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Oppo UDP-203

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OPPO UDP-203
  • OPPO UDP-203
  • OPPO UDP-203
  • OPPO UDP-203
  • OPPO UDP-203
  • OPPO UDP-203
  • OPPO UDP-203

Summary

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Key Features

  • SoC (System on Chip) UHD Blu-ray decoder
  • AKM 8-channel, 32-bit DAC
  • Built-in dual-band Wi-Fi
  • 2-channel DSD256 and multi-channel DSD64/128 support
  • UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray (2D & 3D), DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD and AVCHD disc playback
  • DLNA/SMB media streaming
  • Manufacturer: OPPO Digital
  • Review Price: £599.00

So far, the Ultra HD Blu-ray player market has been a straight up dogfight between Panasonic and Samsung – and Microsoft if you count the Xbox One S. But now, enthusiast favourite Oppo has waded into the 4K waters with its debut deck – the UDP-203.

The deck is a typically heavyweight affair, boasting the sort of luxurious design and exhaustive spec to make other players look like market stall knock-offs.

Oppo has thrown everything and the kitchen sink into this player, including a new video-processing chip developed with MediaTek that promises industry-leading picture quality. But that’s only to be expected from the company that brought us gob-smacking Blu-ray players such as the BDP-105D and BDP-831.

The only downside is the price – at £599 (TBC), it will join Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 as the most expensive player on the market when it launches in November.

OPPO UDP-203

Oppo UDP-203 – Design

With its metal chassis, steel cover and thick, brushed aluminium front panel, the UDP-203 is a remarkably well-made player. It’s rigid and robust – like a slab of black granite. The look is similar to that of the BDP-105D, with a business-like black finish, flush fascia and minimal front buttons. No frivolities; just a serious-looking piece of hardware.

OPPO UDP-203

In terms of connections, Oppo usually goes above and beyond the call of duty and the UDP-203 is no exception. The all-encompassing range of gold-plated connectors on the rear includes dual HDMI outputs. The HDMI 2.0 offers full 4K/60p video output, while the HDMI 1.4 port carries audio-only, ensuring compatibility with older AV receivers.

OPPO UDP-203

They’re joined by a HDMI 2.0 input, which allows you to pass other native 4K sources such as TV set-top boxes and games consoles through the Oppo. This is a first when it comes to UHD Blu-ray players.

OPPO UDP-203

OPPO UDP-203

Among the other sockets are 7.1-channel analogue outputs, two USB 3.0 ports on the back, USB 2.0 on the front, optical and coaxial digital outputs, RS-232 and trigger in/out ports for integration with external control systems.

Oppo UDP-203 – Specifications

Oppo takes the same no-holds-barred approach on the inside too. The brains of the player is a new SoC (System on Chip) developed with MediaTek, which delivers "advanced image processing". The UDP-203 is the first player of its kind to use this chipset.

Its advanced processing also makes the UDP-203 technically capable of supporting Dolby Vision playback, although it isn't yet certified. Oppo is "in talks" with Dolby, so for now it’s a case of watch this space, but it's good to see a player built with this capability in mind.

There’s a custom-made 4K disc loader with an optimised laser mechanism for fast disc loading, error-free playback and wide disc compatibility. That includes UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray (2D & 3D), DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD and AVCHD discs.

Over the years, Oppo’s disc players have been celebrated for their audio quality almost as much as their video prowess, and the UDP-203 shows no signs of letting that slide.

It’s endowed with a premium 8-channel, 32-bit DAC from AKM (4458), with support for PCM, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC and WAV up to 384kHz/32-bit, plus 2-channel DSD256 and multi-channel DSD64/128. The deck also supports Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The UDP-203 can also be used as a media streamer via built-in dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5.0GHz) or Ethernet. It will play AVI, MKV, MOV, M2TS/TS, MP3, WMA, AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DSD, FLAC and WAV from DLNA/SMB servers on a network. It also plays media from HDDs up to 16TB plugged into a USB port.

The only snag is that the UDP-203 doesn’t offer any video streaming from services such as Amazon or Netflix. This isn't a huge issue given that most new TVs have these services built in – but even so, it’s one area in which Oppo’s rivals have the upper hand.

Oppo UDP-203 – Operation

Oppo has given its menu system a lick of paint. The new high-resolution interface has been designed for maximum convenience, making it easy to find your media. There are dialogue boxes that display detailed information for professional users, while nine zoom modes and fast start-up further enhance the user experience.

OPPO UDP-203

Naturally, there’s also HDR to SDR conversion for older TVs that don’t support HDR10 – it can be selected in the setup menu as one of four HDR modes, alongside an option to output HDR with the metadata stripped.

The remote has also been refreshed. The backlight turns on automatically when you pick it up thanks to a built-in accelerometer that detects movement. Otherwise, it looks similar to previous Oppo remotes with its chunky buttons and intuitive layout. There’s a dedicated HDR shortcut key that provides quick access to the menu outlined above.

Oppo UDP-203 – Performance

Naturally, we were at the mercy of Oppo’s demonstration setup at the launch, but displayed on an LG OLED TV the pictures on offer looked nothing short of spectacular. Without the Panasonic or Samsung players on hand for an A/B comparison, it’s difficult to tell quite how much more spectacular its images are, but they’re impressive nonetheless.

Oppo's 4K test disc of choice was Deadpool, and the deck's colour handling was the first thing to jump out. Deadpools tight-fitting suit is rendered in deep, natural-looking shades of red, with smooth, intricate tonal gradation within it.

Also impressive was the deck’s reproduction of detail, which on a subjective level seems to hit new heights of sharpness. The texture of Deadpool’s suit looks remarkably punchy and focused, making it seem almost three-dimensional. Ryan Reynolds’ facial close-ups also reveal gorgeous detail, housed within some of the most natural-looking skin tones I’ve witnessed.

During the freeway shoot-out scene, when Deadpool takes out his foes while counting down his remaining bullets, his motion is fast and fluid, with no juddering or blur.

Early Impressions

On this evidence, the UDP-203 is shaping up to be a stupendous UHD Blu-ray disc player. It’s the sort of machine John Hammond from Jurassic Park might make, with Oppo sparing no expense to deliver the finest possible performance.

In terms of features it leaves no stone unturned (apart from video-streaming services found on most smart TVs), while its jaw-dropping build quality puts Panasonic and Samsung’s efforts to shame. Its improved operating system, extensive socketry, media streaming and wide-format support are further reasons for optimism.

On first viewing its pictures look staggeringly good, but we’ll reserve judgement until we get our hands on a production sample. But from what we’ve seen so far, there’s every reason to believe that this will be the UHD Blu-ray deck to beat come November.

Best Deals for OPPO Digital Oppo UDP-203

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Bugblatter

September 29, 2016, 1:37 pm

I strongly suspect I'll be selling my Panny UB900 and getting this. The Panny's great for playing discs but rubbish for everything else.

I'm surprised about the lack of streaming services though, they're kinda expected these days. The ones on the Panny are fairly unusable (everything plays at 60Hz) but at least they exist (and might get fixed someday). Luckily my TV has the streaming services built in.

Paul Suarez

September 29, 2016, 8:43 pm

Interesting, that reference to November availability. I don't think OPPO has stated/confirmed that yet.

Phantom Stranger

September 30, 2016, 1:44 am

I think most people these days have an extra box for streaming purposes like the ROKU. Those streaming services move too fast in terms of updates compared with the relatively slow hardware cycle of standalone disc players.

Daniel Cederqvist

October 4, 2016, 12:27 pm

I'm happy that there are no streaming services. First of all I like to have it clean and streamlined without apps all over the place and on all devices. If I use Netflix I like to have it in ONE place. Else it's being cluttered. I don't like that... Then I don't use Netflix, I don't use Spotify and Youtube only at my computer. I also use PLEX but that's all I use. PLEX works great at the SmartTV or upcoming PS4 Pro. I sold my BDP-93 to get my hands on this one. Possibly I wait for the next "step" since I will use it as a preamp. The DAC also seems to been improved a bit.

AML

November 10, 2016, 12:53 am

This is the one ive been waiting for. Day one purchase for me. (hopefully this will be the first and last UHD player ill ever have to get)

Roger Kelly

November 12, 2016, 12:26 pm

I will just plug in my existing Oppo BDP 103 player into the HDMI Input of the new Oppo UDP-203 player for the time being, for all my streaming needs of Netflix etc which are all available on the existing BDP-103 player. I will just daisy chain the two Oppo's together and plug the Oppo UDP-203 into my home receiver for multi channel goodness. The streaming of apps problem for the time being is then solved until Oppo send us the Netflix/Pandora apps etc to the new player down the line in a future firmware update, which I heard they plan to do at a later date :)

Young-Sub Byun

November 29, 2016, 3:25 am

Oppo's website says available in December... but when in December??? Also will it support Dolby ATMOS and VISION? Dying to find out!!

Mitchimal

November 29, 2016, 10:52 am

Dolby atmos and vision yes.

Michael Foster

December 1, 2016, 3:33 am

I can't wait my PlayStation pro does a better job of up scaling regular blurays , than samsung 4k bluray player i have and i am looking forward to dolby vision.

DEVILTAZ35 .

December 2, 2016, 12:01 am

Most amplifiers don't support vision anyway.

John M. Read

December 2, 2016, 6:00 am

Whereas I am keen to see the next Pioneer and Marantz HDR BluRay players. I have an upgraded Oppo now but would consider Pioneer or Marantz as alternatives...exciting times. Outside USA YouTube for me and for others (not me) Netflix are important. All cable delivery sucks in quality against original discs...strictly casual watching only.

Anthony Steiner

December 3, 2016, 6:18 pm

Why no support for USB-C? Only USB 3.0???

Francesco Scinico

December 4, 2016, 3:09 pm

Wish it had digital inputs.

Patrick Uitz

December 11, 2016, 1:23 pm

How is the sound quality? As good as the 105?

JOe K.

December 14, 2016, 11:07 pm

Is video from the streaming device input able to be run through the processing as well? So if I run my Roku through it will it apply video processing?

luisnlupe

December 16, 2016, 1:28 pm

AUDIO !! Does it sound good on a good 2-ch stereo system??

gbearman

December 19, 2016, 9:10 am

needs to be a lot better than the 103

Shiva Layananda Pashupati

December 20, 2016, 5:14 pm

I wonder if the USB will recognize Mac-formatted hard drives? The BDP-103 did not. But since the UDP-203 reads AIFF files, it may also recognize Mac discs. Time will tell.

DEVILTAZ35 .

December 21, 2016, 2:59 am

I think they will as there is a firmware/apps part on the 203 page on the website but at the moment if you click on it nothing happens.
They may remain optional though as speed of operation would be affected if it has to load in apps everytime.

boe_d

January 2, 2017, 8:03 pm

admit I use my Oppo 203 most of the time for what the manufacturer probably thought was a secondary function at best. I stream all my movies and TV shows to it via SMB with discs I've ripped from my collection so I never have to put another disc in my player. I had the 103 and the 203 has some advantages - much faster scrolling, much faster boot time, faster network detection and some 4K file streaming on the local network!

I'm sure many of my MKV playback issues can be resolved with a firmware update. The issues I'd like them to resolve:

1. Make the back arrow go up a folder level when you are at the beginning of a list.

2. Make the down arrow scroll to the next column when you are at the bottom of a column.

3. Make the background adjustable - somewhat light blue with white text.

4. Fix the audio issue - sometimes the voices sound like a dalek and cylon produced a love child - easy to fix by hopping from one mkv and back, voices play back normally without distortion - wasn't and issue on the 103.

5. Offer more codec playback options for 4K MKVs - will play HEVC (Main 10@L5.1@Main) or HEVC (Main 10@L5.1@High) but will not play HEVC (Main 10@L6.1@Main)

6. Fix playback so it can play Dolby Atmos MKV files - the 103 could stream them and playback as Dolby Atmos but the 203 won't.

7. Ideally the 203 would have a plex or other app so you could really have a nice menu system but I don't know if that is something they would consider.

I don't know about the plex as that really is a big feature request but I do think Oppo will fix the first 6 concerns as they have been VERY good about supporting the 103 with firmware fixes in the past.

gbearman

January 10, 2017, 11:20 am

Does 203 sound better than the 103 which I did not like & got a refund

gbearman

January 10, 2017, 11:22 am

Best to wait for the new Sony BD player shown at 2017 CES

John M. Read

January 10, 2017, 1:36 pm

I'm always happy to be surprised...

boe_d

January 10, 2017, 2:34 pm

Sounds about the same to me as my prepro does all the audio work. The 105 and 205 are for people who want analog audio. I had an onkyo prepro ages ago and it sounded horrible so you might want to check your receiver or prerpo.

Piotr Kundu

January 14, 2017, 4:25 pm

I can't see why you would need Amazon or Netflix on a high-end bluray like this. The bitrate on these streaming services is so low you wouldn't get the best out of the AKM 4458 DAC. That's a bit like driving driving a Mercedes S-class and saying "it's pity it doesn't have a 2-stroke engine". Netflix has almost no Atmos movies and doesn't support DTS:X. It's costs a LOT of money to develop a video player for Netflix/Amazon.

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