Sharp to Intro Blu-ray Player/Recorder

Sharp said it would introduce a Blu-ray Disc player with recording capabilities that will first be released in Japan next month. The BD-HP1 will permit transferring content from Sharp's Aquos HD set digital tuner or HD recorder to Blu-ray discs without loss of HD quality, the company said.

There is a catch, however: The connection required to capture HD content is restricted to the firm's Aquos models. The linkage works with iLink (IEEE 1394) connections on Sharp's LCD units.

Sharp says its new player-recorder will be able to record content directly from an Aquos LCD set to a BD-RE disc, which can hold up to 25 GB of content. That normally would suffice for movies or other HD content that runs not much more than two hours.

The new player is being viewed by some industry analysts as another in a series of HD-centric moves that are designed to better position Sharp to provide ancillary HD products such as personal video recorders. Like other Blu-ray products, the BD-HP1 will be relatively pricey, retailing for about $1,200 when it debuts in North America in late spring or early summer.