As a provider of one of the highest value quotients in the TV marketplace, it wasn’t all that surprising when Vizio stepped into the soundbar game in 2009. Flat-screen TVs and their tiny speakers go hand in hand with soundbars, so why not package them together? What was a bit surprising is how easily Vizio transformed into a quality audio brand, offering the same value proposition in soundbars as its TVs: a whole lot of solid performance at a very low price point.


Vizio’s TV stock has only risen with each new evolution, and 2016 sees the company hoping to do the same with its soundbars. Like its TVs, Vizio’s new SmartCast soundbars are embedded with Google Cast technology for simplified Wi-Fi streaming. The 45-inch SB4551-D5 is the de facto flagship of the new SmartCast fleet, packing true 5.1 surround sound, Wi-Fi streaming, Bluetooth, and a lot more for just $500. The bar itself is really just a longer version of many of its new siblings, all bearing a common trait: they’re super slim. That compromise on real estate equates to a bit a compromise in balance at the middle of the sound, but Vizio’s latest is powerful and full where it needs to be, representing surround sound at a serious value.

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