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Sharp Debuts Blu-ray 'Media Station' Trio

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — Sharp Electronics (booth 10916) will use
International CES to announce a trio of enhanced Blu-ray
Disc players that the company has renamed “media stations”
to play up their advanced connectivity benefits.

“We are on a mission to recreate the Blu-ray player for
the customer to increase their experience with componentry
that they already possess and to add to the value of the
Blu-ray player,” said Bob Pleyer, Sharp Blu-ray senior marketing
manager. “We are trying to do something more than
just add connected services.”

The company’s Aquos Blu-ray media stations for 2012
will all be 3D compatible, and include Aquos Pure Mode
circuitry that automatically detects when a compatible
Sharp Aquos TV is connected and makes color, clarity and
contrast adjustments to optimize the picture for that TV
model’s screen.

Another common feature is Sharp’s Super Picture mode
for 1080p up-conversion that works on both DVDs and
streaming video content.

Sharp is also expanding its assortment of service partners
to include Tera TV Spanish language programming.
This joins the stable of YouTube, HuluPlus, Netflix, CinemaNow,
Vudu and other apps for key services, including
Facebook.

The players and many of Sharp’s 2012 TVs will also have
a new graphical user interface called Smart Central, which
provides an easier way to navigate through connected
services and through other content available through the
DLNA complaint devices on the in-home network.

This year’s stepup players will include DLNA connectivity
and software from Twonky that enables computer and mobile
applications to easily play personal and online music,
photos and videos between connected PCs, TVs, stereos and other devices.

Every model in 2012 will have front and rear USB
ports and will accept USB-connected hard drives for
add-on storage.

This takes on additional functionality, considering
that in 2012 a number of studios will start making digital
downloads of purchased movies available through
the new UltraViolet initiative and other systems.

The entry BDAMS10U is billed as a Wi-Fi-ready
Blu-ray player, requiring an optional Wi-Fi USB dongle
to connect with a Wi-Fi network.

The step-up BDAMS20U ships with a USB Wi-Fi
dongle in the box, and includes the Mobile HD Link
(MHDL) that lets users connect iOS and Android
phones and tablets to the TV to view content available
through the phone on the living room big screen.

The top-of-the-line BDAMS30U, which will ship
late in the second quarter, adds to the BDAMS20U
feature package an uncompressed 60GHz wave
length wireless HDMI output solution, which will enable
a wireless connection between the TV and the
media station. The player will ship with a wireless
HDMI receiver that connects to the one of the TV’s
HDMI inputs to complete the connection.

Sharp could not disclose which wireless HDMI
format the system will use at this time or if it will sell
additional HDMI receivers as an option.

The BDAMS10 and BDAMS20 will ship in the
March/April time frame. Pricing on all three Aquos
Blu-ray media stations will be announced later.

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