Sony's flagship soundbar kicks out room-filling audio

The 7.1.2 channel HT-ST5000 does Dolby Atmos material justice, with sound flying in from overhead and behind.

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's always hard to assess audio quality on the CES floor, but the HT-ST5000 filled the demo room and made each effect sound like it was coming from a specific place, including overhead or from behind. We didn't get any specs on the subwoofer, but suffice to say it seemed up to the job. The entire system is rated at 800w, and the inclusion of two angled speakers to project audio upward give it the 7.1.2 channels Sony claims. Naturally, it's capable of passing through 4K and HDR video. It probably won't pull you away from a full surround setup, but when it arrives later this year it will be a way to fill a room with audio without having to move too many things around.

Billy Steele contributed to this report.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.