Sony has announced two new soundbars that are capable of offering Dolby Atmos surround sound. The Japanese company has made a number of announcements at CES, but it appears it is not yet done. In fact, the company has announced two new audio products, under the names of HT-Z9F and HT-X9000F, with the former being a world first.
In the case of the HT-Z9F, the soundbar represents Sony's more premium offering of the two, with it being the first 3.1 Dolby Atmos soundbar capable of offering virtual surround sound. Now, in order to achieve true Atmos, separate overhead speakers are usually required, which is where Sony's own virtual surround engine comes into action. Thanks to the technology, the soundbar is capable of reproducing virtual surround sound without the need for any separate audio products, with the end result sounding pretty similar to true Atmos according to Sony. Another extra on the HT-Z9F comes in the form of the "Vertical S" button that is included on the remote. When pressed, the soundbar will instantly produce virtual three-dimensional sound, regardless of the content being shown. Not only this, but the device can be easily connected to Wi-Fi and is compatible with the Google Assistant, despite its lack of a built-in microphone. In either case, if virtual surround sound isn't sufficient, though, owners of the HT-Z9F will also be able to purchase a pair of SA-Z9R rear speakers, which Sony says will introduce a true surround sound experience and are designed to work specifically to the speaker. Moving on to the lower-end HT-X9000F, the product is a 2.1 Dolby Atmos soundbar which, just like its pricier sibling, is capable of producing virtual surround sound with the help of Sony's software.
Despite a few differences between the models, the two do share a number of characteristics, with both devices supporting 4K, HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR, which should reduce any possible quality loss when images pass through to a TV. In addition to this, Sony has also included USB ports and Bluetooth support, which will allow the soundbars to connect to the TV without the need for cables. For those interested, the premium HT-Z9F will go on sale beginning this spring according to Sony and will cost $899, while the HT-X9000F will set consumers back $599, with the release date expected to coincide with that of the higher-end model.