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

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


Examples of the Sharp's excellent detail handling is everywhere. The stubble and creases on Harrison Ford's craggy face, the tiny writing scrawled on Oxley's notes, the texture of clothing, the dust and leaves on the floor of the tomb - it's all conveyed with a pin-sharp crispness that almost makes it worth the price tag alone.

But there's so much more to admire about its hi-def pictures, particularly the image clarity during dark scenes. It helps when you're using a plasma screen as proficient with blacks and shadow detail as the 600A, but the Sharp gives it some strong source material to play with. The scene in which Jones and Mutt explore Orellana's tomb is an absolute master class - the shadows look truly deep and solid but the spider webs, skeletons and fine detail on the walls remain clearly defined at all times. It lends the image a depth and three-dimensionality that really suck you into the scene.

Colours look vibrant too, best demonstrated during bright outdoor bits like the (frankly ridiculous) jungle and waterfall scenes. It's topped off by fluid 24Hz motion, razor sharp edges and a lack of noise. We also tried some of the test patterns on the HQV Benchmark Blu-ray disc and the Sharp handles the Film Resolution Loss test (a panning shot of an empty stadium) with pleasing stability, and keeps jaggies to a minimum on the rotating bars pattern, but neither is reproduced with the same level of assurance as the Pioneer BDP-LX71.

Upscaled DVD playback isn't much better this time round, with Gladiator looking as scruffy and soft as it did on its predecessor. Some over sharpening is evident on edges, noise fills the skies over the battlefield and it struggles to suppress jaggies on diagonal lines. It also struggles with fine detail on test patterns.

In the audio department, the Sharp is at its best playing back Indiana Jones' Dolby True HD bitstream through a suitably equipped receiver, in this case the Onkyo TX-NR906. The high-resolution sound is clean, expansive and detailed, adding a great deal of drive and vitality to the films's big action scenes. Stereo CD playback through the analogue outs lacks sophistication but it's adequate for undemanding tastes.


Reviewing the BD-HP21H leaves us with a strong sense of déjà vu, as it shares all the same strengths and flaws of its predecessor except with BonusView support thrown into the mix. There are plenty of plus points, such as the excellent Blu-ray picture quality, the frustration-free operating system and the handy Quick Start mode, but the lack of BD Live, MP3/WMA/DivX support, DTS HD Master Audio decoding and poor DVD upscaling are its undoing once again. That said, at £150 online you might be willing to make a few sacrifices…

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 8
  • Value 8
  • Features 7
  • Design 7


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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