4K Blu-ray players are still relatively new to the scene, with to date only a few options being available. First up was the highly-reviewed DMPUB900 from Panasonic, followed by the ’700, and also Samsung’s UBDK8500.
Microsoft also threw a spanner in the works by releasing the Xbox ONE S, which also had a UHD Blu-ray player onboard. The general consensus was this was very much a basic solution to 4K Blu-ray playback. For those of you who want something a little extra special, for those of you who want the best; the Oppo UDP203 could be the player for you.
First contact with the UDP203 is nothing short of luxury; from the overly impressive packaging, to the little bag that’s supplied with it (I’m not sure who is going to be carrying around their 4K Blu-ray player but it’s nice to have the option…)
Oppo have opted for a very clean aluminium finish on the front facia, with a pretty self explanatory user interface: skip, start, stop, open/close, on and off. There’s also a handy USB for external storage. I couldn’t really want much more.
Around the rear there’s plenty of connectivity. The machine features two HDMI outputs, one of which is HDMI 2.0 and offers 4K/60p, the second is HDMI 1.4 audio only, for compatibility with older AV receivers. It also has one HDMI input, to introduce a set-top box or games console for example, which is relatively new in the world of Blu-ray players.
There are two USB 3.0 inputs for any external devices you may have (supporting an external hard driveup to 16TB capacity) as well as an optical and coaxial digital output. To round it off there’s a 7.1 analogue output, for complete compatibility.
Straight out of the box the UDP203 has full 2D and 3D Blu-ray disc support as well as DVD and SACD.
The unit is ready to handle HDR10 out of the box, with Oppo promising Dolby Vision support in the future via a firmware upgrade – a fantastic feature, and one of the first to do this.
If that wasn’t quite enough, the UDP203 can also be used as a network streamer, pulling any media from your NAS drive or computer through your home network.
This isn’t just a one-trick pony. From an audio standpoint, the Oppo has full lossless, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, PCM, and WAV audio support, plus 2 channel DSD256 and multi-channel DSD64/128. This is all made possible via the incredibly high-quality 32bit DAC from AKM.
It comes as no surprise it also supports virtually all major audio surround codecs, such as DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby True HD, and object-based next generation formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
The UI (user interface) is a welcome sight; very plain & simple, and does exactly as it should and no more. There are no Smart features. However, given that nearly every single TV on the market today is Smart, this feature is not exactly missed.
First off I tested the 4K upscaling capabilities of the Oppo with a Full HD copy of the BFG. I connected the player to a Panasonic TX65DX902B TV to see what it could really do.
If I was blind-testing the set-up, I would have told you I was watching a 4K version of the movie. I would have quite happily sat though the whole movie none the wiser – it was utterly flawless. If the rest of my 1080p Blu-ray collection looks this good, then I’d be sold on that alone.
After that, I popped in a copy of the Revenant. I saw this in the cinema and was very impressed. The UDP203 brought the film to life with vibrant enthusiasm: It gave every scene an extra “pop” – the bark on the trees, fog on the water, every characteristic of the film was brought to life. This was something the Panasonic DMPUB900 was a little lacking, albeit I didn’t realise until I compared the two next to one another. Bearing in mind the Panasonic won Product of the Year at the most recent What Hi-Fi? Awards, this goes to show how impressive this 4K Blu-ray player really is.
If you’re serious about your movies & home cinema, and want nothing but the best, then this is without a shadow of doubt an absolute must for your system. From its ease-of-use, to its 4K upscaling and native content handling, this really impresses.
With next-generation premium technology, we really do recommend seeing it in action for yourself to see exactly what’s possible for your home entertainment. To organise an obligation-free demonstration please give your local store a call today!
Author – Garrett, Plymouth store