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Sharp BD-HP10: Meet Sharp's bargain-basement Blu-ray player

With Blu-ray still licking its wounds from the Paramount/Dreamworks defection, the Sharp BD-HP10 should help them heal -- it offers a superb specification for a reasonably small amount of cash

One thing Blu-ray has always had in its favour is that there's more than one manufacturer making players. With HD DVD, if you aren't a fan of Toshiba, you're stuck -- at least for the time being. It's taken Sharp a while to announce its Blu-ray player but now it's here, we're very impressed indeed.

The best bit about the BD-HP10 is the price, which is a relatively bargain-basement £400. The second best bits are the fantastic features, which as you would expect include full 1080p playback, plus support for a whole bunch of DVD formats, covering most of the writable and re-writable variants. DVDs are also upscaled to 1080p, and there's support for photos too.

As you can imagine, there's HDMI out and the well-hyped 24p, the format designed to present movies as they were made to be seen.

What made us emit a little w00t of joy was the inclusion of analogue 7.1 outputs in addition to the digital optical and coaxial outputs. This means owners of older AV receivers can hook this player up with minimal effort and benefit from the fantastic uncompressed sound found on many Blu-ray discs.

There's one more bonus too -- if you buy a Sharp 1080p TV, you can get this player for a juicy £200. Now that really is a bargain. -Ian Morris