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Sony introduces budget 4K Blu-ray player and Atmos soundbar for 2019

Flick through our Sony reviews on whathifi.com and you’ll see a whole page of five-star reviews for its 2018 products, including the HT-ST5000 Dolby Atmos soundbar and UBP-X700 4K Blu-ray player. 

Both products have been key for Sony in keeping on the cutting-edge cusp on the fast-growing home entertainment industry, and both consequently won 2018 What Hi-Fi? Awards - so we’re pleased that the company has used CES to announce their forthcoming siblings.

The HT-X8500 is another Dolby Atmos-supporting soundbar, however it looks to be a slightly different beast from the HT-ST5000 (£1200) - largely hinted by its modest £350 price tag. (The 'SKY' range of Atmos soundbars that LG teased a few days ago could instead be the ones to take on the high-end mantle for 2019...) 

Sitting at other end of the price spectrum, then, the budget HT-X8500 is a 2.1-channel soundbar that can deliver Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks through a ‘virtual’ 7.1.2-channel surround sound thanks to Sony’s ‘Vertical Surround Engine’ technology.

There are dual subwoofers onboard, seven optimised sound modes, and Bluetooth connectivity for not only wireless music playback but also a wire-free connection between the HT-X8500 and your TV.

 

Also £350, the X800M2 4K Blu-ray player can handle playback of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with HDR10 and/or Dolby Vision HDR formats. Hybrid Log Gamma HDR content is also supported, as are SACD and DVD-A discs and DSD11.2MHz music files.

It doesn’t sound like HDR10+ is on the X800M2’s compatibility menu, however, so the player won’t be able to play (the allegedly imminent) HDR10+ Ultra HD discs. 

A 4K upscaling feature works to enhance the picture of non-4K content such as standard Blu-rays, and built into its smart platform are 4K-supporting streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.

Whether or not this will replace Sony’s 2018 UBP-X700 is yet unclear.

The HT-X8500 (£350) and X800M2 (£350) will be available in March and May respectively, and we for one can’t wait to tuck into them.

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Becky is Hi-Fi and Audio editor of What Hi-Fi?, and has been part of the team for almost eight years, with her current position preceded by roles as a staff writer and news editor. During that time she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching horror movies and hunting for gluten-free cake.