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Sharp SD-WH1000U Universal Blu-ray Player and Wireless Bridge Preview

Sharp SD-WH1000U Universal Player and Wireless Bridge

Sharp SD-WH1000U Universal Player and Wireless Bridge


  • Product Name: SD-WH1000U
  • Manufacturer: Sharp
  • Review Date: January 21, 2014 08:00
  • MSRP: $3999.99 (player and bridge); $599.99 (bridge only)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • WISA compliant (up to eight speakers for a full 7.1 system)
  • 24bit/96kHz wireless streaming
  • 1080p wireless streaming via WiHD Transmitter – included with purchase
  • SACD, DVD, and Blu-ray playback
  • 3 HDMI inputs, 2 outputs
  • Two USB ports
  • Two each Coaxial and Optical Digital Inputs (or one in and out of each type
  • Ethernet connection for streaming content
  • Stereo Balanced and RCA outputs for external amps


Remember SACD? Sharp does. They recently announced their new SD-WH1000U Universal player. Well, it is "universal" in that it plays CDs, DVDs, SACDs, and Blu-rays. Some might wonder where the DVD-A support is in something touted as universal. We suggest that for the $4000 price tag, HD DVD support should be included as well.

In all fairness, Sharp's SD-WH1000U is bringing something to the table that we haven't seen before - WiSA streaming. For those not familiar, WISA stands for Wireless Speaker and Audio Association. This group has been gaining members quickly and seeks to bring to market a new, higher quality, wireless streaming solution. Rather than relying on existing technology and its limitations, the WiSA group is looking to bring SACD-quality audio (24-bit/96kHz) and video (1080p) streaming. For many, this is something they've been dreaming of. By purchasing the SD-WH1000U, consumers will realize at least half of that dream. 

To start with, the SD-WH1000U is packaged with the VR-WR100U Wireless Bridge. The bridge is necessary for video streaming. Consumers that have other ways of streaming WiSA video (we don't think there are any yet) can buy the Bridge separately for $599. This, at least theoretically, takes the price of the SD-WH1000U down to $3400.

Not exactly reassuring.

The SD-WH1000U isn't without its features. It has three HDMI inputs and two outputs, two USB 3.0 inputs, two coaxial and optical digital ports (we're not sure if they are both inputs or if it is one in and one output of each type), and stereo balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA ports (probably outputs for a direct connection to an amp). The images on Sharp's website show the back of the SD-WH1000U but none of the ports are labeled so we are taking a few educated guesses here. It does all the decoding locally so it is, in effect, a receiver as well as a "universal" player, which is pretty convenient in such a small form factor.

What we don't have to guess at is the wireless streaming. The SD-WH1000U Universal player can be the hub of a WiSA-compliant system streaming 1080p video to the included Bridge and SACD-quality audio to up to eight speakers (for a full 7.1 system). Now, we did a little research and the only widely available WiSA-enabled speakers on the market are from Bang & Olufsen (Aperion Audio recently retired their WiSA speakers). Their speakers start at just under $4k a pair with a single WiSA sub costing nearly $3400. Not exactly inexpensive.

A quick check over at the WiSA blog shows more than a few partnerships with speaker manufacturers announced in the past few months. Most interestingly to us was the additions of Def Tech and Dali to the WiSA group. We have long been fans of these manufacturers and would love to see what they could come up with as a WiSA-enabled speaker. If you just can't wait, the Wireless Bridge (again, retailing for around $599) can be used to feed an amp that will feed a speaker (perhaps more than one though that would defeat the whole purpose of wireless streaming).


The SD-WH1000U also has an Ethernet port which Sharp promises will "bring a wealth of online and portable device options to the consumer." Since they didn't immediately mention Netflix, we going to assume that the Internet connection will be used primarily for streaming local content from connected computers and phones.

The Sharp SD-WH1000U has an ultra-rigid disc drive mechanism, dual-core insulated base system, expanded structure printed circuit board typology, custom-tuned enhanced stability capacitors, and a powerful yet efficient R-core transformer. All this, Sharp insists, will provide accurate reading and playback of SACD and DVDs as well as the "even more challenging" Blu-ray format.

We have to be honest, we didn't realize Blu-ray was more challenging. 

Both the new SD-WH1000U Universal player and VR-WR100U Wireless Bridge start shipping in the spring. Preorder yours now...or don't. They probably won't run out.

The question is, are you ready to nix the idea of using an AV Receiver at the heart of your home theater system in favor of this wireless Blu-ray player from Sharp?  Sharp is hoping that consumers are clamoring to simplify their home theater rack by offering a single solution to not only play all of your hard disc sources, but also to decode all of the HD audio formats and wireless transmit the signals to a wireless speaker system.


We see the appeal of WiSA devices - 1080p video and eight channels of SACD-quality audio streamed wirelessly? We're all for it. But at $4000 for a mostly universal player, we just can't get too excited about it. Add to that, the only WiSA speakers that we could find on the market are the incredibly expensive Bang & Olufsen offerings, and we don't know what we would do with a SD-WH1000U Universal player if someone gave one to us. We'll have to wait for the spring to see if more affordable speaker offerings come to market before we make our final judgement. We have to admit, however, that the form factor and the features seem like they'd be pretty nice if someone would release affordable speakers for it.

For more information, please visit www.sharpusa.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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