In January of this year we wrote an article mentioning that Oppo’s only competition in the market – Marantz – had ceased manufacturing their CD/Blu-ray players. This left Oppo with a specific market-place all-to-themselves. Our lead comment was: ‘If you are in the market for a high-end universal player, there is no one that comes remotely close to the Oppo.’
Oppo has been one of those rare products that offers exception performance, at a price well below any competition yet with a build quality rarely seen these days and which has proven to be remarkably reliable. While it is essentially a Blu-ray player its CD performance is legendary with many stories of people ‘upgrading’ their $10k+ CD players to an Oppo (their most expensive player is $2,199).
So we were understandingly taken aback this week with the news that Oppo have decided to exit this market. Especially so given they only recently released two Ultra HD Blu-ray players, the UDP-203 and UDP-205 to much fanfare. A post on its website earlier this week Oppo stated: “As our latest 4K UHD players reach the pinnacle of their performance, it is time to say goodbye.”
You could almost hear the collective sigh of disappointment from disc enthusiasts everywhere.
At first impressions the decision could be interpreted as at odds with the level of commitment given to the UHD format by the major studios and technology partners. We presume Oppo’s decision is to concentrate all its firepower onto their considerable and ultimately more lucrative Asian based smart phone business with an eye on expanding into Europe.
Or perhaps as good as the UHD format is, they considered the future business case for physical disc players to be limited in the face of higher resolution streaming and faster ways to distribute it.
The good news is that the distributors for Oppo in Australia believe that they have enough stock to last for most of 2018, they have plenty of spare parts and the 2 year warranty is ongoing. Moreover, Oppo will continue to support existing products with in- and out-of-warranty service, and firmware updates will continue into the foreseeable future.
The bad news is that when the Oppo models do run out there is very little to offer as an alternative, at least not with their performance levels at their asking price. This is a brand that will be truly missed.
At this point Len Wallis Audio will continue to stock the UDP-203 and UDP-205 players but given these developments, it would be wise to get your orders in sooner rather than latter.