While some hardware manufacturers are using CES 2008 to announce lower-priced Blu-ray players, Sharp is going in the completely opposite direction, unveiling its second-generation Blu-ray Disc player, which will release in May with a price tag of $699.
Sharp’s second-generation Blu-ray Disc player, the BD-HP50, will fall under the Aquos umbrella and be the company’s first Blu-ray player to feature Profile 1.1 support. Profile 1.1 is already supported in certain Panasonic Blu-ray players and through an update to Sony’s PlayStation 3.
The Sharp BD-HP50 will include HDMI 1.3 digital output, x.c.Color support, 24-frames-per-second playback, Lip Sync for automatically detecting and correcting display device sync issues, and the ability to decode Dolby Digital Plus. In addition, users will be able to pass 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD from the player to an audio/video receiver for decoding.
Aquos Link will also be available on the BD-HP50, enabling the player to work with other Aquos products that utilize Aquos Link. Whether this functionality justifies the BD-HP50’s $699 price tag, though, is questionable: the apparently comparable Panasonic is priced lower than $500.