If you're looking for one of the best soundbars but don't want to head towards the £1,000 mark, our pick has long been the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). But Sony's new Dolby Atmos looks like it could be a serious rival.
The new Sony is the HT-S2000, and it's a 3.1 channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundbar with the usual Sony Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force PRO front surround, so it can take stereo sources and make them sound three-dimensional. There's also a brand new upmixer that can turn pretty much any source into 3D audio, including audio streaming over Bluetooth. It doesn't come with an external subwoofer – there's one built into the soundbar itself – but you can add one wirelessly, and the HT-S2000 also supports Sony's SA-RS3S wireless rear speakers.
Could this Sony be the perfect mid-range soundbar?
I haven't heard this soundbar yet, but if it's coming for the Sonos it needs to be good: in our review we praised the second generation Beam's ability to punch way beyond both its size and its price tag, and it's a particularly great option for smaller TVs. The Sony might be a little too large for the smallest sets: while the Beam 2 comes in at around 65cm wide, the Sony is 80cm wide.
As you'd expect from Sony the new soundbar plays nicely with other Sony products and with other home cinema and audio tech. It has optical audio inputs, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2, and the HDMI connection is eARC with support for both HDMI CEC and Bravia Sync.
Sony seems particularly pleased with its Sony Home Entertainment Connect app, which is available for both Android and iOS. It provides setup guidance, support instructions and full access to your soundbar's settings; so far it only works with this specific soundbar but more compatible products will no doubt be coming.
I'd really like to hear this in action, particularly for music: it has Sony's DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) to improve compressed audio such as streaming music, and Sony is pitching this as much as a music playback device as a home cinema one. We'll get our ears on one shortly to let you know how it stands up against the Sonos.
The Sony HT-S2000 will go on sale in June with an estimated price of £449 / €499.