If you're in the market for a mid-range surround sound soundbar, you're looking at some of the best soundbars including the mighty Sonos Arc. And now there's a new contender from Sony that significantly undercuts the Arc and can also become a fully-fledged surround sound system rather than a virtual one. It's called the HT-A3000, it's expected to cost £599 and it'll go on sale in October.
The HT-A3000 is a very good soundbar in its own right, but it's better still if you spend a similar sum on a pair of wireless rear speakers such as Sony's SA-RS5 speakers, which add a whopping 180W of wider surround sound including up-firing speakers for 360-degree spatial audio. They do come in at a hefty £699, though; the more affordable 100W SA-RS3S speakers are £449.
What does £600 of Sony soundbar get you?
The HT-A3000 is a 3.1 channel soundbar with three front speakers including a dedicated dialogue speaker and a dual subwoofer for extra thump. It has Sony's Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force PRO Front Surround systems to create virtual surround for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, using technological trickery to make it sound like you have more speakers than you actually do – although in the long term I think I'd really want those optional wireless rear speakers; I've spent too much time with my Atmos AV receiver to want a virtual surround system instead.
Connections here are HDMI eARC, USB, optical in, HDMI out and S-Center Out, which is designed for compatible Bravia TVs.
If the A3000 still seems a little weedy, there's an even more powerful model: the A5000, which will cost around £899. That's a 5.1.2 soundbar and once again it's compatible with Sony's rear speakers. It too will launch in October 2022.