Not all Blu-ray players are built equal, and Oppo's have always been the crème de la crème. They're expensive, but promise the best possible image quality, as well as the best in analog audio output. The difference, especially if you've got a great TV, is noticeable. If you've invested in a 4K TV but been waiting to pick the right Ultra HD Blu-ray player, this is what you've been waiting for.
I've been using Oppo's previous BDP-103 regular Blu-ray player for a couple of years, and I love it. Its interface is simple, it's consistently quick to operate, and the picture that it can output is the best I've ever seen for 1080p. Combine that with a well-mastered Blu-ray disc and you have yourself the recipe for some buttery smooth, beautifully crisp and clean video. The brand new UDP-203 takes that formula and applies it to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
The Oppo UDP-203 supports 4K output at 3840x2160p over its HDMI 2.0 port, of course, and supports both HDR-10 high dynamic range and wide colour gamut video formats. Where the old BDP-103 had two video outputs over HDMI, the UDP-203 uses one HDMI 2.0 port exclusively for combined 4K video/audio output, and has a second HDMI 1.4 port for connecting an A/V receiver to output audio to a surround sound setup. A firmware update to support Dolby Vision is planned for early 2017, with the necessary Dolby-certified hardware already installed in the player.
Lossless high-resolution audio formats can be decoded by the UDP-203, too -- everything from Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio to newer DTS:X and Dolby Atmos is supported, as are DVD-Audio, SACD and regular audio CDs. The player also has integrated 802.11ac wi-fi and a Gigabit wired network port to connect to your home network and the 'net, as well as two USB 3.0 ports for downloaded media files. Like previous Oppo players, the UDP-203 is built from a heavy metal chassis and has each internal circuit board isolated from the next to reduce electrical interference.
The biggest departure from the previous model is that the UDP-203 won't have any streaming apps from Netflix or YouTube or Amazon when it launches, but instead has a HDMI 2.0 input port that any other streaming device like a games console could be connected to -- it would be easy to connect a 4K-compatible Google Chromecast Ultra to stream internet video, too. Oppo says the UDP-203 takes "a purist approach" for disc and file playback, with flexibility to change between different streaming devices in the future.
As with the previous BDP-1xx series, an upgraded UDP-205 with even better internal audio circuitry will be out in early 2017. But unless you have an extensive collection of lossless audio or SACD discs, you'll almost certainly be more than happy with the UDP-203, which goes on sale around Oppo's Aussie stockists for $949 as of today. We'll have a full review of the UDP-203 in the new year, so stay tuned. [Oppo Digital]