Adding to the wealth of succinct home sound solutions now available in the marketplace, Sony unveiled three new pieces today that will be ready to ship in April, including the HT-CT770 and HT-CT370 sound bars, as well as a new sound platform, the HT-XT1 TV Sound System.
Sony’s latest sound bars boast remarkably similar specs, outlining an impressive array of features for their price points which list at a relatively modest $450 for the CT770, and $350 for the CT370. Stockpiled into each bar are a host of state-of-the art technologies, including 3 HDMI 2.0 inputs with 3D pass through, as well as compatibility with the highest 4K streaming protocols.
Other cutting-edge options for the new bars include ARC (audio return channel) HDMI output, high-def decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, Bluetooth wireless streaming with built-in compatibility for Pandora and Spotify through Sony’s proprietary streaming app, and 7 selectable virtual surround sound modes. In an intriguing new twist, each bar will also include a built-in gyro-sensor (ala newer iPhones) to sculpt the sound according to the device’s position in your TV room.
As for the physical make-up of Sony’s latest mini-home theaters, both bars are encased in a bass reflex shell that rises a meager two-inches high to create an ultra-low profile sound solution. Apart from HDMI connection, additional inputs for the bars include a digital optical input, and an analog RCA input.
So what separates these new bars to make it worth a $100 upgrade to the CT770? As far as Sony has disclosed, mainly the raw power supplied to each. The systems are both amplified by Sony’s S-Master amplifier, with a claimed 330 watts being pushed to the CT770 and a lighter 300 watts of claimed power to the CT370. 120 watts are pushed to the CT770’s down-firing wireless sub, while the CT370’s smaller subwoofer gets only 100 watts. Additionally, the latter sub can be positioned both horizontally or vertically, offering a strangely compelling argument for picking up the cheaper of the two systems as far as straight up convenience is concerned.
Of course, a sound comparison may further reveal good reason to pony up the extra Benjamin for the big brother of the two.
HT-XT1 TV Sound System
We’re still not quite sure how we feel about the sound platform genre. Packing a host of components into a succinct pad that fits directly under a TV is a great concept, but we’ve had a hard time finding an example that sounds on par with traditional systems for a reasonable price.
Sony’s latest try is set at one of the lowest price points we’ve seen, coming in at $300. For that modest sum, the XT1 provides 170 watts of 2.1 channel sound, including dual active subs and an undisclosed number of partner drivers to handle the upper register. The unit is designed to handle TVs of up to 55-inches with 66 pounds of girth.
Impressively, the new unit boasts many of the same features as its sound bar compatriots, including three 2.0 HDMI inputs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, Bluetooth connection, and control of the system via Sony’s SongPal app. The unit also includes Sony’s S-Force front virtual surround sound.
All of Sony’s new toys will be available in April, and we’ll likely be spending some time with the units in our evaluation lab, so stay tuned to find out if these new systems can match their impressive specs with first class performance.