While complex, high-powered multichannel systems are more my thing, I’ve always wondered if these relatively inexpensive and simple sound bar setups can cut the home theater mustard. Hence why I jumped at the chance to review one of Vizio’s latest sound bar systems.
I call it a system because the SB4051-D5 is a true 5.1 channel product. The front three channels are in the 40” sound bar and there are dedicated surround speakers that attach to the “slim” subwoofer. The sub is skinny enough to be placed under a couch or it can be stood up behind, or to the side of a sofa or chair using the included feet. It pairs wirelessly with the sound bar, so installation is vastly simplified. The SB4051-D5 has a good array of digital inputs and works with both Google Chromecast and Vizio’s SmartCast streaming, so apps like Pandora or Spotify can be “cast” to the sound bar. You also get Bluetooth connectivity, so the SB4051-D5 can function as a Bluetooth speaker. It’s all controlled by the included remote or through Vizio’s Smartcast app, available for either Android or IOS.
My first thought upon unboxing the SB4051-D5 was how heavy and solid each of the components felt. They did not feel like electronics that list for just $429.99. Setup was super-easy and within about 15 minutes, I had the system playing in my family room. The sound was certainly better than what comes out of the average flat panel television. Bass in particular is significantly better as the slim sub can hit frequencies far lower than any TV’s built-in speakers. Plus, now I had actual surround speakers!
How much better does the Vizio SB4051-D5 sound than your run-of-the-mill flat panel’s speakers? Can a sound bar really substitute for a surround system with even modest dedicated components? Read my full review in a few weeks to see what a jaded home theater snob thinks.