updated 04:30 pm EST, Tue January 8, 2008
Sharp BD-HP50U Blu-ray
To complement its brand new AQUOS HDTVs, Sharp at CES is also unveiling a new Blu-ray movie player. The BD-HP50U is the first player from Sharp to support Blu-ray's Final Standard Profile 1.1 spec and can handle features that were previously reserved for HD DVD or other very recent Blu-ray readers, such as picture-in-picture commentary. HDMI 1.3 also features heavily in the new reader, according to Sharp. Using the new output provides support for the standard's deep color (also known as x.v.Color) as well as the ability to output Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD in full 7.1-channel surround.
The Sharp player also adapts to less than ideal audio and video. A Lip Sync feature cuts down on lag between screen output and sound; the BD-HP50U also performs its own 3:2 pulldown conversion to play 24 frames-per-second on most HDTVs without the judder or other visual effects triggered by an unusual frame rate. Sharp hopes to ship the new player as its current high-end model in May for $699; the company is also contemplating releasing a lower-cost model as well as potential premium versions, though none of these are expected until late 2008 at the earliest.