Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
Even though I was doing reviews of home entertainment products back when DVD players prices were plummeting, I am flabbergasted by how quickly the prices of the next-generation players have fallen. HD DVD still holds the edge on this front, but nibbling at its heels is the Sharp Aquos BD-HP20X Blu-ray player, priced at just $749.
Given the price, I was expecting a very basic player, and perhaps one that might even have operational difficulties. But that was not the case at all.
The first thing I look for in a high definition disc player is the ability of the unit to deliver the video at 24 frames per second in addition to the more common 60 fps. Those that can do this deliver a smoother, more film-like result, with compatible projectors, LCD and plasma displays. And, yes, this unit can do just that.
Also, it includes a decoder for Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus, two of the new audio formats for Blu-ray, but not DTS-HD. The decoded signal can be output via either the 5.1 channel analog outputs, or in the form of CD-quality multichannel PCM over HDMI if you have a suitable receiver.
A feature unique to this player is its Quick Start operation. This allows the player to come out of standby mode… well, quickly!
Unlike some of the other Blu-ray players which offer 24 frames output (called 1080p24), this unit requires the resolution to be specified in the setup menu. In fact, you set it to ‘Auto’. This causes only movies to be output at 1080p24, while any standard definition extras are upscaled to 1080p at the more common 60 frames per second (many such extras would look dreadful at 24 fps).