Sony just added a new mid-range soundbar to its lineup with the HT-G700, a $600 model with 3.1-channel audio, virtualized support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D sound, and eARC connectivity. Too bad about the lack of Wi-Fi, though.
On sale now, Sony’s 400-watt HT-G700Remove non-product link comes with three oval-shaped “racetrack” drivers in its main soundbar unit, while a wireless subwoofer supplies the low-frequency effects.
Sony says that its proprietary Vertical Surround Engine combined with its S-Force Pro audio processing technology can deliver virtualized 7.1.2-channel sound from the HT-G700’s 3.1-channel driver configuration—with the final “.2” representing two height channels—allowing it to handle object-based 3D audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X without the need for upfiring drivers.
The soundbar also boasts an “Immersive AE” (short for “Audio Enhancement”) that can upmix other audio formats, even 2.0 stereo audio, to virtualized 7.1.2 sound. Support for DTS Virtual:X, an impressive-sounding virtual 3D audio format that’s becoming more common in soundbars (particularly budget models), is also included.
The HT-G700 comes with an optical (Toslink) input and two HDMI ports, one of which is an input while the other is an HDMI-ARC (or “audio return channel”) interface.
A key point about the HT-G700’s HDMI-ARC port, which lets you connect your video sources to your TV and then send audio from the TV to the soundbar, is that it supports eARC, an “enhanced” version of ARC that allows for lossless audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The soundbar also supports 4K HDR passthrough (including Dolby Vision and HLG) if you prefer to connect a video source directly to the soundbar’s HDMI input.
The soundbar features your typical Cinema and Music audio modes, as well as dialog-boosting Voice and Night modes.
The HT-G700 is missing an important feature, however: Wi-Fi connectivity, which means you’ll have to do without such functionality as multi-room audio, AirPlay 2/Chromecast streaming, and voice assistant support. That said, you can still stream music to the soundbar via Bluetooth. Meanwhile, Sony’s pricier soundbars, such as the $900 HT-Z9FRemove non-product link, do support Wi-Fi.
We’re expecting to receive a sample HT-G700 unit for testing, so keep your eyes peeled for our full review.