For the past year or more I’ve had on long term loan from Sony Computer Entertainment a Sony Playstation 3. This has been the source I’ve been primarily using for my Blu-ray reviews. At the time, the PS3 was the only Blu-ray player that delivered all the performance I needed. Certainly, there were no standalone Blu-ray players that could do the job.
The payback to SCE for the loan was mentions of the unit from time to time in my reviews of home theatre receivers, TVs and the like, and a specific mention at the foot of my printed Blu-ray reviews.
I haven’t been inclined to try replacing the PS3 with any standalone players since then, despite one drawback of the PS3 for my purposes: it would not provide the new audio standards as a bitstream, necessary to test home theatre receivers.
Yesterday, following my Oppo BDP-83 review, I broached with Merlin Audio and Oppo Digital the possibility of a long-term loan on similar terms to that for the PS3. The reason: this player does absolutely everything I require of a Blu-ray player, it does it all well, and does it quietly (the PS3’s cooling fan does fill the room with bit of swishiness). And, of course, in addition to decoding all audio standards, it will deliver the audio as a bitstream to a suitable home theatre receiver.
I’m happy to say that Oppo and Merlin have agreed to my proposal, so the BDP-83 shall be the major test platform for Blu-ray discs in my office for the forseeable future.
Aside from doing everything well, the Oppo does everything promptly. Here are timings I have made for a number of Blu-ray players. The only one that matches the Oppo for speed — and is a similar pleasure to use for this reason — is the LG BD370. Unfortunately, it does not offer the same level of performance in other respects.
|Model||Open drawer from ‘Off’||Start Sky High from drawer open||Start Speed from drawer open||Eject Speed from menu||DVD layer change|
|Kogan KGNBRVA||25 (power, then drawer open)||36||50||6||2.5|
|NAD T 587||4||22||35||10||1|
|Panasonic DMP-BD60||29/13 (Quick Start)||39||55||5||1.2|
|Panasonic DMP-BD80||30/13 (Quick Start)||39||55||5||1.2|
|Pioneer BDP-120||19/2.6 (Quick Start)||47||74||13||0.8|
|Sharp BD-HP21X||22 (3 in Quickstart mode)||54||86||10||3|
|Sony BDP-S350||24 (8 in Quickstart mode)||35||50||7||2|
|Sony BDP-S5000ES||25 (8 in Quickstart mode)||28||51||8||1.9|
|Sony Playstation 3||N/A||38||43||3||0|
What do these timings mean?
With the first, I press the ‘Open’ key on the unit while it is in standby mode. The figure is the seconds until the drawer is fully open.
With the second column, I place the Blu-ray of Sky High on the open tray and press ‘Close’. The figure is the time taken until the opening language-selection menu appears. This disc is single layer and very simply organised, so it represents a kind of quickest starting Blu-ray.
With the third column, I place the Blu-ray of Speed on the open tray and press ‘Close’. The figure is the time taken until the Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment video logo commences to play. Before this the player loads a section of BD Java programming from the disc, so this timing includes this extra work.
For the fourth column, this is simply the time taken after a press of the ‘Eject’ button, while sitting in the Speed menu, for the tray to open fully.
The final column shows the approximate time taken for a layer change in a dual layer DVD to be negotiated. I use my copy of The Matrix, since I’ve been using the same disc for this purpose for about ten years. My methodology is to select the music commentary audio track, because the fellow talks right over the layer change (which occurs at 59:12 on this PAL DVD), making it easy to measure. The time shown is the period of the gap in the sound.
The pale blue highlight marks the Oppo. This is a current model. The pale yellow highlights mark the players no longer available.