Here's one Profile 2.0 Blu-ray deck we're desperate to get our hands on. Why? Just look at the intriguing specs: not only does it play Blu-ray but also DVD-Audio, SACD, DVD and CD, and just like the Denon it uses Anchor Bay's award-winning VRS technology for video processing (including 1080p DVD upscaling). Then there's the list of supported media, which includes AVCHD and MKV alongside regulars like MP3, WMA and JPEG - all of which can be played back from the deck's two USB ports, one on the front, one on the back.
Topping off this mouth-watering list of features is 1GB of built-in memory - fast becoming a must-have Blu-ray feature - plus decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio with 7.1-channel analogue outs to pipe signals to your amp. In fact, the only thing OPPO seems to have neglected is Wi-Fi support, the lack of which has been BD Live's biggest obstacle to date.
OPPO is still tinkering with the European version of the BDP-83 but it should be available in August, and although there's obviously no word on UK pricing yet, OPPO's US website is selling it for $499.00, which works out at just over £300 at current exchange rates.
Like Denon with its DVD-1800BD, Onkyo failed to impress with its debut entry-level deck (the DV-BD606) which isn't surprising given that both players were essentially the same. So it's with great optimism that we turn our attention to the follow-up, which has a much tastier looking feature set.
The profile has been bumped up to BD Live of course, but equally interesting is the inclusion of DivX HD playback and AVCHD from SD card or DVD. It also outputs decoded Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio as LPCM from the HDMI output, but there are no analogue outputs, so an HDMI-equipped receiver is essential. And on that point, this player has been designed to match Onkyo's TX-SR707 and TX-NR807 receivers, and as such Onkyo plans to sell a range of attractively-priced player/receiver packages.
With a name that was born for all things high-definition, you'd think Sharp would have had a better track record in the Blu-ray market. But all it's had to show for itself thus far is a pair of lacklustre decks with limited features and so-so performance.
But with full BD Live support, a USB port and all the other key Blu-ray features this time round, things are looking better for the BD-HP22H. But the most appealing thing about it is the price - with an RRP of £200 it should be cheap as chips if you shop around online. Look out for a full review soon.