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.