CES CES 2018 Home Theater

CES 2018: Sony HT-Z9F Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Innovative technologies like Sony’s Acoustic Surface system (found on their A1E and A8F OLED TVs) have helped improved the typically lacking sound that comes out of today’s uber-slim displays. But for the most part, even the most casual viewer is going to want an auxiliary audio source, which is where soundbars come in, providing high-quality, multi-channel sound from a single device that’s designed to be inconspicuous and easy to hook up. The one ding against soundbars is that they’re not always the greatest at replicating the sound experience of a setup with, say, in-ceiling speakers. The Sony HT-Z9F Atmos soundbar aims to change that, as the world’s first 3.1 channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundbar.

Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology that, among other things, includes a height element in its processing. So you’ll not only hear sounds coming from directly in front of you, but also in front and above you. A competing technology, DTS:X, offers a very similar sound experience. The Sony HT-Z9F is capable of both processes, and thanks to Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine, it can create all-encompassing 3D sound from whatever you’re watching—all through just the soundbar and included wireless subwoofer. That means that whether you’re watching a 4K Blu-ray with an embedded 7.1 audio track, or a TV program with a simple 2-channel audio signal, the Sony HT-Z9F will make them both sound equally immersive. To further the immersion, the HT-Z9F will be compatible with optional wireless surround speakers, to give the rear channels of your home theater that little extra oomph. The HT-Z9F will be near the top of the lineup of Sony soundbars, and will available this spring with a retail price of $899.99.

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