Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

responsive

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

CNET Editors’ Rating 11 user reviews The Good The Vizio S4251w-B4 sound bar includes two rear speakers, allowing it to deliver a real surround-sound experience from a sound bar system. Its smart design lets you to connect the rear speakers to the wireless subwoofer in the back of the room, which minimizes the wire clutter that often accompanies surround sound. The sound bar itself has a stylish look, with a great remote that includes a built-in display. Features are well-covered, too, with built-in Bluetooth and Dolby/DTS decoding. And it’s a good value, considering it includes two additional speakers. The Bad The sound bar may block your TV’s remote sensor when used in tabletop position. Also, if you use your TV to switch inputs, you likely won’t get the best possible surround experience, although most listeners won’t notice. And there’s no guided speaker calibration, so you’ll need to rely on your own ears for setup. The Bottom Line Vizio’s S4251w-B4 sports rear speakers for unparalleled home theater sonics from a sound bar, although it has some quirks. 8.1 Overall Design 7.0 Features 8.0 Sound 9.0 Value 8.0

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

The Good The Vizio S4251w-B4 sound bar includes two rear speakers, allowing it to deliver a real surround-sound experience from a sound bar system. Its smart design lets you to connect the rear speakers to the wireless subwoofer in the back of the room, which minimizes the wire clutter that often accompanies surround sound. The sound bar itself has a stylish look, with a great remote that includes a built-in display. Features are well-covered, too, with built-in Bluetooth and Dolby/DTS decoding. And it’s a good value, considering it includes two additional speakers. The Bad The sound bar may block your TV’s remote sensor when used in tabletop position. Also, if you use your TV to switch inputs, you likely won’t get the best possible surround experience, although most listeners won’t notice. And there’s no guided speaker calibration, so you’ll need to rely on your own ears for setup. The Bottom Line Vizio’s S4251w-B4 sports rear speakers for unparalleled home theater sonics from a sound bar, although it has some quirks.

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

responsive

The sound bar itself has a particularly refined look. Vizio has a penchant for glossy black finishes that tend toward tacky, so the S4251w-B4’s understated matte black look is a welcome change. It’s pretty much a “nothing-but-speaker” look from the front, with just a thin strip of black sitting under the grille. It’s not a particularly thin design at 3.15 inches, but it lends the S4251w-B4 a substantial (but not bulky) feel that implies that the Vizio is built for performance. It doesn’t quite have the build quality of the Sonos Playbar, but it feels better constructed than any previous Vizio sound bar.

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

The Vizio S4251w-B4 ($330 list) is one of the very few sound bar systems on the market that can deliver true surround sound, precisely because it augments the traditional sound bar/subwoofer configuration with two rear speakers. The combination delivers some of the best sound we’ve heard from a budget sound bar, and nothing at this price competes in terms of immersive home theater sound. The rest of the package is polished, too, with a tasteful design, built-in Bluetooth, and a minimalist, innovative remote with a built-in display.

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

The Good The Vizio S4251w-B4 sound bar includes two rear speakers, allowing it to deliver a real surround-sound experience from a sound bar system. Its smart design lets you to connect the rear speakers to the wireless subwoofer in the back of the room, which minimizes the wire clutter that often accompanies surround sound. The sound bar itself has a stylish look, with a great remote that includes a built-in display. Features are well-covered, too, with built-in Bluetooth and Dolby/DTS decoding. And it’s a good value, considering it includes two additional speakers.

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

It’s not an issue if you’ll be wall-mounting the sound bar, and you can also work around the issue by using a small TV riser (or a couple of books) to boost the TV above the sound bar. Still, potential buyers may want to locate their TV’s remote sensor and break out the tape measure; again, the S4251w-B4’s sound bar stands 3.74 inches tall. It would have been nice if Vizio included a remote control signal pass-through feature, included on the competing Sony HT-CT260.

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

Next Level Audio Experience. Full Surround Sound Immersion. The VIZIO 5.1 home theater comes with a three channel sound bar, wireless subwoofer for thunderous bass, and rear satellite speakers that put you in the center of the action. TV, movies, sports and games will come to life in up to 102 dB of roof-raising volume with less than 1% of total harmonic distortion1.

Vizio Home Theater Sound Bar

Full Surround Sound Immersion. The VIZIO 5.1 home theater comes with a three channel sound bar, wireless subwoofer for thunderous bass, and rear satellite speakers that put you in the center of the action. TV, movies, sports and games will come to life in up to 102 dB of roof-raising volume with less than 1% of total harmonic distortion1.

VIZIO, Inc. has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein. All product specifications, functionality, features, configurations, performance, design and other product information described herein are subject to change without notice. VIZIO, Inc. disclaims liability for typographical, technical, or descriptive errors.

Rear speakers usually mean running wires all over your living room, but Vizio keeps the clutter to a minimum, having you connect the speakers to the wireless subwoofer, rather than a unit that lives in your TV cabinet. If you place the subwoofer in the back of the room, you avoid having to run cables from the front of your living room to the back, which is what usually ends up causing most of the clutter. (The subwoofer does need to be plugged into an outlet.) Most manufacturers would call these “wireless” speakers, although Vizio thankfully doesn’t, because, well, they require wires.

“This VIZIO is a large, affordably priced, true 5.1-channel sound bar system that actually plays loud, with respectable base extension and very presentable sound.” – Sound & Vision

The VIZIO 5.1 home theater comes with a three channel sound bar, wireless subwoofer for thunderous bass, and rear satellite speakers that put you in the center of the action. TV, movies, sports and games will come to life in up to 102 dB of roof-raising volume with less than 1% of total harmonic distortion1.

Just Set It Up, Plug It In and Turn It On. Connecting a single audio cable is all it takes to fill any room with rich immersive sound within minutes. Every VIZIO sound bar comes equipped with any connection you might need to get your audio booming quickly, with maximum convenience and minimal clutter.

The only real design flaw is that the S4251w-B4 might block your TV’s remote sensor if you place it in the common tabletop position. It’s an issue that can occur with many sound bars that sit in front of your TV (opposed to under, like pedestal-style sound bars), and while it won’t be a problem with every TV, it did block the sensor on our Sony XBR-55HX950. Changing inputs on the TV required holding the remote up high, angled over the sound bar, which gets annoying fast.

In practice, it’s not quite the perfect solution you want it to be. Figuring out the logic of how the menus work on the single-line display takes some getting used to. And with the display on the remote, it’s also easy to forget that the remote actually needs to be pointed at the sound bar for your commands to take effect. The instinct is to angle the display toward your eyes, with the remote pointing upward, only to realize the sound bar never received your commands. Still, you do eventually adjust to its quirks; its excellent button layout and feel make it a great remote overall.

We have really just two reservations about the S4251w-B4. One is that, like many sound bars, with its 3.74-inch height it may possibly block your TV’s remote sensor if you position it in front of your TV. The other is that it can be surprisingly difficult to get a true surround-sound signal to the S4251w-B4 because of the frequently overlooked reality that most TVs end up converting incoming surround signals to stereo. And, coincidentally, both of those quirks aren’t a problem on the competing Sony HT-CT260 ($300), which gives excellent sound as well.

A remote worth talking about Most sound bar remotes feel like afterthoughts, but it’s obvious there’s been some work put into the S4251w-B4’s clicker. Its caliber is clear as soon as you pick it up, with a substantial feel and minimalist selection of buttons that easily fall under your thumb. The volume buttons at the bottom are even slightly tilted to make them easier to feel by touch; it puts the thin, credit card-style remotes found on other sound bars to shame.

The Bad The sound bar may block your TV’s remote sensor when used in tabletop position. Also, if you use your TV to switch inputs, you likely won’t get the best possible surround experience, although most listeners won’t notice. And there’s no guided speaker calibration, so you’ll need to rely on your own ears for setup.

responsive