Accuphase Introduced a high quality SACD capable transport called DP-100 and a SACD compatible PCM D/A D/D converter named DC-101 in the year 2000. The DP-100 is a 2 channel unit based around the same Sony professional DVD transport that most of the Asian high end units used and features in addition to a coaxial connector S/PDIF output a property digital interface called HS-Link to transfer data to the DC-101 or alternatively to a Accuphase DC-303 with an HS-Link option board. The DC-101 converter is the more interesting of the two units, it's a 2 channel DAC that comes standard with coax and optical S/PDIF inputs that support sampling rates of up to 96kHz at 24 bit, comes with a HS-Link interface that supports DSD transfers and PCM transfers rates of up to 192kHz @24 bits, it can also take optional input and output boards for added flexibility. The DC-101 actually transcoded DSD into PCM but unusually enough at a fairly high bitrate or 24 bits @ 176,4KHz (most DSD to PCM transcoders work at 88k @ 16 or 20 bits, or less, that includes high end units, multichannel is often 44kHz) but at the price you would not expect anything less, also unusual is that all DSD filtering was done in the digital domain during the conversion process. There should still be some more info here on these 2 units.
Apex Digital Sold the AD-7701 multi-format DVD player for a limited period of time (2001 - early 2002), it was a Chinese sourced model that supports the playback of stereo and multichannel SACD amongst other formats (and had karaoke capabilities....), dreadful sound by all accounts and noisy in particular with SACD playback, dead cheap however with an RRP of 250USD in early 2002 down from 399 in 2001, so it might be a reasonable second hand buy if found at the right price (well under 50 that is), as a DVD player it was quite reasonable and has non-interlaced NTSC, here is an old review of it, note that it's perhaps overly negative and that street prices were considerably lower than quoted in the article. There were reliability problems and the company replaced it with the AD-7702 model that was only on the market for a couple of months but was supposidly more reliable but as with most electromechanical things, if they survive a year they usually survive a few more, problems tend to show up in the first couple of months. Another smaller model was announced at the same time as the 7701 called MD-200 that had all the same features minus karaoke and an RRP of only USD299 but it appears that it was never shipped.
Marantz Marantz had their first player out in late 2000 called the SA-1, originally at around 7500€ or so but the price got lower in 2001, it's closely related to the revered Philips 1000 but is built to a much higher standard and is indeed notable for it's quality build and finish (it was the company's statement product at the time) but also for it's warm sound no matter if it's playing SACD or CD disks , it is a 2 channel only system that features balanced outputs in addition for digital outs for the CD section, Stereophile has reviewed this model and so did Hi-fi Choice, additionally for current owners of the unit this company offers upgrade kits. in early 2002 they introduced the gorgeous 12S1, who looks even better in real life than on photo. The 8300 universal DVD player also supported multichannel SACD playback, it was quickly replaced with the current 8400 model, the SACD playback is broadly similar but the older version looks better actually, you can find more info on this version by going to the Marantz homepage and choosing home audio, then Asia and then DVD players.
Onkyo Made the DV-SP800 universal DVD player that was their high end unit in 2004.
A universal player with Blu-ray capabilities that was basically a cheaper alternative to the Oppo BDP-83, it was introduced at the end of 2009 in Asia and in January 2010 in the west, the BDP-83 had only got lukewarm reviews when it was introduced in 2009 especially as a value proposition since it's picture quality and video processing options were no better than that of cheaper alternatives and it lacked features like built in Wi-Fi support that comparatively priced models from other manufactures offered, so BG/Oppo needed to come out with something more competitive in a hurry and simply took the BDP-83 and stripped out some of the auxiliary features but kept the same motherboard and transport.
What the BDP-80 changed vis-a-vis the BDP-83 was a smaller & cheaper case with a plastic facia instead of a brushed aluminium one, the separate 2 channel output was dropped so you had to use the first 2 channels of the 7.1 output for a stereo output, not a problem for videophiles since this was probably how they set up the BDP-83 in the first place but for the audiophile the convenience of being able to have the unit hooked up to separate hi-fi and AV systems was a loss and so was the fact that the 2 channel output on the BDP-83 features a separate DAC chip that has direct DSD conversion capabilities and is also actually better buffered and isolated than the 7.1 output making it sound slightly superior on CD, DVD and Blu-ray material, furthermore all SACD material is converted to PCM on the BDP-80 unlike the BDP-83. The supplied remote control was also cheaper and lacked the back-lit feature of its older brother but as an option Oppo would sell you the back-lit variant as well (Which is actually the same unit as shipped with the BDP-83). The BDP-80 actually features the same SoC as the BDP-83 so the video capabilities are basically the same but it lacks the Anchor Bay video processing chip so that upscaling and de-interlacing of DVD and lower resolution Blu-ray material is not possible and finally it lacks the RS232 and infra-red interfaces but those 2 are more use for system integrators that for the average consumer anyway. Because of customer complaints with the BDP-83 and the perception that the lower end of the market was still using analogue TV's to a degree the BDP-80 has an SVHS connector.
Actually a fairly well specified player for the price when it was introduced but the high speed of development in the Blu-ray market at the time meant that it had been seriously outclassed by the competition as early as spring 2010 and in particular it was panned for lacking support for 3D, it was discontinued in September of the same year in most of the world. Despite being discontinued the basic technology used in the machine is the same as the company uses in other models and thus Oppo has continued to support the unit with firmware updates and was still doing so in the autumn of 2012 when this was written, notably this does not just include bug fixes but also new features, the BDP-80 for instance included an Ethernet connector and had basic networking capabilities but to differentiate it from the dearer BDP-83 model all the interactive and internet features had been turned off, the company has however in a firmware update enabled some of these features so if you update you will actually get some of the features that the 83 has.
Despite being overall a solid machine it is not a recommended second hand buy in general and specifically not as a SACD player, when it was new it had an RRP of 289 USD and retailed for around 250 USD, however currently the lowest priced machine from the company has an RRP of USD 499 and this has driven the second hand price of the BDP-80 up, particularly in North America, making it not uncommon to see people asking for 300 to 350 USD for the player which is simply silly, at under 100 USD it might be an option for those that want basic SACD capability and do not need advanced video processing, but the fact of the matter is that today you can get much better Blu-ray players for around 100 USD new and might as well search the second hand market for a dedicated SACD player. Note that the machine is not multi-region and needs a hardware modification to be used as such.
Spares & service : Make sure you upgrade to the latest firmware in the form of BDP80-25-0301 (MCU80-06-0118) and check their website for a newer one, but in addition to fixing issues with some computer formats and adding support for more variants of blu-ray discs the update features a number of bug fixes including a rather serious one that made SACD's crackle on playback and freezing with some discs, most shipped units did not feature this fix
The Oppo BDP-80 technical specifications and features are; Player type: Universal Blu-ray player. Supported formats: AVCHD, Blu-Ray, CD, DIVX, DVD, DVD-Audio, HDCD, Picture CD, SACD. Blu-ray profile version: 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0. SACD conversion: Conversion to PCM. Digital audio outputs:S/PDIF coaxial and optical outputs. DSD up to 5.1 channels or PCM 7.1 channels of linear PCM, Dolby or DTS encoded signals over HDMI 1.3. Analogue audio outputs: 7.1 surround, 8 x cinch. Digital video outputs: HDMI 1.3, up to 1080p24 resolution. Analogue video outputs: Composite 1 x cinch, component video 3 x cinch, S-Video 1 x 4 pin keyed DIN, up to 1080i. Audio codecs: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS-HD Master Audio ohms. Control options∆ Device, remote. Internal memory: 1GB. Ethernet connectors: 1. USB connectors: 2 x (1 front, 1 back). Size: 43 x 28.1 x 5.3cm (Width x depth x height). Weight: 3.5 kg. Power requirements: 100 to 240V/50 or 60Hz, autamatic switching. Power consumption: 30 watts. Power consumption in standby mode: 1 watts. RRP: USD 289 (2010).
Philips Introduced the worlds first multichannel SACD player in the form of the SACD-1000 that is also has DVD playback capabilities, in an interesting reversal of the usual practice this unit was designed by the company's Japanese department but made in Belgium. It was bestowed with awards left right and centre when it was introduced in and you can read a few old reviews of it online such as one by Audioenz, or by British high tech rag T3 Magazine, by the Home Theatre Magazine and finally by Stereophile, and all seem rather impressed. The DVP-720SA was a low/mid end universal DVD player that was introduced in late 2003 and discontinued in early 2005, it was when introduced an outright bargain just as a mid priced DVD player never mind the SACD playback capabilities, such features as PAL progressive scan, built in Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby ProLogic II decoders and a 108MHz/12 bit video DAC were simply not available except on more expensive hardware, however it fell into a price group that was fast dissapearing at the time in the form of the mid price DVD player. The price of the budget player was falling fast at the time and dealers found it difficult to sell players that were above the 100£ mark, cheaper DVD recorders were only about 20% more expensive than the 720 when introduced and although their performance as playback units was sad to say the least the end result was not so much that punters were not interested in the 720 but that dealers simply did not stock it, I attempted to find dealers here in the UK that stocked the model in mid 2004 and after an extensive search found only 2 online shops that had them in stock, not a single traditional dealer had it, the electronic superstores only stocked cheaper models and the AV specialist dealers had mostly more expensive hardware with only a couple of budget models on hand to flog to the people who strayed in there by mistake. This meant that sales were abysmal and many magazines did not even bother to review the unit, which is a sort of sad since this was one of the most flexible DVD playback units out there, the built in decoders and 6 channel outputs enabled you to use the unit with a older AV amplifier or with a multichannel amplifier setup that does not feature decoders and the audio and video quality is better than similarly priced players and the unit supports MPEG4/Xvid/Divx and MP3 playback, the SCAD and CD playback quality, while not in the league of higher end players, is vastly superior to the similarly priced universal players, it even has an upsampling feature for the CD playback and region coding is defeatable via the handset. Since it did not sell well there are a few dealers that are selling the remaining stocks of this model at bargain prices, highly recommended for an audio/videophile on a tight budget.
Pioneer The DV-AX10 was the first universal player on the market, early versions did not feature SACD playback options n.b. (these are very rare though) and the sound quality of the SACD portion is better described as acceptable than great.
Sony As they were the first onto the market with the georgus but expensive SCD-1 in 1999 which was a stereo only version player that was totally overengineered as ofthen happens with the first products onto the market, conversly they were also the first to delete a product, current owners of the unit can contact this company that offers upgrade kits for both the SCD-1 and the 777, the SCD 555ES was discontinued in 2002, you can read this user review of that model with pictures of the internals and description of the components.
Yamaha Corp. Made the DVD-S2300 in 2002 to 2004 or thereabouts, a mid priced universal player that supports multichannel SACD playback, has true and wholly separate DSD converters and unusually has bass management for the SACD portion as well as the DVD portion although if you used that option you are transcoding and loose some sound cuality. Sonically much better than average but by some reports an average video quality for the price range, but best check that out for yourself, low second hand prices mean that it can be a quite good buy. The S2300 was replaced by the more upmarket DVD-S2500, but that is a full size mid end universal player based on the Philips DVP-900SA although the S2500 is actually better specified than the Philips variation and was more expencive when new. It supports multichannel SACD playback, also features the wholly separate DSD converters (no transcoding to PCM) and the bass and volume management for the SACD portion that the 2300 has although in the case of the 2500 that will only function if you are using the analogue outputs and has some impact on the sound quality. The S2500 also added supports the transfer of SACD content over iLink (it has 2 1394 connectors) to other devices that confirm to the DTCP standard, has a 192 KHz @ 24 bits capable PCM audio DAC although that high a sampling rate can only be utlised with the a few 2 track DVDA or by using the units upsampling function but that supports is primarily there for CD playback since multichannel DVD and DVDA do not support sampling rates above 96 KHz, unless utlilisng lossy compression. It also has all the usual video goodies that you would expect from a player in this price bracket including HDMI, a 216MHz video DAC and a quality video scaling chip et. al. Note that in addition to the usual country specific models there is a "Generic" model available that will work in all countries with an auto transformer etc., it seems not to be sold in most electrical or AV specialists but can be found in stores that specialise in selling internationally and to the "diplomatic community". And nota bene, when this unit was initially released in late 2005 it got rave reviews in the AV press in particular, the inclusion of DSD converters in a universal player at this price range is noteworthy, in fact the only weak point in the whole set-up is the remote which looks like it came from a budget DVD player but that is easily rectified via third party options, it was replaced in the maret in late 2006 by the largely similar Yamaha DVD-S2700 and if you can find the DVD-S2500 it at the right price in the second hand market makes cracking good buy, original RRP in the UK was 700 £ when it was first introduced but that dropped later on.
The DVD-S1500 is a slimline universal DVD player with features and specifications mostly identical to the DVD-S2500 above except that the S1500 has no digital video outputs, a cheaper 108MHz video DAC and no iLink interfaces either, it was considerably cheaper than the S2500 however and if you are more into audio than video it was a better buy with since it had the same CD upsampling feature MP3 playback and it did allow you to turn off the video circutry, however the video side of the machine was basically outdated even when it was released athough using a non HD TV I it would be difficult to find a lot of a difference, the only high end video thingummy that the S1500 sports is the same video processing chip as the 2500 featured although obviously no HD processing options appear in the S1500's menu due to the lack of useable outputs and the video DAC on the S2500 is obviously better although on a normal TV the differences were barely noticeable, the S1500 was replaced with the Yamaha DVD-S1700 in late 2006 but that model is much improved on the video side of things..
Philips Discontinued the LX8200SA and MX5800SA in late 2004, the 8200 is bargain priced DVD music & video system that provides 5x 40w per channel amplification in addition to a 100w subwoofer channel and has an external input/output for a recorder, a turntable or something like that, and unusually enough the tuner section supports LW in addition to the more usual FM & AM (at the least the European version does), the speakers are 2 column type floorstanders with 2 satellites and the usual centre + sub, multichannel SACD playback of course. The MX5800 is a 5 disk DVD changer that is a similar basic configuration to the above system but with an improved 6x75w capable amp, better speakers and a dual sub. These were bargians when new but difficult to access their value in the second hand market.