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Sharp Introduces Affordablish BD Player

Sharp introduced their first BD player for the US market, the not-unreasonably priced BD-HP20U ($549). The player boasts full 1080/24p output capability via its HDMI 1.3 output. The player also has component output if your high def set is old school.

Unlike virtually all BD players that precede it, Sharp claims an amazing 10 second from-insertion-to-menu startup. But a disclaimer in the press announcement states that the "time may vary depending on movie content, type of video connection, and type of monitor being used." Sorry, Pirates of the Caribbean fanboys.

The player will decode Dolby True HD internally and passes it on to the processor via HDMI, but it doesn't sound like it is capable of passing the encoded bitstream to your processor for it to decode. As for DTS-HD Master Audio, there is no mention in the press release at all, so let's assume it only decodes the DTS core.

But like the two Sony's coming out before October 31, 2007, the Sharp is also BD-ROM Profile 1 only. There is no onboard data storage, no Ethernet port for upgrading, so it can never support any of the Picture-in-Picture or BD-Live Interactivity features promised for the future.

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