These days, speakers are just as sophisticated and talented as the TVs and components they are connected to. What’s more, they are no longer simply tethered by wires and cables and have become part of a growing connected family of appliances. Today, Sony is adding six more members to that family: four sound bars and two AV receivers. Boasting more than just high-quality audio components that Sony is known for, these audio products also bring along the ability to play protected 4K content as well as support for Google’s hottest streaming feature, Google Cast.
With Google Cast, present in the HT-ST9 and HT-NT3 sound bars and the STR-DN860 and STR-DN1060 AV receivers, the devices become more than just a complement to your TV or entertainment system. Owners will be able to throw music from their favorite mobile apps from almost any device, whether it be an Android, iPhone, iPad, Chromebook, Mac, or Windows computer. And with the multi-room functionality via the SongPal app, you can transform not just your living room but the whole house into an entertainment haven.
Sony’s new sound bars offering varying levels of quality, with the corresponding price tag. All of them, except the HT-C380 at the lowest rung of the ladder, support High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection or HDCP 2.2, which means they are able to play protected 4K content with no problems.
The HT-ST9 is the most talented of them all. And the most expensive with a $1,499.99 tag. It boasts of 800 watt speakers and 7.1 channel surround audio and comes with a wireless speaker for added emphasis. Aside from Google Cast, the sound bar also directly supports Spotify Connect and also sports Bluetooth audio streaming.
Next up is the HT-NT3 Hi-Res sound bar at $699.99, which also comes with a wireless subwoofer. Unsurprisingly, performance is slightly lower than the ST9, with 450 watts and 2.1 channel surround sound instead. It does, however, still have Bluetooth and NFC for making wireless connections. Like the HT-ST9, the NT3 supports Hi-Res audio and Sony’s own LDAC technology.
At the lowest tiers are the HT-CT780 with 330 watts and the HT-CT380 with 300 watts, coming at $449.99 and $349.99, respectively. These two do away with the Google Cast support but retains Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. Aside from total power, the two differ in their support for HDCP 2.2 and 4K content, a feature that the HT-CT380 does not have.
The new Sony AV Receivers go beyond mere audio into the realm of a total entertainment experience, adding support for Wi-Fi as well as Apple’s AirPlay and Spotify Connect. The STR-DN1080 ($599.99) boasts 165 watts and 7.2 channels while the STR-ND860 ($499.99) takes it down slightly to 150 watts.
The HT-ST9 and HT-NT3 will become available in July, while the rest of Sony’s new audio family start retail next month.