Blu-ray discs could be the last physical media you'll use for movies; CDs are already on the outs for music. The future is undoubtedly all-digital, delivered to you by streaming or download.
But it's hard to beat the quality and consistency of good old discs. And if you're going to buy one last Blu-ray player, you might as well make it one of the best.
While most Blu-ray players shed features to offer the lowest price, Oppo – which has built high-quality disc players for about a decade – takes the opposite approach and packs in everything you'll ever want. Truth be told, it probably includes more than you'll ever need.
The Oppo $500 BDP-103 plays just about any type of disc you have in your collection, from the standard – Blu-ray, DVD, and CD – to the arcane, like defunct (or nearly defunct) high-resolution audio formats DVD-Audio and SACD.
As a video player, the BDP-103 offers subtle yet important improvements over lower-priced models. For one, you can see sharper edges and better depth. But the player really shines when it comes to sound. Movie dialogue is balanced and clear; low-end effects rumble but don't overwhelm. The effect is even greater for music. The BDP-103 reveals bass tones that standard Blu-ray players lose in translation.
Oppo accommodates the digital future, too. You can access files on hard drives and computers through your network or via a USB drive. It streams Netflix and Pandora. You probably already have those apps on your receiver, HDTV, or set-top box, but Oppo really buys into the "more is better" approach to features. The good news is that even with all the features, the player remains easy and intuitive to operate.