Sony announced at CES 2019 a pair or advanced sound bars, including a single-piece HT-X8500 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X-enabled model with built-in subwoofers, and the HT-S350.

The company also revealed its next generation 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player model UBP-X800M2 adding a robust complement of features including universal disc compatiblity (with both multi-channel SACD and DVD-Audio support) and advanced cinema-quality home theater image and sound reproduction.

The Sony HT-X8500 is billed as “the first Dolby Atmos sound bar with dual built-in subwoofers” and 3D cinematic surround sound capability. The 2.1-channel Dolby Atmos/DTS:X soundbar provides high-quality audio and a slim and modern design.

The sound bar includes Sony’s Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technologies, including Vertical Surround Engine. It will present up to a 7.1.2-channel surround experience in virtually any room configuration, the company said.

Other features include seven sound modes to enhance the specific content being played with Cinema Mode optimized for movies or Game Mode optimized for video gameplay. The sound bar also provides vocal enhancement to boost audio frequencies and isolate voices from background noise.

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The X8500 has one-cable HDMI eARC support for the latest high-quality sound formats for compatible televisions. Bluetooth wireless connectivity enables the X8500 be easily connected to a supporting TV, or to stream music from a smartphone with a clean, simple wireless set-up, Sony said. The built-in dual subwoofers offer clear punchy bass.

The new Sony HT-S350 sound bar offers 320 watts of high-power immersive surround sound with deep, bass supplied by a separate wireless subwoofer. The unit incorporates Sony’s enhanced S-Force PRO Front Surround technology, which works together with 5.1-channel decoding to provide a wide and enveloping soundstage. The HT-S350 has an HDMI ARC port and Bluetooth connectivity.

Sony said both models offer sleek and stylish designs featuring punched metal grills, side-mounted subwoofer ducts on the X8500, and a matching outboard subwoofer with a large duct on the S350.

The Sony UBP-X800M2 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player supports 4K Ultra HD playback with support for HDR profiles including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). The player will upscale lower resolution content to 4K for use with 4K TVs with weaker upconversion systems.

For audio, the X800M2 supports a range of Hi-Res Audio and DSD music file formats, and will pass through the latest object-based audio formats (Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) for decoding by a supporting external decoder, preamp or AVR. In addition, the X8500M2 will play a wide range of music and video disc formats inlcuding both multi-channel SACD and DVD-Audio discs. The player will also access popular streaming services including Netflix and YouTube with Ultra HD supported.

Sony said availability and pricing for both sound bars and the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player this spring.


By Greg Tarr


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