When it comes to "affordable" Atmos sound bars, there is currently a sample size of none, but prices do continue to come down. Sony's latest Atmos models shave hundreds off the cost of its first, so that's a good thing, right?
The $899 HT-Z9F and the $599 HT-X9000F offer Atmos (and DTS:X) playback in a compact, less costly package. While neither offers height speakers, the speakers do offer Sony's Vertical Surround Engine to simulate height effects.
Design-wise, both bars appear similar to their HT-ST5000 predecessor (which did have upfiring speakers) and come with a wireless subwoofer. The HT-X9000F sound bar is designed to match Sony's X900F 4K HDR TV series and it comes with tapered ends that enable it to snuggle inside the TV's base.
Both of the new models offer Bluetooth playback plus up to two HDMI inputs and one output with 4K HDR throughput. Stepping up to the Z9F brings Wi-Fi connectivity as well as Chromecast built-in and compatibility.
Atmos and DTS:X without dedicated speakers? Color us very skeptical, though based on the company's offerings from the past few years, these models should at least sound good with everyday content.
The HT-Z9F and the HT-X9000F will be available in spring 2018, though UK and Australia pricing and availability are not yet known. Expect £900 and £600, or AU$1,600 and AU$1,200, respectively.
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