My Two Cents

Oppo Digital to Stop Making 4K Players & A/V Gear, plus celebrating 2001’s 50th & Steven Bochco RIP

April 3, 2018 - 2:04 pm   |   by
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All right, the big news today – which has come as quite a shock to A/V enthusiasts – is that Oppo Digital has announced that they’re no longer going to be making new hardware, including 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players and audiophile headphones and amps. The company will continue supporting existing hardware with firmware updates and technical support, as needed.

There’s no reason given on their official statement announcing the move (see this page on their website) beyond the following: “From now on, OPPO Digital will focus our main effort on organizing and ensuring long term support for the existing generation of products. As such, we will not have the resources to develop and release new generations of products.”

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means that if you want an Oppo 4K player, you’d better act fast while supplies last. Because in a few months they’ll be selling for big bucks on the secondary market. [Read on here...]

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Even though Oppo products have sold incredibly well to enthusiasts, they do carry a premium price over mainstream hardware offerings. Our sources report that the company simply couldn’t justify remaining in a business space with declining sales and revenue, as more and more consumers give up on physical media in favor of digital streaming and digital downloads. Unfortunately, even died-in-the-wool enthusiasts these days tend to be pickier about what they buy and when, preferring to bargain shop instead.

It’s also worth noting that Oppo Digital is owned by the same Chinese parent company as Oppo Electronics, which concentrates on smart phone manufacturing, a much more profitable space these days. The company’s R11 and A57 smartphones, in fact, are huge sellers in China and parts of Asia. So it would appear that the parent company has decided to focus on that business instead.

As a website that’s championed and celebrated physical media and home theater enthusiasm for more than twenty years now, this news is incredibly depressing to all of us here at The Digital Bits. We all use Oppo 4K players ourselves, as they offer a tremendous number of enthusiast convenience features (including backwards compatibility with a host of audio/video disc formats and digital file formats, and can be easily modded to all-region capability), and they just so happen to deliver fantastic A/V quality too. I’m also a big fan of their PM-1 and PM-3 audiophile headphones.

Honestly, it’s hard to see this as anything other than yet another sign of a physical media industry in decline. Are discs going away for good? No, not anytime soon. But as more and more consumers move to streaming, the disc-based experience is going to become the niche and not the norm. Enthusiasts need to stick together now more than ever, because there’s tough sleading coming in the years ahead.

In announcement news today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially set Peter Rabbit for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 5/1, with the Digital release due on 4/20. Extras will include the Flopsy Turvy mini movie and 2 featurettes (Shake Your Cotton-Tail Dance Along and Mischief in the Making). The 4K disc will feature Dolby Atmos audio.

Sony has also set Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman for release on Blu-ray and Digital on 5/22. It recently won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Scream Factory has revealed the extras coming on the It’s Alive Trilogy Blu-ray box set, due on 5/15. In addition to legacy content (including audio commentaries with Larry Cohen, trailers, TV spots, and stills galleries), you’ll get new 2K scans of the films, a new interview with special effects makeup designer Steve Neill, and 2 new featurettes (It’s Alive at the Nuart: The 40th Anniversary Screening and Cohen’s Alive: Looking Back at the It’s Alive Films).

Scream is also releasing A Breed Apart, Alien Predators, and The Curse of the Cat People on Blu-ray on 6/19.

Well Go USA will release the Chinese fantasy-actioner Once Upon a Time on Blu-ray on 5/1. The company is also releasing Paradox on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/8.

Mill Creek Entertainment has announced that its Charles Bronson 4-Movie Collection BD set will now street on 4/24. Adjust your plans accordingly.

Any Ancient Aliens fans? Lionsgate is releasing an Ancient Aliens: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD box set on 6/12, featuring 36 discs and 135 episodes for $99.98.

Lionsgate is also releasing National Lampoon’s Van Wilder on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/1, followed by Orange Is the New Black: Season Five on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital and Power: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD only all on 6/12.

Cinedigm is releasing Dear Dictator on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/24, starring Michael Caine and Katie Holmes.

Indiepix will release Indiepix Festival Favorites: Volume 5 on DVD only on 4/17, with the films Entre Nos, That Girl in Yellow Boots, and Jermal.

In other news today, AMC’s The Walking Dead: The Complete Eighth Season is now available for pre-order on Amazon (street data TBA). Also now available for Blu-ray pre-order on Amazon: Fox’s The X-Files: Season 11 (street date TBA), Warner’s The Last Ship: Season 4 (street date 6/5), Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty: Season 3 (from Warner on 5/15), and Universal’s 12 Monkeys: Season 3 (street date 4/20). Click on the title links provided to pre-order them on Amazon.com.

And on the 4K front, MGM’s Death Wish is also available for pre-order in Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD (street date TBA).

All right, one last news note today: We need to take a moment to acknowledge the passing Sunday of veteran TV producer Steven Bochco, creator of such landmark 80s and 90s series as Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law, Doogie Howser, MD, Murder in the First, Cop Rock, Over There, and many more. Bochco’s mark on the TV landscape is large indeed. He died of complications of leukemia at 74. You can read more on his life and career here at The New York Times.

Finally, be sure to check out Michael Coate’s epic and in-depth new History Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits, called Still the Ultimate Trip: Remembering “2001: A Space Odyssey” on its 50th Anniversary, which we posted yesterday afternoon. If you’re a fan of the film, it’s well worth your time, featuring a look back at the initial 70mm theatrical release, complete with details and contemporary review comments, as well as a new roundtable interview with film historians. Don’t miss it.

All right, that’s enough for now. Back tomorrow, hopefully with more upbeat news.

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

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