New Sharp Blu-ray decks go Profile 2.0

Sharp BD-HP50U
Sharp's new Blu-ray players now support the Profile 2.0 standard

The key strength of Sharp's new BD-HP22U and BD-HP16U Aquos Blu-ray players is their support for Profile 2.0, aka BD-Live.

The BD-HP22U is the likely replacement for the £249 BD-HP21H model, which only supports Profile 1.1. Like the BD-HP21H, the new BD-HP22U supports 1080p, 24Hz frame rate conversion and version 1.3 of the HDMI standard.

So what else is new? For starters, a new Aquos Pure mode enables any Aquos TV (with the Aquos Link function) to recognise the BD-HP22U and to optimise the picture settings to take advantage of it.

Advanced audio decoding

The BD-HP22U also features better audio decoding than its predecessor – lossless surround-sound formats including Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital Plus are all supported.

Both players are compatible with BD-ROM/RE/R, DVD Video, DVD-RW/R, DVD+RW/R and audio CDs. They also feature a built-in JPEG viewer for watching photo slideshows.

In fact, the only real difference in the specifications of the two decks seems to be that the BD-HP22U features 2GB of USB memory. There's a $20 price gap to reflect this.

The BD-HP16U launches in March for $279.99 (£183), while the BD-HP22U will cost $299.99 (£197) and follows in May.