Sharp Blu, Round Two

Sharp is showing off their second-generation Blu-ray player, the $700 BD-HP50U. This player supports BD-ROM Profile 1.1, which means that it has secondary audio and video decoders to exploit interactive BD features like the ability to watch a picture-in-picture commentary track while the film plays in the background. The player can output 1080p/24 or 1080p/60 through its HDMI 1.3 connection, but it lacks an Ethernet port. The booth rep said it does have onboard Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS HD decoding, and it will include 2- and 5.1-channel analog audio outputs; however, the press release was vague on this, and the booth samples didn't have real back panels. You definitely get AQUOS Link (HDMI-CEC) for intuitive control through an AQUOS LCD, plus RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system. The BD-HP50U will be available in May.