Sharp has announced a new Blu-ray player at CES 2008 which adds plenty of well-needed upgrades to the previous model. It won't revolutionise the set-top box industry, but it is worth closer inspection.

The Sharp BD-HP50U is the company's first player to support Blu-ray's Final Standard Profile 1.1 specification. According to Sharp, it's capable of the kind of features normally found on HD DVD players, like picture-in-picture commentary.

High-end features

The BD-HP50U can handle deep colours courtesy of its HDMI 1.3 support. And on the audio front, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD are available in 7.1-channel surround sound.

Intriguingly, the player has a feature called Lip Sync, which apparently cuts down on lag between the screen output and sound. Even better, the BD-HP50U performs its own 3:2 pull-down conversion to play 24fps on most HDTVs without the annoying visual effects typically witnessed on previous devices.

Sharp plans to release the player in May for $699 (£350), but is also considering a stripped-down version for a lower cost later this year.