America is not the world*. OPPO Digital’s BDP-10x optical disc players are so much more than just that. The ‘Swiss Army Knife’-cliché-inducing 105D (US$1299) spins all manner of optical discs (SACD, DVD-A, Blu-Ray, CD), streams Pandora, handles USB- and S/PDIF-inputted D/A conversion by way of an ESS Sabre 9018 chip, drives portable-friendly headphones and, most recently, streams Netflix.
Of diminished price and audiophile appeal is the 103D (US$599) which forgoes its the flagship model’s stereo analogue outputs, headphone amplifier and runs with a Cirrus Logic DAC chip.
In taking a tour of the OPPO Digital factory in Dongguan, China earlier this year I witnessed first hand both models coming to life along a highly-structured production line. QC testing was especially impressive.
Spilling from OPPO Digital’s Stateside setup in Silicon Valley this week comes fresh firmware for both models. But there’s a temporary wrinkle…
The new firmware release is labelled BDP10X-79-0711B. The ‘BDP10x’ indicates compatibility with 103/D and 105/D editions, ’79’ is the version number, ‘0711’ is (presumably) the revision and the seemingly innocuous ‘B’ that brings up the rear indicates it’s a public beta. That is, it’s not ready for prime time, may contain bugs, users should not complain to OPPO Digital if their player exhibits odd behaviour, use at your own risk…yadda yadda.
On the other hand, everything might function as well as it did with non-beta firmware. For those playing at home, the current OFFICIAL firmware for 10x players, about which you can bitch and moan to OPPO Digital, has the equally catchy name of BDP10X-77-0827: version 77, revision 0827, no B = no beta.
Readers already reaching for a formatted USB stick from which to apply the .bin update – hold yer horses – I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that v79 firmware brings long-awaited Tidal (Hi-fi) streaming into play, control of which comes via OPPO Digital’s similarly new v4.0 MediaControl smartphone/tablet app. The iOS version is here. Android, here:
The bad news is that this newly announced beta firmware is compatible with US unit only; which explains why an audiophile pal across town is currently tearing his hair out trying (and failing) to get his Australian 105 to see the contents of a USB drive loaded with the 130Mb BIN file.
Just as each territory sees its players locked to a specific DVD/Blu-ray region, the firmware also varies. International versions are released after the base-level US version is completed. How many days? According to OPPO Digital’s Australian distributor Interdyn, “Anything from three to fourteen”. The lag could also be attributable to each territory’s varying streaming service supply. Down under and across the ditch, the lesser-known Quickflix must be tested.
Bug numbers dependent, the official release of firmware v79 could be anything from days to weeks away. OPPO Digital 10x users, you will have your Tidal streaming soon enough, just a little more patience is required.
US folk can grab themselves a dose of the new beta firmware here.
Lastly, we gotta ask: “Where are you, Qobuz?”
UPDATE 13th August: Australian 103/105 owners can now try their hand at installing a public beta of the Tidal-equipped firmware 79 from here.
*With apologies to Morrissey.