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Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player review

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Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player
  • Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player
  • Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player
  • Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player
  • Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player
  • Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player
  • Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player
  • BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player (Profile 1.1, 1080p Upconversion)

Summary

Our Score:

8

The BD-HP21H is the successor to Sharp's debut Blu-ray deck, the BD-HP20H - a generally impressive player that was hampered by its Profile 1.0 spec, limited format support and lacklustre DVD playback. Here's hoping the follow up shows some signs of improvement.

It gets off to a good start with news that Sharp has upgraded the BD-HP21H's spec to Profile 1.1, enabling you to enjoy BonusView features like picture-in-picture commentaries. But with so much BD Live content now available, and several Profile 2.0 players on the market for a similar price, it already makes the Sharp feel a little outdated. This is definitely a player for those who want to watch hi-def movies but aren't fussed about interactive extras.

Like the HP20H, the HP21H also decodes Dolby True HD and Dolby Digital Plus into high-resolution PCM. Not only does this allow people with HDMI-equipped receivers without HD audio decoding to enjoy these formats' higher sound quality, but it also lets the player mix the primary and secondary audio tracks on BonusView discs. As for DTS HD Master Audio and High Resolution Audio, they can both be transferred in bitstream form to an external receiver, but with PCM output selected, it only outputs the 5.1 core at 48kHz.

On the outside the player looks similar to the HP20H but does away with the unfashionable mirrored fascia in favour of a simple black finish, which is a wise move in our opinion. The front panel is plain and uncluttered, sporting only two buttons and a blue ring that can be turned off in the setup menu. It's certainly not the most attractive Blu-ray deck out there but far from offensive.

On the rear panel, Sharp has jettisoned many of the sockets found on the HP20H in a clear cost-cutting exercise. Gone are the 5.1-channel analogue outputs found on the HP20H, which rules out the possibility of listening to HD audio on legacy amps without HDMI inputs. Also missing are the S-video and coaxial digital audio outputs, neither of which is essential but it limits your options nonetheless.

You will however find HDMI (v1.3), component, composite, stereo audio and optical digital audio outputs, as well as a USB port which is used for service updates and to provide storage for Virtual Package content found on some BonusView discs. There's no Ethernet port though, ruling out any chance of an upgrade to Profile 2.0.

jopey

November 28, 2008, 3:27 am

"That said, at 𧵎 online you might be willing to make a few sacrifices… "





Well as you've said there are 2.0 profile players for the same price... the Sony one has excellent DVD upscaling. So... why exactly has this gotten 8/10 and why on earth would you want to live with those "sacrifices"?

Andy Vandervell

November 28, 2008, 3:31 am

Which Sony one is that Jopey?

jopey

November 28, 2008, 3:42 am

Sony BDPS350, I think it's currently 𧵘ish at amazon.

Danny P

November 28, 2008, 3:44 pm

I almost went with 7/10, but I just felt that its hi-def picture quality earned it 8/10 overall... and not everyone's interested in BD Live. I was in a generous mood, what can I say.

jopey

November 29, 2008, 12:08 am

The 8/10 HD picture compared to other blu-ray players..? or compared to DVD players? The review sounds like you were just comparing blu-ray to DVD.

Danny P

November 29, 2008, 4:03 pm

I wasn't really comparing its picture with DVD all the way through, just made one comment about how much better it is than DVD. The picture quality compares very well with other players like the Samsung 1500 and Panasonic BD35, although it's not quite as sharp and pristine as the latter, and it's nowhere near as good as the Pioneer BDP-LX71.

jopey

November 29, 2008, 6:49 pm

The Sony BDPS350 is now 𧵇.50 in asda... with Wall-E, Hancock, Mama Mia in the box and Batman Begins and Casino Royale by post.


You would be criminally stupid to buy this Sharp at the moment. In relative terms it should have a score of 1/10 :P

Danny P

December 2, 2008, 9:41 pm

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't buy one. But another player costing less doesn't necessarily make this one a bad hi-def player.

dan mac

January 1, 2009, 6:09 pm

this dvd player was on demo in richer sounds and the picture and sound where both superb, i have an hd dvd and its a fine format...but blue ray seems work in progress...i mean anyone buying a blue ray player...who does not have a computer/internet connection...will have constant problems playing new titles regardless of player... i will buy this player on the basis of the sound and picture and its only 𧴹.99 but the fact is everyone will need to replace there players once the format has finished evolving...we are being ripped off buying an under developed product

Chris E

January 5, 2009, 6:09 pm

Ok so it ain't perfect but, if there was an offer where this player was thrown in with a TV would you turn your nose up at it?

JimmyJimmy

January 20, 2009, 2:48 am

Just got one as part of a deal with a TV. Pleased with the TV and have it connected to a PS3. The player is still in its unopened box. At the moment the only reason I have to get it out of the box is the low power standby and the link to the TV alowing one remote.....could be Ebay.

mick chambers

March 5, 2012, 3:43 pm

Don't touch it. OK I haven't used it a lot as I have a basic DVD player that I use. Must have used it for Blu Ray about 6 times and after 13 months it will only play ordinary DVD's. won't recognise Blu ray Discs. never again.

andy

January 4, 2015, 6:11 am

Tryed updated this player to play latest movies.download firmware,compressed the firmware did everything come home try the USB did'nt work.I've got the right USB.having trouble updated my player.any suggestions..

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