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Sharp ANPR1500H review: Sharp ANPR1500H

The Sharp ANPR1500H will hold up your TV, but DVD playback and music replay are just not good enough for us to recommend it.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
4 min read

Looking for a home cinema system and somewhere to plonk your TV? Sharp would like to think it has the answer for you with its ANPR1500H system. We've already seen a couple of attempts at an integrated sound system/entertainment unit, most notably in the Sony RHTG800, but have never been convinced of their virtues.

4.8

Sharp ANPR1500H

The Good

Can hold very big TVs. Movies sound OK. USB input.

The Bad

Cheap looking. Terrible DVD playback and upscaling. Poor music replay.

The Bottom Line

The Sharp ANPR1500H will hold up your TV, but DVD playback and music replay are just not good enough for us to recommend it.

Design
When you're shopping for an entertainment unit, some supports can cost AU$1,000 or more just by themselves — though we must say they're much better constructed than this one. The glass top looks OK, but the overall effect is quite cheap. Especially when the matte-black shelf doesn't match the black piano gloss of the rest of the unit. But what makes this unit look truly tacky is the stereo system itself. By default the unit comes set-up in "Demo" mode, which scrolls meaningless words up and across its blue LED screen. You can turn this off after checking the manual, but it makes the entire apparatus look like an AU$99 car stereo.

While the Sharp website says the TV will only accommodate a 52-inch TV up to 80kg, we had no problems with the size of the 60-inch Kuro. The bench comes pre-made, and folds up using hinged legs — placing the shelf in the middle stops the legs folding back in on themselves.

The remote is functional, but also highly annoying. Several functions need you to hold down one key while pressing another, and there are two Play buttons! One is for playing USB content and the other for DVDs. If you accidentally press the USB Play while watching a DVD it skips across to the USB input immediately. Epic fail! One Play button, please.

Features
The ANPR1500H is a 2.1 system, with two side-mounted subwoofers backing up the left and right channels. While there are numerous software surround simulators on-board, the unit is primarily stereo — unlike soundbar competitors like Philips and Yamaha which use various hardware-based systems for bouncing sound around your room.

The unit features a slot-loading DVD player, radio and a USB slot for playing back photos and music. One unusual thing about this last point is that while the DVD player can play back DivX the USB port can't — Sharp really missed a trick here. One of the most unusual selling points of this system, for an Australian audience at least, is the inclusion of two microphone inputs — for karaoke use.

For audio, the ANPR1500H features three analog stereo inputs, two optical inputs and a single coaxial digital input. Unfortunately, it doesn't include any video inputs — so you'll have to use your TV for video switching — but features a number of outputs including a single HDMI, SCART, composite, component and S-Video.

Performance
Making good sound is hard. And while Sharp has long shown it can churn out very good televisions with excellent on-board sound, it has yet to prove itself as a hi-fi manufacturer. The ANPR1500H does nothing to help with this. While it was good at holding up the television it wasn't particularly talented at anything else.

The problems started once we loaded the King Kong DVD into the tray and pressed the Go button. We were treated to one of the most cartoonish attempts at this movie we've ever seen. Faces looked painted on with poster paints and trees looked like they'd fallen out of a Monet painting. Checking the player's menu we found the problem — the DVD player is set to upscale to 720p by default, and it looks terrible. With it switched off the cartoonish look was gone, but edges were full of jaggies and any sense of image depth was completely missing. The picture seemed to only be able to concentrate on one part of the frame at once, usually a character in shot, and the rest was subjected to a strange blurring effect. However, we will say that there was no image "ringing" effects or MPEG noise, but we'll say that this contributed to the hyperactive blurring as well. As a result, this player performs worse than a budget DVD machine — and that's a tragedy for something costing over 10 times more. But at least on the audio side, dialogue was relatively clear, if not crisp, and "explodey bits" were particularly "explodey". We weren't impressed by any of the surround modes though — all tending towards thin than providing any sense of surround.

One down, but surely music fared better? This is a stereo system after all. Well, yes and no. CDs weren't treated to the best performance, and while Radiohead's Thom Yorke sounds particularly whiney at the best of times, the Sharp sounded like it was taking matters into its own hands and trying to drown him in a cup of tea. No need to panic though... As far as we can tell, Yorke is alive and well. But he still complains about robots.

Strangely, MP3s sounded much better. While the ANPR1500H was unable to decipher ID3 tags — instead coming out with incomprehensible titles like "18.VAC 19E~1.mp3" — it played them back admirably. Knotted Pines from the Dark Was The Night compilation had a good sense of dynamics and vocal "snap" — and was almost danceable!

Conclusion
If you couldn't tell from the rest of the review, we weren't particularly impressed by the Sharp ANPR1500H. The only thing it could really do to a high degree of proficiency was not fall down when you put a TV on top of it. While you may end up paying more for a separate TV stand and soundbar system, you'd get better results than investing in the Sharp.