Sony launch 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player and Atmos soundbar

It's Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and 4K Blu-ray at last

by Steve Withers Feb 7, 2017 at 10:21 AM


  • We got our first glimpse at IFA last year but Sony finally announced their first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player at CES this year.
    The UBP-X800 not only supports 4K UHD Blu-ray but also adds hi-res audio playback, High Dynamic Range (HDR), a precision disc drive and support for video 4K HDR video streaming services. About the only thing the X800 doesn't have is Dolby Vision but there were plenty of other Dolby-related products at the company's annual UK trade show. Sony are also launching their new HT-ST5000 Dolby Atmos soundbar and their STR-DN1080 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X 7-channel AV Receiver in 2017. Although if immersive audio doesn't interest you, there's also Sony's latest compact soundbars which are designed to deliver a big sound in today's modern living spaces.
    The UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player was developed in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment to ensure the best possible playback from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs as the creators intended. The player supports 4K Ultra HD, along with HDR 10 and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG). It's not just about the picture though and the X800 includes Hi-res audio playback and DSEE HX upscaling. To ensure that sound quality is uncompromised, the X800 can split audio and video signals, routing them to separate HDMI outputs to reduce electrical cross-interference. This approach is also useful if your AV Receiver doesn't support HDR and HDCP 2.2.

    The player uses a rigid frame and beam chassis designed to minimise mechanical vibration and on the inside, there is a full complement of audio codec compatibility. The player can deliver immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, along with High-Resolution audio files encoded right up to 192kHz/24-bit and even DSD up to 11.2MHz, thanks to a future firmware update. The X800 utilises a Sony developed Precision HD drive to help maintain consistent performance with virtually every optical disc format, including DVD Video and DVD Audio; CD and Super Audio CD; and Blu-ray 3D, and BD-ROM media in additional to almost any format available via USB.

    The player incorporates a variety of video codecs that can deliver 4K HDR streaming from video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, along with Sony’s advanced video processing that upscales SD and HD content to near 4K resolution. Additionally, when playing 4K HDR content on a 4K SDR television the X800 utilizes a unique Sony algorithm to reproduce the proper brightness and colour gradations to provide the best picture possible. There's also Integrated Bluetooth for pairing wireless headphones for private uninterrupted listening and multiroom support.

    The UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player will be available at the beginning of April and will cost £400.
    If you want the experience of Dolby Atmos but don't fancy putting speakers on your ceiling then Sony's new HT-ST5000 might be the answer. This soundbar has been developed in partnership with Sony Pictures for the best immersive audio experience from a single point source. This well specified soundbar offers compatibility with the latest 4K, HDR and HDCP2.2 standards, making it a great partner for the UBP-X800.

    The stylish design of the ST5000 allows you to add multi-channel and multi-dimensional audio to your living room with less clutter. Thanks to the two new upward firing Dolby Atmos enabled speakers at either end of the bar, a 7.1.2 channel listening experience is possible. These are combined with coaxial High-Resolution Audio speakers, featuring separate woofer and tweeter drivers in one single unit to deliver music, dialogue and sound effects in a precise manner. There is also a powerful wireless subwoofer to provide the deep low-end bass to the overall soundstage.

    In terms of other features, there is Chromecast built-in and Spotify Connect as well, meaning you have access to over 100 music-streaming apps, along with the flexibility of Sony's Wireless Multi-Room functionality. The ST5000 also includes built-in Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC), making it easy to play content from your smartphone or tablet through the soundbar.

    The HT-ST5000 Dolby Atmos soundbar will be available in the spring for £1,500.
    If you think you can add a few more speakers to your living room and you want a full Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio experience, then Sony's new STR-DN1080 AV Receiver might fit the bill. This AVR uses technology ported over from Sony's ES range of receivers and it includes Dolby Atmos and DTS: X support alongside 4K HDR pass-through and upscaling, plus High-Resolution Audio capability including DSD native playback.

    This 7-channel AV receiver can deliver a 5.1.2 multi-dimensional surround experience using three speakers at the front, two at the rear, a subwoofer and two overhead speakers – either positioned overhead or upward-firing models. It also has a flexible speaker solution to ‘relocate’ sound to simulate the optimal position and angle for the best audio experience. This allows the receiver to work around any physical space restrictions, whist the Phantom Surround Back setting adds an extra two virtual rear speakers for a full 7.1.2 channel experience from a 5.1.2 set up.

    The DN1080 has multiple connections to make it even simpler to connect all your devices, with 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs that provide full HDCP 2.2 compliance and support for the latest 4K 60P (4:4:4) video signals, along with compatibility with the BT.2020 wide colour gamut standard. There's also support for USB, Bluetooth and Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect and Wireless Multi-Room, making this new AV receiver a versatile solution to all your home entertainment needs. If you're interested in the DN1010, you'll have a chance to see and hear it in action at the Bristol Sound & Vision Show at the end of February.

    The ST-DN1080 7-Channel Dolby Atmos/DTS:X AV Receiver will be available in May/June and will cost £650.
    Although there is a lot of excitement and interest surrounding immersive audio, a lot of people can't put speakers all around their living room or even for a soundbar as large as the ST5000 into their lounge. So Sony have developed a pair of compact soundbars that are designed to compliment modern living spaces, whilst also delivering a big, room-filling sound. The first of these compact soundbars is the HT-MT500. This soundbar has been designed to co-ordinate with modern trends in living room design, whilst providing a high quality audio experience.

    The MT500 supports hi-res audio and includes Bluetooth and NFC connections, One Touch to stream music directly from the soundbar, a USB port for connecting USB devices for easy playback and an HDMI connector. It's also more than just a soundbar, it's also a wireless speaker and includes Spotify Connect and Chromecast, with access to over 100 music-streaming apps. The MT500 also has a Music Service button to quickly access the last song you played from your Spotify Premium account, without the need to connect and play from your mobile phone or tablet.

    The MT500 includes S-Force PRO Front Surround, which is designed to emulate a surround experience and create a wider front soundstage that can fill a room despite the soundbar's diminutive size. There is also a wireless subwoofer that can be use in its normal upright position or flat in what's called the 'sofa mode'. which allows you to put the sub under your sofa for greater impact. The MT500 has been designed to compliment a modern living room without drawing attention to itself. As such it uses a tactile finish with a leather look surface, a matte front grille and a charcoal black finish.

    The HT-MT500 compact soundbar will be available in March at a price of £550.
    Finally there is the HT-MT300 compact soundbar, which has also been designed to co-ordinate with modern types of living room design, whilst providing a high quality audio experience. The MT300 includes Bluetooth and NFC connections, along with a USB port for connecting USB devices for easy playback. The soundbar also uses S-Force PRO Front Surround, which is designed to emulate a surround experience and create a wider front soundstage. Like the MT500, it also uses a wireless subwoofer that can be positioned upright or in its flat 'sofa mode' thus delivering bass you can feel. The MT300 has been designed to compliment our modern living in an inconspicuous manner and as such it uses a tactile finish with a leather look surface, a matte front grille and a charcoal black or cream white finish.

    The HT-MT300 compact soundbar will be available in late February at a price of £250.

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