The ‘perfect’ immersive home entertainment system doesn’t exi…

Experience the full potential of the next-generation PlayStation with this gaming setup

This is a rave review.

If you’re a PlayStation (PS) fan, a gamer, or just looking for one of the best home entertainment systems money could buy, read on.

Gaming has gone a long way since the first-ever home console Magnavox Odyssey, designed by Ralph H. Baer at Sanders Associates. Now, there is virtual reality (VR) technology that gives players a truly immersive, first-person perspective of game action.

Leading up to the metaverse, the ultimate immersion to cyberspace, gaming today revolves around consoles by industry leaders Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. As a casual gamer, I’ve tried most of the recently-released consoles, each with its unique perks and weaknesses.

But this isn’t a comparison story of the three major players. It’s just my experience with the PS5, as well as Sony’s recommended gadgets that would enhance the user experience for the new generation console.

I first learned about the “Perfect for PlayStation 5” campaign of Sony in November last year, after I had randomly read an article scouring the internet on the latest news about the PS5. At the time, I had never held or seen the console in person.

Since the first day the PS5 was made available in the market, every gamer had wanted to own one. One could say that it is the tissue paper of the tech world, always in demand, the most sought-after commodity. And yes, these days, entertainment has become a need.

So, I was over the moon when marketing agency Fuse in partnership with Sony Philippines reached out to loan me a PS5, with the latest Bravia XR television model, and soundbar for an entire month.

The Bravia XR series is what the electronics company deems as the “perfect” TV for the PS5. But how do we quantify perfect? Is there really such a thing?

After trying out the Bravia XR X90J, a full array LED, 4K ultra high definition (HD), smart television with high dynamic range (HDR), I could attest that it is indeed the perfect television to pair with the PS. In fact, I could correct myself and say that the Bravia XR X90J is the perfect television, period. That's how good it is.

The Bravia XR, for those who may not know, is a line of television designed mainly to supplement the PS. The Bravia XR X90J is the smartest and fastest television I’ve tried so far. And I am not exaggerating in any way. I cannot stress enough how smart it is. For one, whatever other gadget you plug into the TV, it automatically detects the device and updates you. Plugging in the PS5 and the Dolby Atmos/DTS: X Soundbar, the three automatically sync as if they were one machine. It was such an easy setup with minimal effort. Plug and play in the most literal sense.

Even connecting different consoles and other brands of soundbar and the settings still sync! The TV was simply too brilliant that the Fugaku, Japanese supercomputer would be put to shame. Just plug in an HDMI cable and the television automatically recognizes when a console is connected and automatically switches to game mode. Oh, and did I mention how fast the TV is? (I did, but I cannot emphasize it enough).

Exclusive features that the Bravia XR X90J boasts of are its “auto HDR tone mapping” and “auto genre picture mode.” The former optimizes and manages the tone levels of the display, allowing one to see crucial details and colors even in high contrast scenes. The latter detects whether you are playing a game or watching movies, or shows, and responds accordingly, changing to the best setting.

In the near future, when the PS5 already has games that require 4K per 120 frames-per-second, the Bravia XR X90J would be able to support the frame rate. It also takes vision and sound to the next level with its ingenious Cognitive Processor XR, analyzes the content being shown on the TV, and recreates it the same way humans see and hear in the actual world.

For the soundbar, the HT-A7000 has 7.1.2 channels, two up-firing speakers for overhead sound, two beam tweeters, and five front speakers for wider surround, and a built-in dual subwoofer for deep bass. With its Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround, the small but powerful speaker creates virtual surround sound that comes from all around so you can enjoy the thrill of Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. In one of the games I was playing, there was a stage inside a church. The reverberations of the chapel walls, footsteps, and voices were all too real. I couldn’t help but be in awe of how lifelike the sound quality was.

The PS5 did not disappoint. Being the next-gen console, the graphics, software, and hardware are top-class. The user interface (UI) is phenomenal, from booting to transitions to animations, and even the text all had that premium feel to it. In the same way, the materials really felt high-end. If one looks closely at the controllers, one could see little embossed triangles, circles, and squares, little details that make a big difference. The controller is bigger and a little heavier than that of the PS4. The black and white colorway of the PS5 contributes to its luxe aesthetic.

I tried God of War on PS5 using the complete setup. I swear, I could see each hair strand from the majestic beard of Kratos. I could see the pores of his skin. His screams of “Boy!” echo throughout the Nordic forest. Despite playing in a closed area, it felt as though I was outdoors thanks to the surround sound effect, which emulated the in-game setting, the wild. The rendering of the environment was seamless. The game was made even more beautiful by the experience. And barely any loading time too.

These three are worth buying individually. But to get the most out of each of the items, it’s best to get them together. Easily, one of the best home entertainment systems currently available in the market. The 55-inch Bravia XR X907 retails at ₱72,299, the HT-A7000 soundbar at ₱67,990, and the PS5 at ₱27,990.