It seems to be Blu-ray barmy in Berlin, as Sharp takes its turn to join the party with the official announcement of its long-awaited BD-HP20S player, set for release later this year.

Everyone seems to be getting the picture in terms of technical specifications, so there’s no obvious hole in this machine’s armoury. It’s of course 1080p-capable, and it’s also happy delivering video at 24fps.

There’s an HDMI 1.3 connection on board, allowing the ‘HP20 to deal with HD audio and the highest resolution video content.

Interestingly enough, Sharp is eager to point out its ‘quick start’ feature, which it claims will put an end to the uncomfortable silences that currently greet any Blu-ray deck’s attempts to load a disc. This feature “will read the disc within seconds” we’re told…

No word on pricing yet, but we expect it to come in at the budget end of the market alongside the new entry-level Sony, the BDP-S300, at around £400.

More after the break