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Sharp rolls out two new Blu-ray players, but both are Profile 1.1

Sharp has announced two new Blu-ray players at CEDIA, but both are limited to Blu-ray Profile 1.1, instead of the newer Profile 2.0 standard.

Earlier this year, Sharp introduced the BD-HP20U, which was the company's first Blu-ray player and at the time offered the fastest load times of any standalone Blu-ray player, loading up discs in as little as six seconds. Sharp is now following up on its initial player with two new models--the BD-HP21U and BD-HP50U--which both offer the quick start feature and relatively low prices tags. Let's take a look at their key features:

Sharp BD-HP21U

Key features of the Sharp BD-HP21U:

  • Blu-ray Profile 1.1
  • Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Quick start option loads discs in 10 seconds
  • Deep Color support
  • Available now, with a list price of $350

Sharp BD-HP50U

Key features of the Sharp BD-HP50U:

  • RS-232 port
  • Bit stream output for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, but only onboard decoding for Dolby Digital Plus
  • Available now, with a list price of $450

Out of the two players, the BD-HP21U looks more attractive to us. We're disappointed that the player doesn't support Profile 2.0, but it does decode both high resolution soundtrack formats and the quick start option is nice--although with last year's BD-HP20U, it caused the player to consume more power. While custom installers might be attracted to the RS-232 port of the BD-HP50U, we were disappointed to see that it actually dropped onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and costs $100 more. Altogether, we think both players will face tough competition as Sony's BDP-S350 offers Profile 2.0 and a super small design for $400, and of course the PS3 is available for the same price.