Electronic Design

HDTV And Blu-ray

I finally had the chance to try out real 1080p HDTV content when I got my hands on the Sharp Aquos LC52D64U HDTV — one of our Best of 2007 winners. Unfortunately, most live sources like cable and satellite only provide 1080i content so I turned to the latest generations of Blu-ray players from Sharp and Samsung to provide 1080p content. Sharp’s BD-HP20U and Samsung’s BD-P1400 both have HDMI outputs necessary for 1080p content, as well as component video output — though they only deliver 1080i via this link. S-Video and composite video outputs are provided but these tend to be used with older, standard-def televisions. Still, this provides an upgrade path but most buyers will likely be getting these players for hi-def TVs. I am relatively new to hi-def players so my collection of disks does not compare to the hundreds of DVDs I have. This will likely change, as the performance of both Blu-ray players is a step above DVDs as you might expect. Still, there have been rumblings about compatibility between Blu-ray disks and players. This is to be expected given the changes in the Blu-ray spec and phased delivery of players like these. In theory, upgrades should be easier given the standard Ethernet connection. Also keep in mind that the Blu-ray players do not support HD DVD disks, the competing hi-def disk standard. I will be checking out one of these players in the future. Unfortunately, vendors are taking sides and many movies are available only in one format or the other. Blu-ray and HD DVD players both support HDMI. HDMI provides not only a high-speed connection between devices but also a bi-directional one. All the other video links are unidirectional. This bi-directional link allows the Sharp HDTV and Blu-ray player to work out of the box from a single remote. Still, it pays to look at something like Logitech’s Harmony 1000 Universal Remote when you have lots of other devices. My stock includes a Pioneer laser disk/DVD player and a VHS/DVD combo unit, plus a component audio/video amplifier and another CD player. It takes at least fifteen minutes to explain my remote system to the uninitiated. No so with the Harmony 1000. HDMI connections are the wave of the future but immediate wholesale replacement of all my multimedia hardware is unlikely. Check out the individual reviews for each component via the links below. In a nutshell, the Aquos LC52D64U provides impressive video presentation with dark blacks and high contrast. It works best with 1080i or 1080p content and was a dream when used with the BD-HP20U and BD-P1400 Blu-ray players. Reviews Sharp Aquos LC52D64U Sharp BD-HP20U Blu-ray Samsung BD-P1400 Blu-ray Logitech Harmony 1000 Related Links Logitech Samsung Sharp

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