2016 was a statement year for 4K UHD Blu-ray. Disc sales outpaced industry expectations and early adopters were showered with a handful of first-gen player options. Initially pricy and questionably incomplete, we ended the year with five official 4K UHD Blu-ray player releases (with only one – OPPO’s UDP-203 – primed to handle the coming onslaught of Dolby Vision content). Of course, reveals at CES 2017 have changed the model landscape, and the field of 4K player models is beginning to look a bit more crowded (not to mention more competent).
As last year progressed, one of the biggest questions became OPPO’s planned release date for its highly anticipated 4K player. Curiosity intensified at CEDIA 2016 as OPPO quietly revealed a prototype unit to various members of the press. Rumors on the show floor were hot and heavy, and catching a glimpse of the unit was akin to seeing Sasquatch darting through the woods. It was secretive and, quite frankly, cool.
OPPO ultimately stuck to its guns and didn’t rush its player to market. The company, you see, understands the importance of its own sterling reputation as an industry leader; damaging goodwill by taking an incomplete product to market was never an option. They did manage to officially announce the player just before the Holidays. As it sits, OPPO’s UDP-203 ($549 through OPPO.com) is the best 4K UHD Blu-ray player money can currently buy. And true to the company’s desire to manufacture enthusiast-grade gear, the 203 is more than just a video player, it also doubles as a Hi-Res audio device.