Oppo announces UDP-203 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player

Universal deck features custom chipset, teases future Dolby Vision support

Oppo has joined the Ultra HD Blu-ray player party with a debut model, the UDP-203, that will be available later this year tentatively priced at £599.

A full-width design, the machine also offers Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio playback, support for user-generated 4K content, and hi-res audio playback including multichannel DSD.

At the heart of the player is a new SoC (System on a Chip) jointly developed with silicon specialist MediaTek. Dubbed the OP8591, this quad-core chipset promises the 'most advanced image processing available.'

Intriguingly, the power of the new SoC means Oppo is confident enough to suggest that, as well as the HDR 10 standard employed by 4K Blu-ray, support for 'additional HDR formats is possibly forthcoming.'

'We are in talks with Dolby,' reveals Oppo Digital's technical officer James Soames, alluding to future Dolby Vision playback. 'The disc situation is fraught... the chipset is capable, but the player needs certification.'

Design-wise, the UDP-203 shares a similar style to Oppo's existing BDP-103D Blu-ray spinner. A brushed aluminium front panel, steel cover and metal chassis ensure a robust build – 'this is more solid than its UHD peers,' boasts Oppo – and a custom disc-loader promises fast, error-free playback.

Connections include dual HDMI outputs (one v2.0a for 4K video playout, the other v1.4 for a split-off audio signal) and a 7.1 analogue output stage for legacy equipment; an HDMI 2.0 input so external sources can be fed through the deck and make use of its AV processing; and three USB ports (one front-mounted). Ethernet and Wi-Fi are also onboard.

There are some feature omissions compared to previous Oppo hardware, however, such as the absence of Darbee's Visual Presence processing (Soames explained that the company hasn't finalised its 4K algorithm yet) and no access to video-on-demand platforms, although the latter is unlikely to bother 4K TV owners already given access to the likes of BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Video.

At the launch, Oppo also confirmed a step-up machine (likely called the UDP-205) is also on the roadmap, and could launch 'maybe this year, maybe next'. As with the previous BDP-105D, this should be a more audiophile-centric offering.