using whatever transfer happens to be available. The studios and film labels releasing optical media know the truth 9/10 times but it’s not (yet) unlawful for them to tell the absolute truth in the blurb content. The sleeve on the UK BD release of Gangster No. 1 claims it’s a 1080i transfer but only after diligent folks running the likes of DVDBeaver delved deeper was it revealed it’s actually a 720 transfer. Sometimes the studio / label has a bona fide 1080p transfer but during authoring something or things are absentmindedly emitted, or overlooked such as ensuring the disc is correctly flagged for progressive playback (Anchor Bay were notorious for this on many of their early Region 1 DVDs). Then what? It inadvertently becomes a 1080 what? Technically, it plays back interlaced due to the absence of a digital flag.

It’s sites like DVDBeaver where we can discover some of the lies we’re sold by the studios that by and large go unnoticed but there are some releases that get out where there’s no escaping something’s up. That reminds me of Gangster No. 1 – that BD can’t stop itself from showing the flaws. Playback feels like a first class VHS presentation. Then none of this is anything new and it’s unlikely to go away. In the ‘80s and early ‘90s when the BBFC was rampantly scissor happy, all the bowdlerising left us with slight concerns of a scissor shortage with hands at the BBFC endlessly cut, cut, cutting. During this period it’s estimated approximately 18% of domestic home video releases had been bowdlerised by the BBFC – some of them beyond recognition. We realise looking at these dates that home video is still a relatively ‘new thing’, especially when taken into context of the 1984 Video Recordings Act, which decreed all home video releases must be certified by the BBFC, who at that time had already replaced the “C” to stand for ‘classification’, but we all know it still means Censorship.

Did the studios and labels releasing those titles for domestic release that were cut by the BBFC feel duty bound to inform the public the films they bought and rented were censored? Maybe, but they didn’t do anything about it. That would hurt their revenue. Thanks Ferman. I must have owned over 300 DVDs before I realised Region 1 was a viable and often better option. In spite of Ferman’s tenure at the BBFC ending in 2002, the advent of DVD saw a major shifting of attitude change over film censorship in the UK. Gaspar Noé’s cinematic masterpiece / atrocity Irréversible, released in the UK in 2003 was completely uncut. It is absolutely unthinkable to imagine what would have been left of that film had it been made and submitted only 2 years earlier. 5 Years earlier, given my fairly extensive knowledge of film censorship, I’ve no doubt Ferman would have banned it outright. To my mind, the only DVD I recall actually admitting it was cut, was Tartan Video’s release of Re-Animator.

Now I know I’m rambling – sorry, it’s a stream of consciousness thing and the last couple of paragraphs are more about my tendency to wander into trivia, so much of this falls by the wayside and to many is (understandably) not a big deal. It is, or ought to be an issue for claiming to be a cineaste, and actively indulging their passion by seeing screenings presented in a theatrical setting, but more increasingly at home. There has been a steady climb in numbers of people saving for a year or few so they can go for entry level setups as the quest to bring the magic of “Cinema” a little closer becomes more desirable, popular and trendy. In spite of markets not driven by but certainly affected by trends, it’s easy to see why home cinema is growing in popularity. The excitement of a corner of our home now being our own personal ‘cinema’ is drawing in more consumers than ever, to make the investment with newbies trying to fathom 4K. Home cinema, unlike the silver screen is a place we control the environment and are spared the cacophony of people conducting phone calls in the middle of a feature. The greatest benefit that most people tend to consider last is being in total control, including the benefit of settings, that when used correctly make the viewing experience in a home environment better than some screenings I’ve seen in certain cinemas where no one’s in charge of the presentation in technical terms.

For that demographic, TV and player settings are vital to ensure correctional factors such as interpolation, gamma rates, colour grading, etc. are in our hands rather than the digital equipment that’s virtually replaced projectionists, which isn’t to say the digital revolution leaves us mourning a lost era. In some respects it does but the fact is cinema can be elevated to its former glory by training projectionists for current times – digital projectionists. The digital equipment replacing film is equally complex in terms of needing a master to regulate, calibrate, check and analyse. Thankfully, a few cinemas are doing just that with a projectionists being trained to enter a profession now predominantly utilising digital equipment, a job as equally demanding, thorough and complicated as the role of old school projectionists.

Until or unless we see the professional role of digital projectionist catch on and immerse the entire industry, chances are when you see a film at your local multiplex, it’s too loud, contrast is overblown, sharpness is way off… We really should be adopting the attitude of becoming ‘professionals’ ourselves – in a loose sense, of course but with the wherewithal to grasp digital technology and get the best out of it. That way we take back a great deal of control, even in its simplest means by ensuring basic settings aren’t under or overcompensated, and as we grow more adept, you quickly learn where to locate that formerly hidden setting with a mysterious name and can make adjustments confidently that improve our viewing experience, which is what Blu-ray is all about.

Any bespoke ‘Oppo’ solution to fill the gap until the next super BD player arrives, will be woefully inadequate in terms of its range of controls and settings I’ve described here (in highly abridged form). Sometimes you’ve got to be patient and wait. The fact is there are already some excellent BD and UHD BD players on the market. Oppo stands out from the rest not only for the ‘extras’ it included but mainly for the overall quality of every part and component. Perhaps not the best analogy but think Arcam FMJ products. The “FMJ” means just that – a full metal jacket, which for the FMJ range is vital to performance, especially in receivers that now house up to 9 internal amplifiers among many other things.

It is also undeniably true that it is worth figuring out how to find and / or make time to know your way around every setting for every hardware component you own and even more so to make and find time to explore and understand the interplay of settings between separate components that at times blend seamlessly, but other times creates crossover(s) causing a ‘double positive’ that require labyrinthine navigation through endless menus to correct if you’re looking at them for the first time. When you’ve done the knowledge of your hardware settings, it’s a breeze, and you hone the skills through usage, eventually it becomes intuition and the reset, adjustment, or change can be executed in 30 seconds when you understand the function of each setting. It might seem like an anally retentive statement, but when you’ve completed the knowledge, it’s indispensible. Point in case, the fairly recent release of Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers on “UltraHD” BD, is by UHD expectations, a travesty. I was expecting to fiddle for 30 minutes to get it looking reasonable. With my set-up, simply lowering the contrast a great deal, and adding a little more colour was enough to make it look great. Basic settings with no need to delve deep. I correct more UHD BD than standard BD viewings but it’s actually the standard BDs that need more detailed tweaking or need to be altered in detailed sub-settings.

A TV source without a setting, or inbuilt capacity to maintain output resolution as ‘native’ by default, will display different resolutions, or render inaccurate interpolation that can make watching an old DVD a potentially soul-destroying experience (when you remember it being crystal clear on that old DVD player from your set-up of 10 or 15 years ago. As far as ‘native’ settings are concerned, this is something Oppo players prove to be worth their weight in gold. This is vitally important for UHD adopters with large DVD collections. When you have a player with the calibre of an Oppo, you can tweak DVD playback that looks god-awful and switch it back up to something that looks akin to HD, and sometimes the improvement can be making a tweak you’d think would make the problem worse. I’ve found many DVDs, particularly early ones, look remarkably sharper by changing the Oppo setting “Progressive” to “Interlaced”.

BD players upscale DVDs and generally yield better definition, or rather clarity, however, DVD playback on UHD hardware was known from the get-go to be fraught with problems. The fact UHD doesn’t lend itself to DVD (or SD) playback kindly is easily remedied with speed and no aggravation when you know the settings to tweak. Like any learning curve, it starts with a great deal of trial and error but it pays off quickly. Doesn’t necessarily follow you’ll get a great result, or anything mind-blowing, but I reckon 80% of the time I improve viewing of an old DVD of bad transfer to a point where even if it’s still distracting, I’m no longer distracted by ‘looking’ at the picture, analysing it, and able to ‘view’ the picture and forget the fact many UHD adopters have lost their love of film precisely because they can’t focus on watching something without the distraction of sizing up PQ because many UHD adopters frequently chop and change between 4 formats (SD, HD, FullHD and UHD). I have to admit, the first 6 months of going UHD, I almost lost my love of film. Whenever I viewed a DVD I hadn’t seen for a few years it turned out to be a futile exercise in PQ analysis, missing the film completely. Now I just accept it for what it is.

As for Gangster No. 1, it’s without question the No. 1 crap BD in terms of quality. It looks acceptable on my set-up with my TV on its native 3840 x 2160 pixels and my Oppo resolution adjusted to 1080i. The Panasonic player upscales all content to UHD. There’s no amount of tweaking this player can do that can make me appreciate Paul Bettany’s superlative turn as the unhinged psycho of the film’s title. Sometimes, in spite of no lack of player settings there’s simply none available to matters, which is something we’ll have to live with the foreseeable future, or until someone other than Film4 options this title. Until that time, my best option is to watch the DVD, which sadly looks better than the BD.

The point of all this is, like anything in our lives that is important or a true passion, we owe it to ourselves to be as well informed as possible in order to make the right buying choices. If you’re going to go bespoke from your 'home workshop, which certainly still holds value and relevance that’s fair enough but no one at this point in time is going to replicate the performance of Oppo’s UHD players, regardless of how creative they are. Technical Guidelines around HDR constantly changing, not to mention the plethora of other internal technical layers that deliver UHD through various platforms, we still really only have the Blu-ray format as the medium delivering UHD as an evolving but steadfastly consistently forward moving format. So-called 4K streaming through other markets and broadcasters is literally failing to deliver accurately rendered UHD transmission and it’s less about lack of bandwidth than the likes of Netflix, Amazon, et al cutting corners with various technical aspects that give UHD that real ‘Ultra’ feeling.

The final player in all this (aside from ‘us’ the consumer / user) is your home cinema set-up. There's an old rule of thumb that still holds true; that being your set-up is only as good as its weakest link. Spend £15,000 on a new set up (say TV, UHD player, speakers, and receiver / pre-amp and amp, and that’s a conservative figure) and you then spend £20 on bell wire for your speakers, for what you get with that you might as well have spent £3000 on the whole lot.

For film fans and Blu-ray adopters, Oppo players were the leading factor giving the consumer unparalleled quality as well as control – the additional options far from being ‘fireworks’ were viable workaround solutions for temporary use, or to be utilised as dedicated component when we inevitably upgraded to our next Oppo player.

The complexity and capabilities of Oppo players are precisely what make a bespoke assembly to replace it, pointless. At the market level of hardware from the likes of Oppo, bespoke workaround solutions no longer have the relevance or place they did as little as a decade ago, unless you're prepared to spend a fortune, or have deep enough pockets to buy patents, those of us seeking the ultimate experience of home cinema are all going to have to accept there will always be a large margin of compromise.
I'd rather be ashamed of a film that was making money than proud of a film that was losing it.

Last edited by Movie Miscreant; 08-17-2018 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Spelling and grammar corrections.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:00 AM   #230
Naiera Naiera is offline
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:38 PM   #231
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Quote:
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Apologies. I failed to read your post properly, and needed to edit mine into something way too long but all kind of relevant.
I'd rather be ashamed of a film that was making money than proud of a film that was losing it.
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Old 07-31-2018, 07:52 AM   #232
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emails are going out about when in august for last stock of 205 and what are the chances of getting one ?
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:50 PM   #233
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emails are going out about when in august for last stock of 205 and what are the chances of getting one ?
I subscribed on 5/19. Haven’t heard anything yet. But I’m a new customer, never bought directly from oppo so I assume previous customers will hear 1st.
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Old 07-31-2018, 06:13 PM   #234
sa5150 sa5150 is online now
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I subscribed on 5/19. Haven’t heard anything yet. But I’m a new customer, never bought directly from oppo so I assume previous customers will hear 1st.
Shoot I never thought of that . I joined june 1st . I guess more money to put into a tv for me if it does not happen .
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:00 PM   #235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLMN View Post
I subscribed on 5/19. Haven’t heard anything yet. But I’m a new customer, never bought directly from oppo so I assume previous customers will hear 1st.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sa5150 View Post
Shoot I never thought of that . I joined june 1st . I guess more money to put into a tv for me if it does not happen .
The sign up page clearly says "in late August, 2018*"

* - Projected. Actual availability date tentative and subject to changes.
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Old 08-01-2018, 12:58 AM   #236
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The sign up page clearly says "in late August, 2018*"

* - Projected. Actual availability date tentative and subject to changes.
Clearly good to know * - Projected was never there the last time I looked . Thanks for pointing it out .
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Old 08-01-2018, 03:11 AM   #237
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Clearly good to know * - Projected was never there the last time I looked . Thanks for pointing it out .
Well since no one was discussing this online, so you had me curious. Oppo always stipulates a projected time, don't want to be nailed to the cross because of broken promises.
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Old 08-01-2018, 05:49 PM   #238
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Any chance of another company picking up the Oppo brand for just home video kind of like when Sharp started making Pioneer Elite BD players?
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Old 08-01-2018, 07:07 PM   #239
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Any chance of another company picking up the Oppo brand for just home video kind of like when Sharp started making Pioneer Elite BD players?
That was back in 2010. Hisense bought Sharp. Onkyo bought Pioneer, but allow that division that makes the AVR’s, BD players as they were.

Simply a company picking up a brand historically doesn’t go well. The worse is all the damage that Harmon Kardon did to various brands it bought. Worse example was Infinity Speakers, they distroyed their high end speaker product line to make other brands they own like JBL, Revel sell.

Now the king of negative ads, Samsung owns Harmon Kardon.

So just any company picking up what OPPO continues to maintain isn’t acceptable, why because OPPO worked with consumers/ industry to produce products. Thats rare.

We certainly hope sometime in the future OPPO Electronics goes back and resumes what they are winding down.
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