Sharp has released two 3D-capable Blu-ray players, the BD-HP80U ($429.99) and the BD-HP90U ($499.99). These two players have almost identical specs; both have very sleek form factors and can be wall-mounted, but the HP90U can be positioned horizontally or vertically (with a supplied stand) and adds an RS-232 port. We have not performed a hands-on review of the BD-HP80U, but here is an overview of its features. This Profile 2.0 player supports BD-Live Web functionality and BonusView/picture-in-picture playback, and it offers the full suite of high-resolution audio decoders. The BD-HP80U features built-in 802.11n for a wireless network connection, and the player supports access to Netflix, VUDU, and Pandora streaming. This player features Sharp's AQUOS Pure mode: When you connect the player to a Sharp AQUOS TV via HDMI, it automatically adjusts the image for optimal playback.
From a connection standpoint, the BD-HP80U is interesting because it has no analog outputs, on the video or audio end. The A/V connection panel consists of one HDMI output and one optical digital audio output. Sharp is obviously assuming that anyone who would purchase a 3D-capable Blu-ray player (which only works via HDMI) is not going to need component/composite video or stereo analog audio, and I think that's a safe assumption. The BD-HP80U also doesn't include the second HDMI output found on some 3D-capable models, which allows you to send the 3D video signal directly to your 3D-capable display via an HDMI 1.4 output and still send HDMI audio to your A/V receiver via HDMI 1.3 (so you don't have to upgrade to a 3D-compatible receiver). The BD-HP80U does not offer any advanced picture adjustments, like noise reduction, preset picture modes, etc. This player 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 BD-HP80U supports Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, CD audio, Divx HD, AVCHD, MP3, and JPEG. You can add the player to your home network using either the Ethernet port or the internal 802.11n wireless module. The BD-HP80U lacks internal memory to store BD-Live content; a front-panel USB port is provided for this purpose. This USB port also supports music, photo, and Divx playback. This player lacks the RS-232 port found on the step-up BD-HP90U; however, it does allow you to choose between a front- or top-panel remote control sensor, depending on how and where you position the player.Read about the high points and the low points of the BD-HP80U on Page 2.