Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X

This Sharp Blu-ray player delivers great picture quality but is somewhat overpriced.

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Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X
  • Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X
  • Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X
  • Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent DVD upscaling, good picture quality, 1080p/24Hz capable

Cons

  • Cost, no BD-Live, USB port cannot be used for playing media

Bottom Line

While the Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X is great at upscaling DVDs, its lack of BD-Live capabilities is hard to ignore given its price point.

Would you buy this?

The Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X Blu-ray player provides fantastic picture quality, but its lack of BD-Live support and relatively high price are hard to ignore.

It is an attractive Blu-ray player with a mechanised face-plate and a stylish piano-black body. Two circular lights indicate if a Blu-ray disc or DVD is being played; they be switched off using the remote control.

Sharp's marketing claims a function called "Quick Start" can get a Blu-ray disc playing in 10 seconds. We found this time to be generally accurate, but it only works with a previously played disc that is sitting in the drive already, and it uses more power than standby mode. The regular start-up time is only 25 seconds, so Quick Start is something of a gimmick.

Far more impressive is the picture quality produced when upscaling DVDs. We tested a number of DVD movies including The Matrix, Army of Darkness and V for Vendetta, and found that all of them came out brilliantly on our 55in LCD test panel. Image clarity was surprisingly good, while motion was displayed without any jaggedness or artefacts. In fact, we think the Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X is as good as the very expensive Sony BDP-S5000ES Blu-ray player when it comes to upscaling DVDs.

Blu-ray movies were displayed with realism and sharp detail. The Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X supports 1080p resolution and 24Hz output (to match the frame rate used by movie cameras), which is important to enthusiasts looking to build a good home theatre system.

The Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X doesn't have an Ethernet port and therefore does not support BD-Live (Blu-ray Profile 2.0), unlike some recent entry-level Blu-ray players such as the LG BD300 and the Samsung BD-P1500.

BD-Live is a feature that allows you to connect a Blu-ray player to the Internet using an Ethernet port. You can then access extra content and features when you are using a BD-Live disc.

The Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X has a USB port, but it doesn't support playing media from a USB drive. It is designed for storing Blu-ray movie user preferences and data, as well as firmware updates.

Unlike the similarly priced Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray player, the Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X lacks 7.1-channel analog outputs, relying instead on an HDMI 1.3 port for 7.1-channel sound. The digital audio optical port at the rear can handle 5.1-channel sound, and a digital audio coaxial port is provided as well. Component and S-Video out ports are present, as is an analog/stereo RCA connection.

The Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X can handle a variety of audio formats including Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Advanced Digital Out.

The bottom line is that while the Sharp AQUOS BDHP50X provides excellent picture quality, the lack of BD-Live capabilities at this price point is very disappointing.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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