Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Sneak Peek

Executive Overview

At the CEDIA 2016 Expo, Oppo gave us an exclusive look at their new UDP-203 Ultra HD Universal Blu-ray player.  At first glance it has a similar look to their BDP-103, but perhaps a bit more refined and with an essential feature videophiles have been waiting for; the ability to play native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray content.  In fact, Oppo says the UPD-203 will support the HDR 10 standard employed by 4K Blu-ray with likely additional HDR formats supported.  USB 3.0 is on board for up to 5 Gbit/s (10X the speed of USB 2.0) to stream HD video content with ease. Of course “Universal” is in the product nomenclature of this player because Oppo supports multi-channel DVD-A and SACD just like its predecessors did.


For SD content, unlike the BDP-103/105, there will be no external upconverting chip in the UDP-203.  Instead Oppo actually wrote the firmware themselves and co-developed the main decoder chip (OP8591) with MediaTek. It’s a quad-core chipset promising the most advanced image processing available.  Thus, you can expect the best upconverting of SD content just like you’ve come to experience with the venerable BDP-103/105 Blu-ray players.

 Just like the BDP-103/5, there are dual HDMI connectors on the UDP-203; one supports V2.0a for 4K video, and the other is for split off for audio to an AV receiver in case you want to run native DSD for the SACD format.  The UDP-203 offers Toslink, Coax, and 7.1 analog audio outputs for legacy support. Ethernet is on board in case you don’t want to use Wi-Fi.  Incidentally, Wi-Fi is built into this new player so there is no need for an external dongle like its predecessors. Three USB ports (one being front-mounted), RS232 for control, trigger in/out are also included.  There is a detachable 3-prong power receptacle for those that desire to use an esoteric cable in the false hopes of improved fidelity, or at the very minimum serve as audio jewelry to dress up their system.

As of yet, Darbee is NOT a feature offered on the new UDP-203 since the 4k Darbee algorithm hasn’t been finalized.  On-demand and app services such as Netflix, Vudu, Amazon, and Pandora will not be supported upon initial release of the player. Oppo’s main concern is making sure the UDP-203 is speedy.  They want to ensure fast load and read times and not have any other processes slow this down.  Slow disc reading is a complaint often associated with other first generation Ultra HD Blu-ray players, something Oppo wants to avoid.

Availability is estimated by end of 2016 with no firm date as Oppo stated that they want to get the player right upon first release.  Plans are in the works for an audiophile version called the UDP-205 for those that desire upscale analog audio support. Pricing is targeted at $499 for the UDP-203 and around $1,199 for the UDP-205. Stay tuned for more details…