NEWS: Sharp embraces BD and Full HD

Sharp has unveiled two new ranges of slim line LCD TVs alongside its first Blu-ray player (£399), a 2.1 home cinema system and an all-singing, all-dancing, multi-purpose AV rack. All the screens boast 1080p resolutions, including a world-first 1920 x 1080, 32in set.

After previews at IFA in Berlin, we've now seen all the products for the first time in the UK. First-up are the XL2 Aquos series, available in 42, 46 and 52in sizes. Sharp is particularly proud of the aesthetics of the new screens – and both the depth of the screen and the width of the frame are undeniably thin and easy on the eye.

All sets come with three HDMI inputs and support 100 Hz technology that should, on paper, eliminate any issues with fast motion. The TVs also claim a 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and offer 10bit signal processing.

Just for good measure they've thrown in SRS 'trusurround' speaker technology, built-in digital tuners, and universal remote controls. Prices range from £1599 – £2400.

One rung down the ladder are the five new TVs that form the X20 Aquos series. Staying with the 'thin' theme, these models are available in 32, 37, 42, 46 and 52in models. And yes, they're all 1920 x 1080 native resolution screens, including the 32in – the first 1080p screen at this size.

The range is similarly specified to the XL2s, minus the 10bit signal processor, universal remote controls and 100Hz technology. You do get 'de-juddering software' though, which hopefully does what it says on the tin. Prices start at £950 for the 32in.

Moving on to the Blu-ray player (pictured top), which we covered to a degree in our IFA Show reports. The BD-HP20S provides 1080p, 24fps video and supports the new audio codecs, thanks to the HDMI 1.3 input.

Elsewhere there are 7.1 analogue audio outputs, plus optical and coaxial digital outputs. And the best news? It's just £399. Look out for a review very soon.

Also new is the HT-DV40H home theatre system. It offers '2.1' sound, an HDMI output, DivX playback and 720p/1080i upscaling, and looks very nice in to the bargain. It's all yours for £350.

Last but not least is the intriguing AN-PR1000H rack system. It comes complete with a 300W, 2.1 speaker system built-in, and has a sleek piano black finish – could this solve your stand and surround sound dilemma in one fell swoop? We shall see...

All the products are either available now or out later this month, so look out for reviews in the magazine over the coming months.

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).