Sony Electronics announced an exciting new 5.1.2-channel soundbar today. The HT-A5000 supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and it also features two of Sony’s own home-theater sound technologies: Vertical Surround Engine technology, to position sounds in a vertical space, and S-Force Pro Front Surround, to present a wider horizontal sound field.
The HT-A5000 is outfitted with built-in subwoofers and a pair of up-firing drivers that can bounce the height cues in immersive soundtracks off the ceiling to deliver the sensation of having speakers mounted over the viewing area. Dual beam tweeters bounce audio off the walls to the left and right of the speaker to further expand the surround-sound effect.
The speaker supports high-resolution audio, and it’s also compatible with Sony’s immersive 360 Reality Audio format. Music in that format is available from Amazon Music HD, Deezer, Nugs.net, and Tidal.
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Sony Bravia XR Master Series A90J (55-inch class, model XR-55A90J)
Pair the soundbar with a Sony Bravia TV, and the combo will use the TV’s speakers as a discrete center channel to more precisely align the action on the screen with the soundtrack, thanks to Sony’s Acoustic Center Sync technology. Another perk of using a Sony TV: All the soundbar’s configuration settings will automatically appear in the TV’s Quick Settings menu. This feature works with Sony’s Z9J series, A90J series, A80J series, X95J series, X90J series, X85J series, and X80J series TVs.
The soundbar features HDMI with eARC, with support for 8K HDR, 4K video with up to a 120Hz refresh rate, and Dolby Vision (you can read all about the differences between HDMI ARC and eARC at that link). There’s an optical input for use with TVs that predate HDMI.
The speaker doesn’t have an onboard digital assistant, but it works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. There’s an integrated Wi-Fi adapter, along with support for Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2. Bluetooth audio streaming is also supported.
The HT-A5000 will retail for $900, and consumers can order one now. For an even more immersive experience, buyers will be able to add Sony’s model SA-RS3S wireless rear surround speakers ($350) and/or a wireless powered subwoofer to the system (either Sony’s 200-watt model SA-SW3, $400 or the 300-watt SA-SW5, which goes for $700).