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High-Res, Wireless Key To Sony Home-Audio Launch

Wireless multiroom audio, high-resolution audio, and high dynamic range (HDR)-capable HDMI 2.0a connections are the anchors in Sony’s 2016 home-audio lineup.

New products include Sony’s first high-res-capable tabletop stereo system, the company’s first high-res-encoding USB turntable, its first two wireless-multiroom-audio Blu-ray players, and first two Wi-Fi speakers that double as surround speakers when used with a new wireless-multiroom-equipped soundbar and a new wireless-multiroom audio/video receiver (AVR).

Sony is also bringing HDR-capable HDMI 2.0a inputs and outputs to two AVRs priced down to $349  and to a new soundbar.

Here’s what’s coming:

Wireless Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speakers: The $299-suggested SRS-ZR7 and $199 SRS-ZR5 are equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Sony’s proprietary wireless multiroom-audio technology. The former features high-res music playback. Both are the company’s first multiroom speakers with HDMI ARC port to connect to TVs to amplify TV sound. 

Both are also the company’s first two Wi-Fi speakers that double as surround speakers when used with a new wireless-multiroom-equipped soundbar and a new wireless-multiroom AVR.  The speakers are also the company’s first Wi-Fi speakers that can be used as separate left-right pairs to widen the sound stage.

Both also feature Google Cast, Spotify Connect, NFC and proprietary LDAC technology to stream high-res music over Bluetooth with near-high-res quality, thanks to a maximum 990kbps transfer rate that is triple that of conventional Bluetooth audio.

Both are available online and will be on store shelves May 15.

PS-HX500 high-res turntable: The $599-suggested HX500 is the industry’s first USB turntable to encode vinyl into high-res files. It encodes music in up 5.6MHz DSD or 192 KHz/24-bit WAV.

It’s online now and will be on store shelves May 22.

CAS-1 high-resolution tabletop system: The $999-suggested compact mini system plays high-res files streamed via USB connection to a computer. It’s designed for nearfield listening.

It features separate, but built-in, headphone DAC/amplifier for high-res headphone listening. Bluetooth with LDAC is available for streaming Bluetooth sources in near-high-res quality.

The vertical center chassis matches the height of the included two-way speakers, which feature a slim profile.

Wireless multiroom Blu-ray payers: The $129-suggested BDP-S6700 Blu-ray player and $349 UHP-H1 universal player (with SACD and DVD-Audio playback) feature 4K up-scaling, Wi-Fi and Sony’s proprietary wireless multiroom audio to stream music from and to other rooms. Music can be sent from a USB source connected to the player or from a CD.

Both also feature Bluetooth with LDAC for streaming Bluetooth sources in near-high-res quality.

See also: Sony Adds HDR To VPL-VW365ES Projector

With PlayStation Now, both players stream select PlayStation 3 games from the cloud and play them on a TV via Dualshock 4 wireless controller.

The UHP-H1 is also Sony’s first Blu-ray player to play high-res music files, including DSD files. Files can be played from USB or via DLNA networking. It also features dual HDMI outputs and DLNA video streaming.

The $129 player is available, and the UHP-H1 is available for presale.

Soundbar: The $799-suggested HT-NT5, like a current $799 model, features Wi-Fi, wireless multiroom audio, Miracast screen mirroring, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master, HDMI 2.0, three HDMI inputs, one HDMI output, Google Cast for audio, Bluetooth with LDAC, HDCP 2.2 and high-res audio playback, including DSD files. High-res payback is presumably via USB as with the previous soundbar.

Sony’s HT-NT5 soundbar

Like before, S-Force Pro technology delivers surround sound without surround speakers.

The new model steps up to HDMI 2.0a and slims down to a height of 2.5 inches.

It’s available online now and will be on store shelves May 15.

AVRs: The $599-suggested STR-DN1070 and $349 STR-DH770 are 7.2-channel AVRs that, unlike their predecessors, feature HDMI 2.0a connections to pass through 4K video with HDR. Neither features Dolby Atmos or DTS:X decoding, which is currently available only in a $2,799 ES-series AVR.

The $349 model lacks networking but features Bluetooth. The $599 model steps up to Wi-Fi, AirPlay, wireless multiroom audio, Bluetooth with LDAC, Google Cast, Spotify Connect and high-res audio decoding, including 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz DSD and 192/24 WAV, FLAC and AIFF.  It also decodes 5.1-channel 5.6MHz DSD.

Compared to its predecessor, the $599 model adds high-res payback from DLNA network sources, not just via USB-connected sources. The new model also adds LDAC and S-Force Pro, which delivers surround sound from two speakers.

Like its predecessor, the $599 model offers six HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs, one of which is dedicated to a second zone.