CES is filled with Dolby Atmos-spitting audio equipment, but Sony’s HT-ST5000 stands out. Sony has improved this model with the ability to scale audio properly no matter what size your room is. Just adjust for the height of the ceiling and where you’re sitting (using its onscreen GUI) and it can provide impressive positional audio.

The combined soundbar and wirelessly-connected subwoofer pack enough ins and outs (3x HDMI in, 1 HDMI-ARC out, USB-in on the side, plus optical digital and analog audio output) to make it a reasonable receiver surrogate. Even then, support for multi-room with Google Home helps take it to the next level. With control via the “OK Google” voice command, it can sync up with other speakers in the house, or just control playback in one room.

It has always been difficult to demonstrate how effective sound bars can be, but it is said that the HT-ST5000 filled the demo room and made each effect sound like it was coming from a specific place, including overhead and from behind.  I demonstrated the Bose sound bar years ago, that also seemed to do this quite well, however, it could not replace an AV receiver at the time. The Sony is also capable of passing through 4K and HDR video. It probably won’t pull you away from a full surround setup, but it could potentially be the solution for someone that lacks the ability to dedicate a theater room, or wire speakers properly.

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Scott Hart

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I wonder if the whole family has to be sitting right where that person is sitting to truly enjoy the psuedo surround effects?
 

PeterOd

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I was at this demonstration. Horribly tinny and no direction feel at all. No one demonstrating a 7.1 or better surround bar can tell me it is on par with even a $300 all-in-one box surround system.
 

Ashly Yeo

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Graphic is "disturbingly" non-surround as sound is originating from the front :P
 
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Jerome Grate

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Soundbars work for those who haven't a care as to sound. Take my wife, i.e., she is looking for a sound bar for the bedroom for esthetics. Now in that case there are walls on each side to help create the "phantom" surround and will bounce off the ceiling and it would not be all to terrible - but, the cost does not justify the purchase. I will stick with my old Sony 3.1 set up and keep the intense viewing downstairs.
 

Sam Posten

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I've reviewed a high end Atmos soundbar and it would work in a pinch but wouldn't replace a dedicated setup for me. For small spaces like workout rooms and kids rooms I could see them fitting in nicely.