Copyright thedigitalcinema.info SMB 8/8/2001

OPPO UPD-203  REVIEW

By Scott Michael Bosco

     I have owned a Oppo BDP-103 for years and it has been a staple of my home theater.  It has preformed most admirably.  It even has even gone beyond its bounds by becoming a universal player – with an addition.  In all, I can’t complain.

     Now, finally after along suggested released we have the Oppo’s replacement and UHD player, the UDP-203.

     The long-anticipated player has a bevy of improvements and some interesting changes as well.

     First, there are no apps built into the player as there were with the BDP-103.  This  feature really can’t be missed since TVs are now smart and have their own place for apps.  Truthfully, in my case, apps on my XBOX are enough.

     The main reason I was personally wanting this machine is the lack of quality in other companies' UHD players.

     First there was the SAMSUNG UHD player.  An okay machine but built poorly.  It’s quality was “okay”, but as with other Blu-ray machines from the same company I found them to be very slow in response.  It also was ready to blow away if any breeze came into the living room.  It was extremely light and not made well – especially for the price it sold for.

     Next, there was the extremely eye friendly XBOX S.  An excellent game player that offered a UHD disc player – at an excellent price.  However, it sucks as a player.  To be fair Microsoft has now promised an update to make this player complete.  As of now it still can’t play Dolby Atmos or DTS X films.  It also has a confusing readout and settings platform.

     So, thank God for the Oppo.

     Upon receiving the unit I was very surprised how well it was packed. For the price they are asking, at least they know how to present a product.  That’s nice.

     Once the unit was unpacked and placed in its spot setting up was a breeze.  There are new screens for each of the settings; and the set-up screen over laps.

     The variable choices for color and screen detail a re great and can accommodate most TVs.  The control of color saturation, contrast, brightness, sharpness and the like are still a feature.  Nice because they allow to compensate for the same on discs, thus allowing setting on the TV to remain static.  This is a great feature since many have their TVs professionally calibrated.

     Some of the features have “auto” settings which can make things easier for the novice.

     There are more settings for sound and color - in how they will be presented; and the screen for internal decoding is there as well. 

     More options for screen resolution are given along with hz.

     Now more files are able to be accessed for lossless audio decoding, such as AIFF, WAV, ALAC, APE and FLAC.  Multiple discs files can be played as well - UHD Blu-ray, the UDP-203 supports regular Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, and audio CD.

     I did try a USB drive file (HD video) and it played fine with Dolby Atmos.

     Of course, being the Digital Cinema my main concern was how the player would deal with UHD discs, as well as regular Blu-rays.

     I reached for my personal copies of two UHD films I own, JUPITER ASCENDING and GODS OF EGYPT.

     Both loaded pretty fast… faster than the SAMSUNG and XBOX units.  The player has two settings, one is more economical the other, but I found either way it was still pretty quick.

     JUPITER ASCENDING wasn’t as jaw-dropping as I had hoped.  I did notice a brightness to computer read-outs and other light sources in the film.  The PQ was slightly more than the regular Blu-ray, not that much so.  Both the Blu and UHD are in ATMOS.

     GODS OF EGYPT was a bit sharper, and the color a bit more accurate. The over-all PQ was brighter with slightly more detail.  The sound was in DTS X,  the BD.

Both films played without glitches – no problem.

     Now, with regular BDs I was much more amazed.  The player has a built in up-scaler that raiser up PQ to UHD.  Of course, more can’t be actually added but the results are incredible.

     TVs have a built in up-scaler as well, but don’t compare with this unit.  Playing with the built in adjustment, color, brightness, sharpness brought out even more detail of what was there.

     Standard BDs became sharper, clearer, brighter and more colorful.  For me, this was a huge plus since I have so many BDs.  I noticed so much more detail too, it was amazing.

     Visually, the player is excellent and an improvement over the previous OPPO (BDP-103)

     Next tried audio CDs.  Amazingly, what it does visually for BDs is does for CDs.  The regular CDs I tested sounded clearer with more detail.  Separation too was improved, along with the noticeable auditable openness of recordings. The sound stage became more detailed, and there were at times more to be heard.

     The performance of the unit exceeded my expectations.

     The only minus I can think of is the remote.  It’s extremely similar to the one provided with the BDP-13, which to me isn’t an issue.  However OPPO has decided to allow the remote to light up upon movement.  That too isn’t really an issue, however it's a bit too sensitive.  I found it lighting up from the bass output while playing films and CDs.

     I have found the unit to be extremely sensitive in terms of playing DVDs and BDs.  If there is the slightest bit of dirt or other obstruction it will freeze while playing, or won’t load.  I’ve had to several times disconnect the AC cord to bring down the unit and re-set it back into operating mode.  This is the only downside. 

     If you’re looking for a great UHD player, or one to replace a BD player you won’t be disappointed with this unit.

     Any questions please contact me via this site, and visit the OPPO site at www.oppodigital.com