Sharp BD-HP21H Blu-ray Player - Sharp BD-HP21H

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


One of the highlights of the HP20H was the Quick Start mode, which thankfully is also included here. It dramatically slashes the amount of time it takes to load up a disc but uses a lot more power in standby than usual. Other features include DVD upscaling, support for DVD+RW/+R, DVD-RW/-R/-R DL discs, JPEG playback from CD-R/-RW, Aquos Link HDMI CEC, x.v.Colour support and 1080/24p output - but the lack of MP3, WMA and DivX playback is a crying shame.

The setup menu looks exactly the same as the one found on the HP20H, which is definitely a good thing. Blu-ray newcomers will feel immediately at home thanks to the large graphics, clear, legible text and helpful descriptions of what each option does. The menu covers every base imaginable, from HDMI resolution and audio output to software updates and Aquos Link settings.

One new addition to the menu, brought about by the upgrade from Profile 1.0 to 1.1, is the ability to turn secondary audio for BonusView discs on and off. But unlike most other players, the menu explains the various audio implications when the secondary audio is turned on (in this case, the HDMI output automatically outputs in PCM) and the audio options change accordingly.

Sharp has also revamped the HP20H's remote, getting rid of the flap at the bottom and condensing the buttons into a simple, intuitive layout. It features dedicated buttons to access the pop-up menu and change the HDMI resolution, plus there are separate buttons to control a Sharp TV.

The deck's Quick Start mode makes it ultra quick to boot up a disc. With this mode turned on, it takes on average 15 seconds to get from standby to the first menu, compared with one minute when Quick Start is turned off, making it well worth the extra electricity needed to use it. In other respects the deck is agreeable to use, sailing through pop-up menus and scanning though discs without excessive delays, plus the onscreen menus are easy to read.

It's also pleasing to discover that the BD-HP21H delivers superb picture quality with Blu-ray discs, comparing favourably with other similarly priced players on the market like the Samsung BD-P1500 and Panasonic DMP-BD35. We loaded up Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and were immediately blown away by the sharpness of the picture, which is the biggest and most satisfying advantage Blu-ray has over DVD. But watching a crisply transferred big budget film like this really rams the point home, particularly when playing it back on the incredible Pioneer KRP-600A plasma.


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?


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.


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.


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?


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.


January 4, 2015, 6:11 am

Tryed updated this player to play latest 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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