Blu-ray has gotten a lot of flak regarding its trio of profile specifications--making it confusing for buyers who just want a fully functional Blu-ray player. Well, CES 2008 should mostly end the confusion, as all the new Blu-ray players are are Profile 1.1 compliant, meaning they'll be able to play "picture-in-picture" commentary tracks available on some new Blu-ray discs in 2008.
Sharp has announced one of these new Profile 1.1 players, the BD-HP50U. This is the follow-up to Sharp's first Blu-ray effort, the BD-HP20U, which broke some ground by offering extremely fast load times. The BD-HP50U also offers the same fast loading times, plus it also has 1080p output at 24 frames per second. The press release is somewhat vague about its audio capabilities and it's not clear whether it has onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio or just the ability to output the soundtracks in bitstream format (we will update this post when we have more information). Rounding out the feature set is an RS-232 port, which will be helpful to those with a home automation system.
The BD-HP50U will be available in May with a list price $700. Even with Blu-ray gaining some momentum in the format war, we're betting $700 is just too much money for buyers to get into the Blu-ray game.