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.
• The BD-HP80U supports 3D playback, when mated with other 3D-capable components.
• The player supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• It has internal decoding and bitstream output of high-resolution audio sources.
• It supports BD-Live and BonusView.
• You can wirelessly connect the BD-HP80U to your network.
• The player offers access to Netflix, VUDU, and Pandora.
• The BD-HP80U has a stylish form factor and can \be mounted on the wall.
• This model doesn't include dual HDMI outputs to send separate signals to your 3D TV and A/V receiver.
• It also lacks analog A/V outputs, so it's not a good choice for someone who owns older A/V equipment.
• This player lacks onboard memory to store downloadable BD-Live content.
• You can't stream digital media from a PC or DLNA server,
• The BD-HP80U lacks an advanced control port like RS-232.
Competition and Comparison
Compare the Sharp BD-HP80U with its competition by reading the reviews for the Vizio VBR333, the Panasonic DMP-BDT350 and DMP-BDT100, the LG BX580, the Samsung BD-C6900 and BD-C7900, and the Sony BDP-S570. Learn more about 3D-capable Blu-ray players by visiting our Blu-ray Players section.
In its first 3D-capable Blu-ray player, Sharp includes worthwhile features like integrated WiFi, a sleek wall-mountable form factor, and a Web platform that includes Netflix, VUDU, and Pandora. However, the company has priced the BD-HP80U notably higher than similarly equipped models, and it lacks higher-end options like dual HDMI outputs and multichannel analog audio outputs. Still, if you're looking for a stylish mate for your new Sharp 3D TV, the BD-HP80U will deliver the essentials.