The newest addition to Sharp's Blu-ray lineup falls at the top of the company's line, price-wise, but still costs under $300. We have not performed a hands-on review of the BD-HP52U, but here is an overview of the player's features. This Profile 2.0 player player supports BonusView/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality, and it features bitstream output and onboard decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. At the time of this writing (December 2009), the BD-HP52U does not include access to video-on-demand streaming; however, Sharp plans to release a firmware update that will add Netflix's VOD service. That release is currently scheduled for January 2010.
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In terms of video outputs, you get HDMI, component video, and composite video (no S-video). This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI. The BD-HP52U includes Sharp's AQUOS Pure mode; when you connect the player to a Sharp AQUOS TV via HDMI, it automatically adjusts the image's color base to best suit the TV and switches the TV to the Dot by Dot aspect ratio (for zero overscan). Audio outputs include HDMI, optical digital (no coaxial), and stereo analog. As I mentioned, the BD-HP52U has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI.
The BD-HP52U's disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, MP3, and JPEG playback. The back panel features an Ethernet port for access to BD-Live Web content; this player does not have built-in wireless network connectivity. The BD-HP52U lacks internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; a back-panel USB port is provided for this purpose. The USB port also supports MP3/JPEG playback. The BD-HP52U includes an RS-232 port for integration into an advanced control system.
Read about the high points and the low points of the Sharp BD-HP52U on Page 2.