Mention Oppo, and you will always think of their collection of smartphones. Rather than duke it out on the high end smartphone market, Oppo has focused their strategy on specializing in selfie handsets, hence their recent Selfie Expert devices which saw the latest iteration in the form of the Oppo F1S. However, it looks like Oppo wants to expand their reach by entering the realm of living room entertainment with the Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
This Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player does seem to be part of a grander plan from Oppo, and we have seen somewhat similar efforts made by other Chinese manufacturers. For instance, Xiaomi has even gone all the way to roll out a robotic vacuum cleaner, a down jacket, and even a pillow, even though smartphones continue to be their bread and butter business.
Existing Ultra HD Blu-ray players that are on the market happen to be based on borrowed-over solutions that use TV decoder chips with a computer, optical drive or UHD recorder chip which has been repurposed for use as a player. Oppo takes the route less traveled though. The Chinese firm has invested millions of dollars with MediaTek, and the result of this investment is a specialized UHD Blu-ray decoder SoC [System on Chip].
Oppo is not rolling out any other Ultra HD Blu-ray player, but rather, is the first off the blocks to introduce an Ultra HD Blu-ray player with such a powerful SoC underneath the hood. However, do take note that hardware alone is not going to cut the mustard, since it will need to work in perfection with the other parts. For instance, the picture quality, universal disc compatibility and responsiveness should also be taken into consideration by the end users.
The Oppo UDP-203 can be said to be built from the ground up, and it would be interesting to see how its name is going to fare in an established market with premium names such as Samsung, Sony and Panasonic long dominating the Blu-ray player market. The Oppo UDP-203 is large in size in comparison to the rest of the Ultra HD Blu-ray players available, so those living in shoebox apartments might want to avoid this.
Boasting of an aluminium front, it also comes with a steel cover and metal chassis that makes the entire shebang look and feel as though it is of premium quality -- and ready for action at any time of the day. There is also a custom-made '4K Loader' that comes with an optimized laser mechanism which will facilitate a faster disc loading experience. This mechanism will play nice with a wide range of disc types: SACD, AVCHD, CD, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray included.
It will also supports DLNA and SMB sharing over a network, playback from HDDs up to 16TB in size, and handles file types through the 32-bit DAC such as AVI, MKV, MOV, M2TS/TS, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DSD (256 and 128 up to 5.1 channels), Flac and WAV. Gold-plated connections ensure that audio quality will be enhanced as well, and other connectivity options comprise of 7.1-channel analog outputs, two USB ports, dual HDMI, RS-232, IR IN, and trigger in/out support.
Wil the expected $499 price point make the Oppo UDP-203 a viable alternative to your living room entertainment fixtures?