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Denon’s new soundbar delivers Dolby Atmos at a budget price

Denon has launched a new version of its most affordable soundbar that is equipped with built-in subwoofers and can reproduce Dolby Atmos content virtually via a 2.1-channel speaker system. The $249 Denon DHT-S217 will be available starting in May from and authorized Denon retailers.

The DHT-S217 contains several significant improvements over the DHT-S216, which also sells for $249. The biggest feature is the 217’s support for Dolby Atmos content. The soundbar uses virtualization to present Atmos’ immersive 3D effect through just a left and right channel, but it should still produce a more effective home theater sound than the S216, which relied on DTS Virtual:X.

Denon DHT-S217 Dolby Atmos Soundbar seen sitting in front of a TV.

Another big change is the inclusion of two built-in down-firing three-inch subwoofers, which provide the low-end oomph for the “.1” element of the DHST-S217’s 2.1 sound system. Rounding out the driver array are two one-inch tweeters and two 3.5-inch racetrack midrange drivers. Denon claims that this setup will deliver crystal-clear dialogue with authoritative bass response that will “certainly please both music and movie enthusiasts.” If you want even more low-end power, the soundbar has an output for a wired subwoofer.

Close-up of Denon DHT-S217 Dolby Atmos Soundbar's rear ports.

Denon has also included an HDMI input that lets you connect a video device like a streaming media player, and can passthrough up to 4K resolution video with Dolby Vision HDR. That will provide an open HDMI port to compensate for the one that folks will lose when they connect the soundbar to their TV via HDMI ARC/eARC. There’s also an optical input and an analog aux-in jack for connecting analog stereo components.

Streaming music can be done over the soundbar’s Bluetooth connection, and an included remote control lets you access all of the soundbar’s functions including its four sound modes — Movie, Night, Music, and Pure — which turns off all additional sound processing.

You can place the DHT-S217 in front of your TV on a tabletop, or it can be wall-mounted using the built-in keyholes on the back of the speaker.

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