While sound quality may be the DV-970HD’s strong suit, it is no slouch in the video department. I put the player through its paces on films and with the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark disc, and in both cases observed optimal performance through the Oppo’s HDMI outputs with upscaling set for 1080i (the TPV test display is a 1080p-capable RPTV). Noise was minimal, detail was very good, and performance on various cadences (video, film, anime, etc.) was fine. The only areas where the Oppo was decent but not great were on certain tests for jaggies and for motion-adaptive noise reduction. But even there the Oppo handily outperformed many mid-priced players I’ve recently tested.
One discovery I made was that the Oppo’s Sharpness control was genuinely useful—not garish as such controls often tend to be. When I watched Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with the Oppo’s Sharpness control set to Sharp, fine details became so clear that they almost reminded me of the way HD DVD material appears.
The bottom line is that the Oppo DV-970HD, imperfections and all, is by far the best low-priced universal player I’ve heard or seen. It does so much, so well, for so little, that it will make many higher- priced players seem like underachievers by comparison. TPV