Despite its name, Sharp hasn't really been at the cutting edge of TV technology for a while now, but that changed somewhat today when the company announced the first LCD TVs with integrated Blu-ray players.
The imaginatively named Aquas BD series will be available in 52, 46, 42, 37 and 32in flavours, which covers pretty much all the bases. Although it might sound cool to have a Blu-ray player mounted inside a big screen TV, I think that it's the 32 and 37in units that are the most compelling. Although most people like the idea of a flat screen TV in their bedroom, they're unlikely to want to house a Blu-ray deck up there too. So the Aquas BD makes for the perfect bedroom TV that also lets you watch your Blu-ray collection while propped up in bed.
The Blu-ray drive is mounted in the right edge of the TV and is of the slot loading type to make loading and ejecting as simple as possible. Despite having an integrated Blu-ray player, these TVs still sport a healthy amount of connections with the 32 and 37in models boasting three HDMI ports and the larger screens offering four.
Of course all the models feature a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, along with support for 1080p 24Hz source material. The larger screens (42in and above) also feature 120Hz processing, a 10bit panel for Deep Colour compliance and dejudder technology to help keep smooth pans, well, smooth.
The 46 and 52in Aquos BD screens will be available in February, while the rest of the range will hit the shops later this month. Whether it's worth buying a TV with an integrated Blu-ray drive will depend on how much extra Sharp is planning to charge, and whether the integrated drive can produce results as good as a standalone player.