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Sharp BD-HP20U Review
1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
Now there's test pattern performance and real world performance. I'm more concerned about the real world. Though those artificial video stress tests, like the Synthetic Wedge, can be informative about how well a product can handle the toughest DVD scenes.
I ran the player through the same Anchor Bay Video Reference Series Evaluation and Optimization DVD with which I punished the OPPO DV-983H. As I expected, the Sharp didn't perform as well as the muscular OPPO.
For example, in the Source Adaptive Film Detail test of the race car zooming past the empty bleachers, the Sharp had a difficult time displaying those rows of seats without a moire pattern. I saw similar results in the Synthetic Wedge test.
You may be thinking, "I don't ever recall seeing a synthetic wedge in any of the DVD movies I watch." But to be fair, a shot of the camera panning across some high contrast venetian blinds could instigate a similar unsightly artifact, especially if it is a scene from a standard definition DVD.
For some people, this sort of visual anomaly is like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. For most of us, if we see it, it's too fleeting to be bothersome.
When it comes to playing back Blu-ray content, I found that the picture quality was exceptional. Our configuration matched the BD-HP20U with the Sharp AQUOS LC-52D64U 52" LCD HDTV. The pair handled all the Blu-ray DVDs with aplomb.
The raw sienna landscapes and the azure skies in 3:10 to Yuma were spectacular. The desolate New York cityscapes in I Am Legend were eerie. And the colorful curves of Radio City Music Hall in the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert were luscious.
I had no quibbles with the Blu-ray video performance. And with the audio setup here, I had no problem with the lack of DTS HD output. The Dolby TrueHD reproduction of Tim Reynolds' amazing guitar work set my ear drums aquiver.
The Sharp BD-HP20U is a first generation Blu-ray player that lacks all of the interactive features that you can find in new Profile 1.1 and 2.0 models. But if the only interaction you desire from your machine is for it to start when you hit Play, and Pause when the telephone rings, then this Sharp with its high quality Blu-ray performance may be the ticket.
Do I wish the price was less than $400? Yes. Maybe when the next generation of Sharp player hits the market, we will see this older model discounted to a price point that will convince some people to take the plunge into the HD waters of Blu-ray.