Today, Oppo Digital announced it will gradually stop manufacturing products. I thought it might be a cruel April Fools joke, but the announcement appeared on April 2 as a splash screen on the home page of its website, so it seems genuine—and genuinely sad.
As most AVS Forum members know, Oppo made disc players that set the standard, from DVD players through Blu-ray players and finally UHD Blu-ray players. In all cases, these devices could play virtually any and all optical discs that were available at the time, including CD, SACD, and DVD-Audio—a strong feature for many enthusiasts, including me. More recently, the company started making planar-magnetic headphones, which have also been very well-received, and even a wireless whole-home speaker system.
In addition, Oppo has been among the very best companies when it comes to customer support. If a problem was discovered—say, an incompatibility with other devices—Oppo would quickly develop and release a firmware update to correct the issue.
Speaking of customer support, the announcement states that “existing products will continue to be supported, warranties will still be valid, and in-warranty and out-of-warranty service will still be available.” Even better, “Firmware will continue to be maintained and updates released from time to time.”
I have to wonder if this is an indication that physical discs are truly on their last legs in the face of streaming? I certainly hope not, since discs provide the best audio and video quality of any medium available to consumers. But the convenience of streaming could well overcome the quality of discs in the mass market, leaving enthusiasts like us without a choice.
A sad day…
For the entire announcement, click here.
UPDATE: I emailed Oppo with some questions about this announcement; here are the responses I received.
Q: Why is Oppo terminating its product manufacturing?
A: The revenue from sales cannot offset the cost of developing players and maintaining a production facility.
Q: The announcement says Oppo will “gradually” stop making products. How gradually?
A: We are in the process of manufacturing our last batch of products. If there is no change to delay or speed up the production, we expect the last product to come out of the factory in June.
Q: When production stops, will you continue to sell products in your inventory? How long do you anticipate that might last?
A: Yes, we will continue to sell products in our inventory. It is hard to predict how long that might last; based on the previous rate, it may last 2-3 months. However, demand may slow down given the announcement, or perhaps people will want to get products while they can and the inventory will be sold out quickly.
Q: What will happen to the company in the long term? Will it change its focus in some way, or will it stay open long enough to support its products for some period of time? Are we talking months or years?
A: The company will transition from product development to product support. We are committed to supporting the products for as long as we can. For those who just purchased one of our products or will purchase them, we will honor the 2-year manufacturer’s warranty, so we are talking about years rather than months. This is also why we made the announcement now, so customers can make an informed decision regarding future purchases, and we can plan to have the proper resources to support the customers and products.
Q: Regarding the UDP-203 and 205 UHD Blu-ray players, have you released a firmware update that addresses the Sony implementation of Dolby Vision in its TVs? If you haven’t issued that update, do you expect to? If so, when?
A: We have firmware that supports Sony’s implementation of Dolby Vision in its TVs. The firmware is undergoing testing by Dolby right now. We hope to make it available to customers as soon as the test concludes that there is no problem with existing Dolby Vision-capable TVs as well as Sony TVs.
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