Best Blu-ray/DVD player for under $800?

Lexi[CON] BD-30, I mean Oppo BDP-83... I kid, I kid.

Seriously, from my list below, which Blu-ray player do you think would offer the best BD picture quality with a 1080p plasma via HDMI, as well as the best possible rendition (upscaling) of SD DVD's? Audio is not such a concern as I only use the supplied L&R speakers at this time.

The list:

Denon DBP-2010CI
Marantz BD7004
Oppo BD-83
Anthem BLX 200
Pioneer Elite BDP-05FD

and just to mix it up;


Note: The Oppo is the obvious choice for many because of price, but consider the other BDP's as "open-box" or "preowned/demo" priced for comparisons sake. I won't be paying full retail.
The PS3 is thrown in because many seem to think it ranks up there with most mass-consumer BDP's on the market. I might agree with that at it's price and below, but not against $800 stand-alone BDP's. The plus side: games, as well as access to Netflix and Amazon VOD.
Sony, LG, Panasonic, and the like just don't seem relevant IMHO. At first, I considered buying some subpar <$200 BDP, but I can't be that cheap. Not with a 1080p plasma. What's the point. I've tried those lighter-then-paper weight DVD players and the picture quality was very poor. But then again, how can they compare to the only other DVD player I've owned - Meridian G98 AH. I just can't justify, nor afford, spending that much again on a component used solely for playing DVD's, as incredible as it was. Maybe when they make something similar for BD playback in the $2500 and less range.
I also consider buying a higher-end discontinued model (MSRP $2K, now discounted to less then $1K), but with how fast these products become obsolete (no network/ethernet,..), I'd rather get a current model.
And as mentioned above, I'd like having access to Netflix, Amazon VOD,... as well, but unfortunately only the subpar $200 players seem to offer this feature.
There is also one detail with a few of the BDP's in my list that bothers me; the small, cheap, two-prong AC input. Why?! It makes no sense on a $800 player. That can always be upgraded though.

Just gte the Oppo and be done with it. It plays every shiny disc you have and does so magnificently. And Oppo' customer service is second to none. Buy the Oppo and sit back and enjoy the ride...

I'd warn you to listen to the player when it is playing a DTS HD-Master disk.
My Pioneer Makes so much noise as to negate the higher quality sound.


Not the type of response I wanted. Try to offer a more insightful reason as to why it's so good, specifically over the other BDP's I've mentioned. Have you actually compared it to other BDP's? I know it plays everything. I know it has a great picture. I know this from all the reviews and comments. But others would disagree when comparing to, for example, the BD7004. Perhaps it was the best in it's class/price when first released, but that playing field changes fast. I also have to wonder, if it's so incredible, then why is there a constant flow of "like new... barely used... mint condition..." ones for sale?
Your image processing concerns are addressed by Home Theater magazine reviews.

It seems that the HQV Reon or Realta and the Anchor Bay VRS video processors are both at the top of the heap (potentially way above all comers). So look for products that have those video processors in your price range.

The Oppo is probably a no-brainer.

My Samsung BD-P2500 player has the HQV Reon chip (that's why I bought it) and it excels at the video criteria you state. However, its analog audio is pretty poor, but that's not a concern when using HDMI.
Note that the recent Samsung players no longer use the HQV Reon video processor, so I would not consider them at all. Again, check the Home Theater reviews:
I tried the oppo for the price and I was not impressed. It just is reminiscent of something I know will fail in a few months. built like a $69 unit. BD playback was very nice, upsampling was not as good as my old Arcam. IMO sound was decent. So I gave it to my father.

I purchased the Marantz BD7004 they had or are having $100 off on price. Build quality is superior. Loading is slow (slower than most) and I found the upsampled DVD to look fantastic (better than most I have seen), Sound superior but i am not all that impressed with its BD playback. Although it was similar, on par with the oppo. Then again i am not impressed with many of the BD discs I have watched. Unless it is a new movie release I find any older DVD upsampled on this unit is very close. This is on my Panasonic Premier Plasma with Arcam AVR 600 receiver dynaudio speakers.

I did have the system professionally installed by a very highly reputable shop I have no doubt the time they spent to get it right was done properly. I am amazed at how much better the Marantz looks and sounds over my old Arcam FMJ for regular DVD. I viewed a copy of Star Trek on both BD and DVD and the picture was quite close and both were crystal clear. Dark passages which are many were amazingly crisp. Shadows in the background that were not even noticeable on my Arcam were precise and not much less than the BD counterpart.

Hope this helps some but this is just my opinion.
I will also add that the HD sound is unbelievable. There is no noise as mentioned above although I think a lot of this has to do with the Arcam AVR600 which I added at the same time. I was using an Arcam AVR350 prior to this and there is just no comparison in sound quality. I would have to say with better speakers this unit will put almost anything to shame. i would even put it up against my Accuphase components for 2 channel stereo. the separation is amazing it envelops you in sound and playback of Dyana Krall live in concert is like being in a concert hall. very impressive.

I also agree the Anchor bay processor in the Marantz is outstanding.
Sorry for the third post on this I guess i should have included that the oppo 83 was used on my AVR 350 vs the AVR 600 so it is not an apples to apples comparison. I know they both use the same Anchor bay processor and the oppo is HDMI 1.3 vs 1.3a of the marantz. So this might have been a result of my bias towards the marantz.
I would go with the Oppo.

I do not think it feels like a $69 player. I have held a $69 player in my hands and there is no comparison.

Now, having said that I would say that it is not a cheap player and quite frankly I do not know how well the cheaper players would stand compare with it, expecially when it comes to standard DVD playback.

Fair enough.

Let me put it this way instead. In comparison the weight and feel of the Marantz feels more like the solid build of the Arcam FMJ than the Oppo does. I did not weigh them or know the weight off hand but it feels to be twice the weight. When you tap on the top of the oppo it has a tinny sound unlike the Marantz which is solid. The Oppo is a nice unit for the money. I am not sure if the one year vs three year warranty would prove to be a bonus i am speculating it will. I felt on upscalled DVD's the Marantz had more depth/pop and it was better than the Oppo. (again using a different receiver) I also found the sound is better. i wish I could go back and test the 2 on the same receiver.

In either case the Oppo is faster at loading and is a nice unit. I prefer the marantz myself if i had the choice and since you can pick them up for close to the same $$ within a few hundred i think the warranty is worth having. I also feel the sound would prove to be better. I don't think the receiver would impact the picture as much both using HDMI cables so IMO I feel the Marantz has an edge over the oppo. Although I am going on viewing experience and i am sure many out there know the components far more so than I.

Although in 2 years who is to say what will be out next and how many will be trading up. I have heard the new Arcam for $2500 will have a better picture than either of these units but that is an entirely different price range.
The Oppo and the Marantz BD7004 use the same video processor so their video performance should be fairly equivalent -- according to all the reviews using that chip.

I would expect that an Arcam FMJ unit had much more emphasis placed on its analog audio section than the Oppo. Significant price difference required. The Oppo SE version addresses the analog audio.

I do like Marantz (though my experience with a DV7600 several years ago was quite disappointing) and I think the BD7004 would be a good purchase. The 3 year warranty is a bonus.
The Oppo BDP-S83 supports Profile 2.0 or BD-Live, thanks to the built-in Ethernet connection, It allows upsampling of DVDs in order to view the best possible quality through its HDMI output.
Same as the Marantz.

I am not sure why I felt the Marantz looked better for upsampled DVD's. I magree on paper they should be quite similar. The Oppo looked a little grainy at times vs the Marantz. I was most surprised when viewing the Movie the Fifth Element on Superbit DVD. You can actually see the lines cut into the plexi in the scene when she broke out of the tube on the Marantz, it was not obvious on the Oppo.
Sakahara, sorry I have no practical experience with these choices but as I am looking at the same purchase myself I will mention a couple things. I like the PS3 for the wireless streaming but a buddy told me that some sites like hulu are not supported by the PS3 so a verification that netflix will run through it may be useful. Second is that cambridge just released their version of the oppo and it is in the same price range. not sure if you have brand preference or not.
Thanks for the comments. I'll read them later...

What I'm looking for is someone who can compare two or more of these players and offer an objective opinion with emphasis on the picture quality.

I'd also like to hear comparisons between new and old (discontinued models), for example, the Marantz BD7004 vs BD8002, to see how the latest ABT VRS chip holds it's own with a two year old HQV chip. Is it worth buying an obsolete model w/o network capabilities purely for the picture quality?

I've recently discovered another processor; Qdeo by Marvell. Looks impressive. Meridian uses it in their $185K projector. :-O Not many mid-priced BDP's using it though; Philips BDP9500. Pioneer uses it in the $2K Elite BDP-09FD. A bit out of reach.

There sure is a gap with BDP's between $800-$2K, not to mention with design. I wish one of the manufacturers would do something more stylish with the faceplate and chassis, similar to high-end CDP/CDT's, but without the ridiculous premium for rebadged Oppo's.

One other question concerning Audio and HDMI. Am I not getting TrueHD/DTS-HD audio when using HDMI (only DD)? What if I use the digital audio output to my 2Ch systems DAC (which I was planning to do)?

You only get TrueHD/DTS-HD thru HDMI (or the analog outs). The coax or TOSLINK digital out will only output regular Dolby Digital or DTS.

I do not know what would be best for running a 2 channel system. I don't have many blu-ray movies but none has a dedicated stereo mix (and not many regular DVD's have one either). You are going to be downmixing no matter how you choose to get the audio out.



I actually purchased the Marantz BD7004 to try. First impression as far as picture? Stunning, although I have no base with which to compare. The Blu-ray picture, with my first BD movie, "The Fifth Element" (remastered), was jaw dropping. Similar to HDTV broadcast, but much more film-like. The clarity, color, saturation, gradation, details, textures,.. were superb looking. I'm hooked and already ordered more BD's.

As far as the unit itself, it looks well built, but I wish it had more weight to it. It's too light. Makes it feel cheap. Materials also. I've been spoiled with high-end audio gear over the years. This BDP just reminds me of the mass-consumer electronics being made for the last 30+ years. What should I expect for $800. The new design is clean, with some curve to it, but not as impressive in person. Set up was easy, but the GUI is very dated looking. Hooking up to the network was as simple as plugging in the ethernet cable and a push of the button, updating firmware the same. Don't have a BD-Live disc so I can't comment on that. Having a network player really isn't as big of a deal as they make it out to be if this is all it does. Downloading and burning to a CD is not that difficult.


Thanks. I'm a novice when it comes to HT. For some reason I was under the impression that only the analog outputs offered the HD audio. Confused by all the online reviews and customer comments I've glanced over. So for the meantime, I'll run it to my preamp. At some point I'll have to invest in a 5.1 speaker set up...

While both the Oppo BDP-83 and Marantz BD7004 do use the same processor brand and series (ABT VRS), the chip model itself is differs; ABT2010 and ABT1030 respectively.

Here's one online comment I came across comparing the two;

"The Oppo's chip (ABT2010) is a bit better at recognizing obscure film cadences used in animation and anime, but the ABT1030 chip in the 7004 does an exceptional job at detail reproduction, color accuracy, and motion."

Take it as you will.

With regards to the build quality of the Oppo and Marantz (how light or cheap it feels), I think the $69 comparison is a bit harsh and unrealistic, but then again from my high-end audio perspective, the Marantz would fit into that catagory. It's very subjective and based on the equipment one has owned. It takes tremendous will-power to accept this level of electronics into my domain. ;-)

The Philips BDP9500 ($799) is sleek looking and uses the Qdeo Kyoto-G2 advanced pixel based video processor. But it only weighs 9.25 lbs. Not much less then the 10.9 lb Marantz BD7004. You'd think for $800 they could make a slightly heftier, better insulated player. Maybe not. Wish I could afford the UD8004 at a hefty 18.7 lbs. Tax return? ;-)
Go with the Oppo bdp-83SE, this player sells for 900.00 well worth it if you are going to use the analog outputs into your home theater. If you have a good processor with HDMI then the cheaper Oppo is fine.
So this comment would support my experience with viewing the superbit version of Fifth Element.

"The Oppo's chip (ABT2010) is a bit better at recognizing obscure film cadences used in animation and anime, but the ABT1030 chip in the 7004 does an exceptional job at detail reproduction, color accuracy, and motion."
I did a lot of research and bought the Pioneer and a friend did the same and bought an Oppo. Get the Oppo, it is a better unit, loads faster and sounds terrific. The picture is what you would expect of a blu ray.

I returned my Marantz BD7004...

I loved the picture quality, but the noise from both the fan and the drive were distracting. I could hear it from 8 ft away. The fan sounded like a computer tower and the spinning of the drive was incessantly loud at times (like a computers CD/DVD disc drive), that it caused a whining resonance, vibration, through the chassis and into the wood shelf. Not sure if this was normal or the drive had mechanical issues. Either way, the fan noise was too audible for me. I was also disappointed with the mini-two prong AC input and the lightweight construction/materials. The design wasn't as nice in person either. I'd prefer a thicker aluminum faceplate to their plasticky aluminum/resin design. I guess I shouldn't expect too much for $800. Looks as though it doesn't get much better until you spend over $2K, which I don't want to do.

Time to try other BDP's. Somehow I knew it would turn out this way. You can't rely on opinions or reviews. You have to experience it for yourself. Plus this is my first BDP. I need to have some references to compare. Next up; PS3 or Oppo BDP-83.
The Sony scdxa5400es is a excellent choice and even better for sacd then anyone else!
Get a pre-owned Marantz BD-8002.

Killer Blu Ray player.

The Blu Ray picture is outstanding and it has no equal upscaling standard def dvd's. It can be had for $700-$800 here on the 'Gon. I paid $2k for mine and I still think it was a steal.
The Samsung BD-P3600 is a great one...image quality is great and I really love the Netflix option.
I have a PS3 at the moment with a S.R Tesla T2 active power cord that bumps quality to a higher level.

I do want to jump to a higher designated BDP for theater listening. I also want a player that you can utilize your own power cord. I feel it is absolutely beneficial to boosting every aspect of quality(audio&video) if chosen rite.

I did research the marantz units and found that they used the cheezy pre corded inlet on players almost all the way up to the 2nd top end unit.. As opposed to the Oppo/SE model, the 15amp IEC inlet is used on they're $500/$800 units...Thumbs up to Oppo. Samsung doesn't use them at all so no power cord enhancement is useable. The Pioneer 09 model does have it for a $2200 new / $1300 used price tag. The Denon units have them in higher models above the $2000 range just like the Marantz units.

If you believe that a custom power cord justifies a huge quality enhancement, then having that flexibility in a Blu Ray player will make for a better-than theater-like viewing experience for audio&video. The quality of player you buy will only get better....

That said, I feel the Oppo 83 or SE model with a custom power cord would be best bang for your buck BDP so far. Even with a S.R T2 power (used $400) cord equalling $900. Does anyone have a suggestion for a player otherwise???

Regards Bacardi

Mitch4t: I did. Although my BD8002 was new and at a big discount. I posted my thoughts on another thread. To sum it up; "stunning picture".

I tried a PS3 just before this. Great for games and cool GUI, but it's a toy. And I found the picture quality to be "gamey" if you will. Reminded me of watching video on a computer. The Marantz BD7004 was better, with a more filmic quality to the picture. However, with that said, the PS3 would make a great BD/DVD transport with an outboard video processor (DVDO,..etc). But then the BD8002 has that in one package, just w/o all the cool interface and internet BD-Live take-more -of-my-life-away-from-me consumerism. I just want to watch the movie.

I wanted to try the Oppo BDP-83 but thought; "what's the point?". It's an over-hyped $500 universal player. How good could a video chip be inside a $500 BDP? And yes, better power cords do make a difference. I use them with very positive results. But a $500 BDP is not going to come close to a $2000 BDP with a better power cord. I didn't like the AC IEC either. But that could be upgraded. I also kept wondering why most main brands used the two-prong (no ground), as opposed to three-prong. Something to do with ground issues and video. maybe they know something others don't, or care not to think about since heavy-duty IEC's are standard with audio gear. But i have no problem using my power cords since the ground plug unscrews.
Dear Sakahara,
I bought the Pioneer BDP-05 Elite player. I made this purchase due to owning an Elite Plasma & Receiver. The picture is stunning on Blu-Ray, and sound on CD is excellent. However, loading of BluRay DVD's takes F O R E V E R. I did several firmware updates and it is still slow. Other functions are not user friendly either. I would think twice before buying the Pioneer Elite. The function of the Pioneer Elite is disappointing.
I bought the Marantz BD8002...

So everyone knows and doesn't keep posting suggestions.
The BD8002 continues to impress me. Even with cheap $30 Dynex HDMI cable. Although I am going back to WireWorld Silver Star 5/2 (already replaced one; A/V Rcvr->Plasma). But before that I replaced the fuse with a HiFi Tuning SilverStar and I'd swear the PQ has improved from that. I couldn't believe it. And now with the WW SS 5/2 it's looking even more stunning. Can't wait to be abck with all WW SS 5/2 (BDP->A/V Rcvr).
I am surprised to hear others having noise issues with their Marantz BD7004. Mine is quiet not a noise or vibration. I had the oppo BDP-83 and the marantz BD7004 I found the pictures to be similar albeit slightly better out of the Marantz even though they both use the anchor bay chip i think marantz did a better job with it and the sound quality to be better out of the marantz. Didn't care much for the oppo build quality either. I gave the oppo to my father and he likes it although he has complained about it locking up and jamming on him lately. Will have to look into that might be operator error.

The Marantz is a little slower at loading and glitches occasionally on stopping and replay but otherwise I found it to be slightly better than the oppo. The Marantz seemed to update firmware much easier and has all the on line functions the others mentioned.
The Oppo and Marantz BD7004 use different ABT VRS chips.

Now that I'm using WireWorld Silver Starlight 5/2 HDMI cables again (this time from BDP->A/V Rcvr->Plasma) the PQ is even better then I remember (more so because how bad it looked with the Dynex and AQ cables). The picture is more cohesive, steady looking. Everything about it looks amazing.
Onkyo Pro SC 885 Reon HQV processor or Oppo BDP SE Anchor bay processor for movies via analogue ins??? I am at the moment ready to buy an Oppo 83SE and put aside my PS3(piano black version) and hope to gain a performance level using the bistream for the lossless audio formats. Should I use the Hdmi and use the Onkyo or the analogue and use the Oppo SE. Are there more benefits of the SE version or should I just get the regular 83??

A/V solutions explained that the oppo 83SE will better the HQV Reon through analogue for movie watching and the regular 83 too. But I have read other forums stating that the Reon HQV betters the Anchor Bay. So I am a little in the middle of the fence.

Is there any specs pertaining to the two processor chips that can decifer the better qualities between them???

Regards Bacardi
Regular Oppo 83 if all you are using is HDMI for bit-stream or PCM .. You only need the SE if you are going to go analog ONLY. Otherwise you won't notice any benefits.. I have a regular Oppo BDP-83 and it is awesome!

Update: Marantz BD800

The picture quality just got better now that I'm using a Running Springs Audio Haley Elite PC. I couldn't believe the difference from the BPT CPC. The hues are more colorful, vibrant, and saturated with more depth and texture as well. This took a week or two to really become apparent (silver wire settling in), but I suddenly noticed the change while wathcing a previously viewd Blu-ray. Nothing else had changed, yet there was a dramatic improvement with the picture (audio was immediate). I would not have believed it had I not witnessed it myself. The fact is each tweak I made to the BD8002 from the HiFi Tuning fuse, PSA AC3 power cord, WireWorld SS 5/2 HDMI cable and now the RSA Haley has made significant improvements, most notably to the picture. The BD8002 was incredible in stock form and the reason I bought it, but now it's just astonishing. What a bargain at the price I paid for it new ($800). If you want the best BD/SD picture and can live w/o internet/BD-Live do yourself a big favor and pick up a used one. No $500-$800 BDP is going to come close. I wonder why anyone would sell this.
Regarding the build quality of the Oppo 83 or any Oppo for that matter, I find the Oppo 83 to be a superb player and has worked like a charm since I received it in May 2009. Furthermore, the Oppo 971H that I have had since, oh, I don't know when, call it 6 months or so after it's release, has bounced around on a couple of California road trips and then made the cross-country trip out to the Carolinas and still works like a champ.

I am satified with both the performance and durability of these machines.
Regarding the build quality of the Oppo 83 or any Oppo for that matter, I find the Oppo 83 to be a superb player and has worked like a charm since I received it in May 2009. Furthermore, the Oppo 971H that I have had since, oh, I don't know when, call it 6 months or so after it's release, has bounced around on a couple of California road trips and then made the cross-country trip out to the Carolinas and still works like a champ.

I am satified with both the performance and durability of these machines.
I just ordered an Oppo SE version arriving tomorrow. I am going to run 7.1 analogue for movies and analogue for music. Any suggestions on some rca's for all. I have all S.R Tesla interconnects, biwire speaker wire & power cords.

I am running a Onkyo Pro SC 885 and a Samsung 58" 850 series plasma..

Regards Bacardi
If you need upconversion then by all means spend the money. However, if you plan on buying BD discs then be aware that video quality is very similar on all models when playing 1080P into a TV or projector that handles 24, 50 and 60 Hz.

If you need better audio that is another reason to spend big bucks.

FWIW - plan to spend more on the projector or TV than you do on the player. I don't think a 1200 $ TV/projector with an $800 player is going look nearly as good as a $2000 TV/projector with an entry level BD player.