Post by Terry del Fuego
Most people have probably never heard of them, but for the last 14
years Oppo Digital has been producing "universal disc" players, that
is, well-built, well-performing machines that will play CD, DVD (NTSC
and PAL), DVD-Audio, SACD and just about any other type of video or
audio that can be put on a disc or streamed from a home network. The
first players pre-dated HD-DVD and Blu-ray, but once the format war
was over Oppo added Blu-ray to their products.
From the beginning, the players were well-reviewed and well-received
by a particular type of nerd because they not only were extremely
versatile but also just plain genuinely *good* while remaining
relatively reasonably priced.
For whatever reason, they never sold them in retail stores, at least
not as far as I can tell. They were strictly mail-order, but they were
easy to get ahold of and had amazing customer support.
Yesterday they announced "it is time to say goodbye."
https://www.oppodigital.com/farewell.aspx. No explanation is given, so
I have to assume this is just more of the universal plot to prevent us
from having Nice Things.
I have an Oppo DV-980H DVD player that saw heavy use for several years
until the tray started sticking. It was the best DVD player I'd ever
owned, but it was time I upgraded to a Blu-ray player, so I wound up
with an Oppo BDP-95 that had the region-free mod installed.
The BDP-95, although long discontinued and succeeded by several newer
models in Oppo's lineup, is still going strong and built like a tank. I
would not necessarily call it "relatively reasonably priced", especially
with the region-free mod, but you get what you pay for and I have never
once regretted buying it.
In addition to the fact that streaming is "good enough" for most people,
I think Oppo was also affected by Blu-ray players becoming dirt-cheap
while theirs were still several hundred dollars and up. But those who've
owned them tend to be fiercely loyal customers with substantial physical
media collections, and you'd think the company would have been able to
continue to be profitable in the niche market they clearly dominated.
There's been some speculation as to whether Oppo Digital's Chinese
parent company forced their hand for other reasons (although Oppo
Digital, based in Silicon Valley, is nominally an independent subsidiary
run separately from the parent).
I don't have a 4K TV yet, but when the time came to purchase a new TV, I
had assumed I'd be eventually likewise upgrading to one of Oppo's 4K
players. I'm really bummed that it appears that will no longer be an