We recently brought you news of a big gaming update for Sony's soundbars that was in the works, and later confirmed that the HT-A9 would be getting the same update. Well, good news – that update is now available.
What's the big deal? This update adds support for VRR and ALLM to the HT-A7000 and HT-A5000 soundbars, as well as the HT-A9 wireless home theatre system. This means you can connect your PS5, Xbox Series X or gaming PC to the soundbar's (or home theatre's) HDMI input and still benefit from smooth VRR gameplay and automatic ALLM switching on your TV – assuming your TV itself supports these features.
With many TVs having just two HDMI 2.1 ports that can handle 4K/120Hz (a feature already supported by these Sony devices), VRR and ALLM, and in most cases one of those also being the eARC port through which your soundbar or home theatre must be connected, the fact that these formats can now be passed through means you no longer 'lose' one of your top-spec inputs.
We've applied the update to our HT-A9 review sample and can confirm that it's working as intended. In the picture at the top of the page, we've got a PS5 running through the HT-A9 and then on to HDMI 2 (the 2.1-spec eARC port) of a Panasonic LZ1500 OLED TV. The PS5 menu system confirms that VRR is now supported – it wasn't when the system was connected this way previously.
This update only serves to make these three Sony devices even more appealing. The HT-A7000 already features at the top of our best soundbars page and the HT-A9 is a unique, five-star system. The HT-A5000 received a solid four-star verdict in our review.
The new firmware should be automatically downloaded and applied, but you can go into the system menu and 'force' the update by navigating to Advanced Settings and clicking 'Software Update'. You might find that the update has automatically been applied without you noticing. To check, go to Advanced Settings, System Information and check the Software Version. The update is version 001.779 for the HT-A9 and HT-A7000, and 1.769 for the HT-A5000.
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