Sony HT S40R Vs S20R 5.1 Home Theatre System

When we set up a living room, one of the central features we think about and plan for is the television space. This becomes the central communal hang-out spot for the whole family. Therefore, finding the right TV becomes very important, but what a lot of people struggle to realise is that TVs generally come with terrible sound systems inbuilt and if you don’t pair them with great sound systems then the viewing experience can get ruined somewhat.
So if you are looking to create the perfect sound stage for you and your family’s together time, we have brought a review and comparison of two of the most popular soundbars for the best home theatre experience –  the HT-S40R and HT-S20R systems from Sony. So read on to find out more and find the right match for your home.

Sony HT S40R Vs S20R Comparison Table:

FeatureSony HT-S40RSony HT-S20R
Audio Channels5.1 channel (true discrete surround)5.1 channel (virtual surround)
SpeakersSeparate soundbar, wireless rear speakers, wireless subwooferIntegrated soundbar with subwoofer
Power Output600W400W
Wireless ConnectivityTV Wireless Connection, BluetoothBluetooth
Wired ConnectivityHDMI ARC, Optical, USBHDMI ARC, Optical
Sound ModesAuto, Standard, Cinema, Music, Night, VoiceAuto, Standard, Cinema, Music
Dolby AudioYesYes
Dedicated Rear SpeakersYes, wirelessNo
SubwooferYes, wirelessYes
SetupMore involved with rear speaker placementSimpler all-in-one unit
Buy NowCheck for the lowest priceCheck for the lowest price

Examining the similarities and differences between Sony’s HT-S40R and S20R soundbar models


Sony's HT-S40R music system placed on a marble counter

The major difference between HT-S40R and HT-S20R is the speaker configuration. HT-s40R is a 5.1 sound channel system inclusive of left rear and right rear wireless speakers and a wireless subwoofer. This 5.1 true surround sound allows one to enjoy a theatre-like audio experience with the effects and panning sound seamlessly going from one channel to another.” Wireless rear speakers will place them around your room and they do not need speaker wires to reduce clutter. However, the HT-S20R is just a 5.1 channel in name, since although it does include a subwoofer the surround channels are only simulated via the 3-channel soundbar and not separate rear speakers. HT-S20R will have good quality sound in a room, but not the true directional surround sound of HT-S40R.

Sony HT S20R placed on a marble surface

Audio Power:

The HT-S40R has a 600W system power wattage, which is greater than the HT-S20R’s 400W output when it comes to audio power. The room-filling volume with dynamic range and bass translates to a higher wattage. The HT-S40R is a great option for bigger rooms or people who want big sound. However, both systems should offer enough volume for most living rooms and home theatre areas.


Connectivity is another key difference. They both feature HDMI ARC, optical input, and Bluetooth for wireless playback of music from your mobile devices. On the other hand, the HT-S40R comes with a dedicated USB port as well as a TV Wireless Connection meant only for Sony Bravia TV. Sony’s TV Wireless Connection uses proprietary tech to send audio from the TV to the soundbar wirelessly, eliminating cables. It is a cool addition for Sony TV owners.

Sound customization:

The HT-S40R surpasses when it comes to sound customization with more selections. It provides Auto, Standard, Cinema, and Music sound modes, as well as the Night and Voice modes. HT-S20R has presets such as Auto, Standard, Cinema and Music but does not have the extra night and voice settings. The HT-S40R is a great choice for people who want to customize audio for different viewing contexts. Dolby Digital decoding for surround effects in both systems.


HT-S40R has a little larger soundbar unit compared to the two channels of other speakers due to its 3-channel speaker configuration. Place the wireless rear speakers properly around your room. However, there are no unsightly cables involved in the wireless transmission between the front and rear speakers. HT-S20R is a single-unit design that minimizes clutter as there are no rear speakers. However, some users might perceive the absence of true directional surround effects. Setting up these soundbars is not a big problem, color-coded speaker connections and wireless transmission between bar/subwoofer and rear speakers on the HT-S40R.


Considering its superior surround sound and extra features, the HT-S40R has a high price. However, street prices may vary, so ensure you compare the retail prices of both models currently. Usually, the HT-S40R sounds more appealing to those enthusiasts who prefer truly dedicated surround speakers with higher power and more sound customization. The HT-S20R has strong audio performance in a more simplified package at a low cost, but it does not contain some of the advanced functions for home theatre provided by the HT-S40R.

So which is better for you?

The surround sound performance of the HT-S40R proves to be worthwhile to those looking for a truly immersive home theatre with discrete surround sound channels, high power output, and a multi-listener sweet spot. HT-S20R will still be a good choice for many living rooms but at affordable costs. However, audiophiles who want a compact theatre-like experience will go for HT-S40R although initially costly.
In the aspect of your room dimensions, performance, price, features, as well as your priorities, you can make a decision on which of the Sony soundbar systems fit your demands. It’s no surprise that both deliver significant differences from your TV’s internal speakers. However, the HT-S40R offers dedicated wireless surrounds, more oomph and personalization to discerning home theatre fans with a little extra budget. On the other hand, the HT-S20R retains a more basic approach, offering an all-in-one unit with strong virtual surround sound that does not require extensive financial investment. Comparing these main factors will assist you in choosing the most suitable Sony soundbar model for your entertainment room and pocket.

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