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516 of 553 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Soundbar; Early Versions May Be Defective (now there's a fix)
I can't add or refute praise buyers have posted for this soundbar system's audio fidelity and quality. After all, it was picked by CNET to receive the 'Best Product of CES' award at this year's Las Vegas "Consumer Electronic Show". I've waited since January to buy it, and finally, it became available locally at one of the discount box stores near me.

But, I...
Published 11 months ago by Sonny Craven

versus
326 of 390 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Performance But Has Flaws
I was extremely excited to finally get my hands on this system from Vizio. I did a good amount of research before deciding to purchase the Vizio S4251w-B4. I also had to wait a little while to purchase this unit because these things were in great demand the first few weeks or so. I have now tested the item for about 3 weeks and here is the breakdown:

After...
Published 13 months ago by speakthetruth11


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516 of 553 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Soundbar; Early Versions May Be Defective (now there's a fix), August 22, 2013
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
I can't add or refute praise buyers have posted for this soundbar system's audio fidelity and quality. After all, it was picked by CNET to receive the 'Best Product of CES' award at this year's Las Vegas "Consumer Electronic Show". I've waited since January to buy it, and finally, it became available locally at one of the discount box stores near me.

But, I can tell you, the unit I purchased was not ready for prime time, as several others have pointed out in their reviews. Recent reviews give me more hope. One reviewer said, "..the first unit I had would go silent when changing channels while using cable. Probably due to audio format changes between hd and regular channels but not sure. I would then have to turn the sound bar off then back on to get sound.", he said.

Folks, that was an understatement. After a pretty easy set up and using only the optical cable link from my optical output of my large flat screen Samsung to the soundbar, I immediately heard a dramatic difference in sound quality when compared with my older Vizio 2.1 system that had performed well despite it's inherent limits.

Then, using my whole system Logitech remote, I switched from a live cable program source in HDMI 1 to my Blu-Ray device. So far, so good. That is until I skipped DVD chapters or fast-forwarded the DVD. The audio dropped out and would not return unless I rotated through the various inputs to re-initialize the audio in the "optical" input on the Vizio remote. No amount of tries or even DVD changes would prevent this. Next, I tried switching to the HDMI input for the Roku streaming device, but any fast-fowarding of video of a movie in progress suffered the same audio loss, no matter if I used Amazon Prime content or Netflix.

I called Vizio customer service and the representative had me go through setup and connectivity to be sure the problem wasn't caused by me. He claimed he was unaware of any such issue, put me on hold to check his tech bulletins or reports, then came back on the line to tell me he couldn't find any reported instances of this problem. Then, in a step I hate, he proceeded to find fault with my brand of TV (as opposed to a Vizio large screen TV, which he said contains a circuit that allows consumers to change the audio phase delay and compression format. Right answer, they prefer PCM..or pulse code modulation).

Now, I'm a life-long broadcaster and electronics buff, schooled in PCM audio and much more. So, I knew he was putting me on the E-ride at Disney World. His answer, I felt, was designed to blow off a serious Vizio model defect. It was similar to experiences I'm sure we all have had with PC manufacturer tech support "experts" who when they reach the limits of their knowledge or troubleshooting, claim the problem lies with your PC software or operating system. I reminded him Samsung is the world leader in flat screen product sales, in ratios of up to 9-1 over competitors (probably wider for Vizio sales).

He had no answer for that, and he asked to again place me on hold to "check with his manager". And, "Eureka", he came back with the revelation that a firmware fix was needed and due out, but he didn't know when. He then admitted there was a defect and quoted the exact issue from "what his manager told him". He wouldn't budge on my suggestion to replace the unit as another reviewer said was done in his case. When I told him that's an offer one Amazon reviewer received as good customer service, he said they did replace some in early cases before a firmware upgrade was developed.

I said that when a customer purchases his company's products they expect it to work and if it doesn't, to not have to tie up good money for a poor experience until a solution or fix is found, which presently has no target date.

Now, his attitude went from authoritative to meek, and he was flummoxed when I asked how would I ever know when the firmware upgrade was available. Of course I knew Vizio wouldn't send me a message by taking my name. You have to check..daily, weekly or maybe until eternity.

Of course, I returned the unit back to the point of purchase and cautioned the store clerks they might see more returns.
I suspect this huge discount store chain bought this batch under an early contract for some of the first units to roll out of the factory. I am a faithful and constant Amazon customer. Amazon stock may be of a later vintage, but at the time, the discounter I purchased from had a significantly better price, including local sales tax.

Vizio, if you are monitoring customer feedback, may I suggest you add some employee training on candor, and admit upfront there are problems with firmware early versions of this model. It's the only way to become truly mainstream as this product far and way produces great sound and solves a common problem with inexpensive soundbars with wireless bass only that can't produce room-filling 5.1 sound and eliminate wires to satellite speakers from the soundbar or amp.

To potential buyers: Be sure to check out your purchase thoroughly and return it asap if you have these symptoms, or if you experience similar problems, check to see if the firmware upgrade has become available. I'm impressed enough that I'll wait to buy this model from Amazon after a decent interval in the hope I'll get a later version that has had a firmware change or upgrade. Normally, if you report any malfunction to Amazon within the specified time, you'll be treated right, but, note the Amazon disclaimer on this product, "This item is non returnable". What prompts Amazon to make this caveat? What does it know we don't, or have they had to eat the return costs too many times for defective units?

And congratulations to those who made the choice and got a defect-free unit. I'll upgrade my rating level after I purchase a newer model version.

UPDATE: 9/7/2013: Vizio has finally acknowledged and reacted to complaints by adding a firmware update to address this problem. Here is an excerpt from the Vizio website: "Firmware update version 1017 for the VIZIO S4251w-B4 Sound Bar. Download and follow the instructions below to update your S4251w-B4. This update addresses audio dropout on some units when changing channels using your Cable or Satellite Set Top Box. If you do not experience this issue, it is not necessary to update your sound bar."

Nonetheless, I'll upgrade my rating by one-star but not amend my overall description of the problem in the interest of alerting buyers who purchase remaining stock with this problem. I am encouraged now to the point I will repurchase the unit. It is great sound for the money.

Update: 10/6/2013
I'm updating my rating one level to 4-stars now that I have repurchased this model. So far, it is glitch free but I have the Vizio website download file for the firmware fix on a USB thumbdrive in case it's needed. Can't rate it perfect because the buyer shouldn't experience this with a new product and then have to arm-wrestle the U.S. customer service rep until he finally admits they knew of the glitch all along and there will be a fix at an as-yet undetermined date -- despite the fact, you now have their unusable product and a debit on your credit card. Until confronted, he was perfectly satisfied to let me end the conversation with his apology that I had a bad experience and to send it for repairs under warranty. Show more respect for your customers, Vizio.

Update: 2/11/2014 - Be sure to visit the Vizio website and download and install the latest firmware upgrade. Should fix problems with earlier versions of this model if switching between peripheral inputs such as DVD, SmartTV sources (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc) and DVD players and main TV or HDMI source for your cable set-top box and DVR AND the soundbar can't find audio. From Vizio support site: "Firmware update version 1017 for the VIZIO S4251w-B4 Sound Bar. Download and follow the instructions below to update your S4251w-B4. This update addresses audio dropout on some units when changing channels using your Cable or Satellite Set Top Box. If you do not experience this issue, it is not necessary to update your sound bar."
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579 of 638 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5.1 made easy!, July 11, 2013
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
If you'd asked me a couple years ago which 5.1 sound system to buy, my answer would have been simple: "none."

They were a big expensive pain. It seemed like my friends who had these systems would either have them only half set up (say, ditching the surround speakers) or fully set up but not used (because the input selection or the remote was too much of a pain). My previous roommate had a 5.1 "surround" system - with all five speakers under the TV. We rarely used it because we had to change 3 settings in 3 different places to make it work.

Let's review the misery of yesterday's 5.1 systems, shall we?

1) You needed to place and wire six speakers: left, center, right, left surround, right surround, plus a bass module. That's a lot of wires, speaker stands, and connections.
2) To connect the left and right surround speakers, you needed to run wires across your seating area. That's pretty ugly unless you go through the effort to make conduits or buy a special rug.
3) You needed to purchase a separate receiver to power those speakers - and connect it too.
4) You paid for all that - an absolute minimum of $400, with nicer gear easily double that.
5) You needed to manage additional remotes and settings. Good luck if you ever asked a friend to change the volume.

Well, it's almost as though Vizio started with this list, and then eliminated these problems one by one when making this 5.1 soundbar. The soundbar itself combines Left, Center and Right channels into one thin module that will fit in front of your TV, assuming you use a TV stand with at least two inches of space there. There are no speaker stands or speaker wires, and no separate receiver - the amplifier is built in! The only wires are the ones you absolutely need: sound input (an optical cable in most cases) and power.

But what about the bass module and surround speakers? This is where the Vizio really shines. Low frequency sounds like those from the bass module cannot be well localized by the human auditory system. Simply put, you can place the bass module anywhere in the room, and it will sound nearly the same to a human. So why not place it behind your seating area where it can also connect to the surround speakers? Tada! You plug the bass module into a power outlet behind your seating area and the surround speakers into the bass module. No wires run across your living room. The audio signal is sent wirelessly, with pairing automatically set up when you plug in the bass module. Just try to keep the bass module within 60 feet.

But what about the remotes and connections? Again this product is one step ahead. Through an easy setup process, you can program the soundbar to respond to the volume commands from your TV remote. No need to dig up the sound bar remote. Now, even your drunk football buddy can change the volume. But what about turning the sound bar on and off? You must need the sound bar remote for that right? Nope. It also has a power saving feature, so it turns itself off automatically. To turn it back on, just turn up the volume on your TV remote. Genius: these three tweaks mean you don't even need the sound bar's own remote after day one. Something lots of other reviewers have noted (which I somehow took for granted) was that the remote includes a small LCD display to help you navigate options without commandeering your TV's UI or cluttering the appearance of the soundbar itself. Nicely done; other UI designers would do well to copy this.

A point for the fellow TV audio nerds out there: according to various internet sources, "most" televisions downmix the 5.1 audio signals they receive to stereo at their outputs, meaning that if you connect the optical audio output from the TV to a sound system, your sound system only gets two channels, even if the TV received 5.1 input. To work around the curse of those TVs, you need to plug the cable box / TiVo, Wii AND Blu-Ray player directly into your sound system, possibly using a switcher, which is a pain! However, there's good news here for Vizio TV owners like me: Vizio is one of the brands of TVs that outputs true 5.1 audio from its optical output. (Or at least it does on my VF550M which is a few years old.) I even borrowed a bitstream analyzer from a coworker and verified it. But you don't have to go that far to check on yours: the soundbar lights up with a "Dolby Digital" light for about two seconds when it detects a Dolby Digital bitstream, which is generally 5.1. Pretty cool.

Even if you don't give 5.1 input to this system, it can create 5.1 for you through a built-in upmixer provided by audio tech company DTS. Just give it stereo and the upmixer takes care of the rest. It's not as good as real 5.1 but it makes pretty good use of all the speakers. I enjoyed this feature when playing my iPod music on the system using its Bluetooth option. Which reminds me: this system has a Bluetooth option. It makes a damn loud party sound system, which Vizio claims outputs 102 dB SPL. I verified that it will indeed put out sound at or above what psychoacousticians call the "threshold of pain."

A few nits. First, the soundbar isn't quite as wide as I'd like: the left, center and right channels in it are all too close to each other. I use my sound bar with a 55 inch HDTV that I sit about 8 feet from. Unless I sit closer, audio from the sound bar generally fails to sound well "spread out." I kind of wish the sound bar would telescope so I could spread the left and right speakers wider! Second, when using Bluetooth the sound quality can be poor - kind of like a pirated MP3 rather than the high quality iTunes audio I'm streaming. I work around this by using the Spotify app on my TiVo to stream music directly from the internet to the soundbar. A final issue, which might be a soundbar bug or a weakness of digital audio in general, occurs when initiating or restarting digital audio, such as on Netflix or TiVo-played cable TV. The sound will either begin after a quick loud "snap" noise, or take a couple seconds to fade in after video has begun playing. Obviously, it should be instant and flawless.

The overall package though is a total winner. As you may know it's won consumer awards including a Best of CES award from CNET. It's priced aggressively at $330 and the convenience is liberating. I recommend buying it and freeing yourself from the headaches of yesterday's 5.1.
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192 of 226 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, with some livable quirks., May 19, 2013
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
I got this directly through the Vizio website when it finally came out and have very much enjoyed it.

Pros:
- Looks great, feels substantial.
- Great remote. You can see what you are doing in your hand, instead of squinting over to the unit. Why don't all companies do this?
- Sounds very good for a soundbar (better than my previous Samsung)
- Rear Speakers, yay! They make a big difference for movies. In music they quietly play along in stereo, which is nice.
- Easy to use! I can't stand complicated controls, these are simple.
- Bluetooth works great. I use my iPhone, and whenever I turn on the soundbar it automatically takes over the music playing on my phone, like my car does.

Cons:
- Subwoofer level is hard to tweak. If it is set good for movies, it's too loud for music, and if it's set good for music, it's too low for movies.
- Subwoofer has to be in the back, with the rear speakers. I think it would sound better if it could come from the front.
- It's hard to tell if the unit is turned on. The tiny LED just shines a bit brighter.

I think this is about as good value for money as you can get right now in soundbar world. Any serious upgrade in sound quality would require a lot more money.
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326 of 390 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Performance But Has Flaws, June 5, 2013
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
I was extremely excited to finally get my hands on this system from Vizio. I did a good amount of research before deciding to purchase the Vizio S4251w-B4. I also had to wait a little while to purchase this unit because these things were in great demand the first few weeks or so. I have now tested the item for about 3 weeks and here is the breakdown:

After removing everything from the box I was initially pleased by the look and feel of the sound bar , subwoofer and accompanying components. They were solidly built and did not look or feel cheap. It took me about 30 minutes to set up because I chose to mount the sound bar above my TV with some brackets I purchased off of amazon. This set up turned out to be a great choice and adds a nice look to my overall setup.

Once the sound bar was mounted everything else was a breeze to set up. I powered everything up and I began to fiddle with the sound settings. I bought this system for my home office, which is 12 x 14 feet, so I figured it would be ideal for the size of the room. I basically went down the list adjusting each speaker and it took about 20 minutes to determine the best sound for my ears.

I put the system through the gauntlet. I hooked my Apple TV (optic cable) and HD DVR cable box (Coaxial) up to the sound bar. I played all sorts of music like rap, rock, and R&B and it handled each type very well. I will say that the subwoofer wasn't able too handle the higher frequency of the bass in certain music. I could hear the details in the music and the voice clarity was on point. I also cranked it up and the sound quality did not diminish. The sound was not harsh like it would be in lesser products. I also watched Life of Pi (great movie) to test the movie experience and that's when the Vizio really came to life. The audio truly filled the room. I could hear all the sounds that we normally take for granted like falling rain, breaking glass, blowing wind, rustling in the bushes, and every click of a cocking gun. The sub also performed very well. It delivered a lively boom whenever it was called upon and it also shook the room. I was a little worried that I would be able to tell exactly where the bass was coming from, directionally, but it provided an experience like you would have at a movie theater. The vocal audio was also crystal clear.

There were some bugs that were readily noticeable as well. The first thing I noticed was that when running audio through the optical cable, using the apple tv, the sound would sometimes cut out when I stopped and started a movie on itunes or tv show when watching netflix. In order to get the audio to return I had to power the system off or switch the input. This may be an issue with the system having to re-transmit the audio signal or something. Also, when I pause something I'm watching the audio doesn't immediately return. It slowly fades back in while the video continues. This may be an issue with select units because I've read other reviews and most don't mention these issues or they haven't experienced them yet. These flaws are things I can live with for now but I may return it for a replacement unit real soon, once i have time. I have 3 months to do so.

Overall, i would recommend this product to a friend in spite of the bugs because it truly does perform very well for the price. Good job Vizio!
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 5.1 surround sound for the price., December 31, 2013
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
ATTENTION PEOPLE WHO CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO PREVENT THE SOUND BAR FROM GOING SILENT INBETWEEN CHANNEL CHANGING/inbetween cutscenes in a game:::
I have seen several people mention that they dislike how the sound bar automatically seems to turn off the moment it stops receiving any audio signal, even if it's very brief. I have even read how some customers ended up returning the product because they couldn't figure out how to turn off this feature. Reading the manual I found the solution where I least expected it. You can turn off this automatic default feature by turning off the VZtv Rmt setting. For some reason, they combined the automatic sound bar turn off with the VIZIO TV remote setting. Anyways, once you turn it off the soundbar no longer automatically turns off when changing channels or in-between custcenes while playing a game.

As for the rest of the product: It's great as long as you plug it in correctly. If you do not see the DOLBY DIGITAL /DTS light when you turn on your sound bar and TV, then it's because your tv is not outputting true 5.1 sound. Yes, your sound bar will automatically create a faux 5.1 surround, but for the real 5.1 quality you will have to connect your soundbar directly to whatever you are using to stream or play movies and not the TV.

Something else I haven't seen other users mention is how shows you may be watching via a streaming service, such as Netflix and Crunchyroll, will not output true 5.1 even though all the settings are set up correctly and the soundbar is lit up with the DOLBY/DTS light. It seems to be because the show you are trying to stream isn't calibrated to output at true 5.1 for whatever reason and you end up not having any output in the satellite speakers. To get around this I take advantage of the previously mentioned faux 5.1 surround that you hear when you connect your soundbar directly to the tv.

This is how my setup works so that I choose between true 5.1 and the faux 5.1 depending on what I'm watching:
I have both my PC and my PS4 connected to my TV.
I have my Sound Bar connected via optical cable to my PS4 for true 5.1, which I use for playing games, movies, and streaming services.
Additionally I have component cables connecting my sound bar to my TV for when something I am streaming on my PS4 isn't outputting true 5.1 and I want to switch to the faux 5.1, or for when I am using my TV to watch content I downloaded on my PC. You will have to change some computer settings to have your PC send audio signal to your TV for the component cables to pickup and send to the Soundbar.
Just use the remote control to switch which input you want to use for sound for what you watching (Optical Cable for true 5.1, Aux for faux 5.1).
You'll want to pump up most of the sound settings from 7 to like 9s and 11s though to get the best sound output.

NOTE:::: When I connected my Sound Bar directly to my PS4, I noticed the TV was no longer in sync to the sound. This was quickly resolved by locating and selecting the "GAME (standard)" viewing mode on my tv. Apparently if your TV has some special effects that it applies to what you are viewing, it may cause the picture to go out of sync with the sound. Selecting the GAME view mode on your TV automatically disables any special effects your TV may be trying to apply so that it resolves any sync issues.

Well that about covers it. I tried to discuss the technical stuff that I didn't see other users mention. It's a great buy and great value. Great product. 5stars.
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54 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Surround if you have surround out on your source., June 17, 2013
By 
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
update:

I have this for a little over 2 months now and it is still working without any problem. I noticed that when you actually get a surround signal, a DolbyDigital or DTS light will show up for a few seconds then turn off. When you see this light this means that the source is actually sending the 5.1 signal to the unit thus producing a better sound separation. My TV downgrades everything to a 2.1 when the source is coming from an HDMI source. Streamed movie from Netflix sends a 5.1 signal when available. If I have to watch bluray, I have to switch the input source to get the sound directly from the BluRay to get the 5.1 sound. A lot of time, I forget to turn off the subwoofer after watching a Movie so it remains on all the time even if we are not using the unit just waiting for the signal from the main unit.

------------------------------------------------------
Original Review:

I only have this soundbar for a week so I can only share with you 1 week of experience. I bought this at Costco for $229 as they have a sale for their June coupon hence the lack of Verified Amazon Purchase for my review.

I originally want to just get a sound bar as I just want a good stereo speaker for Karaoke use and don't want to run any speakers around the house. However, the price of this product with coupon beats the price of the other soundbar that I am considering so I took the plunge and I am happy with my decision. If you are looking for a speaker stand for this unit to hide the wires, I suggest that you get the 'Pyle PHSTD1 Adjustable Height Home Theater Speaker Stands". The price is cheap but the construction is solid and hold this speaker well. Search for my review on the speaker stand.

Here's my experience on the sound bar.

1. Sound Bar: This unit produce a good sound. However, I really can't distinguish the separation from Front Left/Center/Right channel. You can feel the separation when you are standing close to the speaker but not on regular watching distance. I have heard a better left/right separation from the Sony CT60 demo product that they have at Costco display. This could be due to the sound source that I have or the unit itself. The sound goes loud even on lower setting. So this is good for my need. Like what I said in the beginning, I purchase this to upgrade the TV speaker for Karaoke not really for surround experience.

2. Subwoofer: The sub produces a nice base sound for my needs. The manual says that it should come in paired with the bar already but I have to pair mine to make it work. I was playing with the unit and have to reset it twice to the manufactures setting, the first time I reset the unit, I have to pair the sub again but the second time I reset the unit, the sub works just fine. So, I'm not sure if the sub is just losing connection to soundbar or if there may be different codes that the units work and it is a hit an miss when you reset the unit. Anyway, once it is paired, I did not have any problem losing connection again. I have the sub hidden on the side of the couch behind a coffee table and you really can't tell where the sub is coming from. It just feels like it is part of the front speakers when you have 2.1 setup or part of the whole surround when you have surround activated.

3. Sattelite/Surround ON: The sattelite speakers adds a new dimension to our movie experience. Unlike the front speakers where you don't distinguish the left/center/right channels, the sattelite speakers clearly separates the sound. As I played some sample file from Dolby website, streamed to my LG bluRay player, my kids were turning left to right and/or looking behind to figure where the sound is coming from. There are sample that produces a lot of rumbling from the base with sound going around front to right to left and my kids like me to repeat the video over and over because they say that they are riding a roller coaster. The surround really feels like a 3.1 (front/Right Rear and Left Read plus the sub) instead of a 5.1 but it is a lot better than just having a loud speaker in the front. I did not measure the wire that came with the satellite speaker but I think it may be around 13 feet. I mount the speaker into the speaker stand so I can hide the wires and I only have about a foot allowance from 1 end of the couch to the other end with about 4ft wire hidden on the pole.

4. Remote: The remote works well for me. Other reviewers said that if you are not pointing the remote in the bar that you don't really know which mode you are in or mode you are changing. This is false because the remote will not change anything on your setup unless the bar receives the signal. I'm not sure how to explain this clearly but let say that the remote was it treble mode and you press the menu to make change to the Bass mode without pointing it to the soundbar it will not change any setting on your unit until the soundbar gets the signal. Now, after realizing that you are not making any change to your unit, you point the remote to the bar and press the + or - button, the unit will pickup what setting you wanted to change and adjust those settings accordingly.

The system also work with my LG TV remote and my Uverse Remote out of the box. This may be good news for some but not for others. My TV produces enough sound for regular TV viewing so I don't need the soundbar all of the time. I only need to use the soundbar for Karaoke and Movie viewing. If you want to use this unit as your main speaker then all you have to do is disable the TV speaker or just let the TV speaker run with the soundbar speaker. If you don't want to use the soundbar 100% of the time then you will have to turn the VizioRemote settings to "OFF". If you have Universal Remote that you can use an Aux button to control volume then you can program that button separately. This does not work for my Uverse remote as the Uverse Remote volume control only controls the TV volume. I tried to make the system learn another button from Aux option to no avail.

5.Blue Tooth: I was able to pair this on my cell phone without any problem and played music using the TuneIn Radio app. The connection is solid on the first floor. I was also able to bring my phone to the 2nd floor and still get good connection. The only time I lost the connection was when I put the phone at the farthest place I put my phone on the 2nd floor unit. Giving that they say that bluetooth range is 30 ft. I can say that it exceeded that range.

Note: Not all TV's output a 5.1 surround. Most TV's downgrade the 5.1 signal to 2 channel PCM so if you hook this directly to your TV, you may not get true surround experience. I have my TV hooked up to Optical, my blueRay to Digital Audio and my Karaoke to the RCA. When I have the surround "ON" The Karaoke (RCA hookup) produces the same output level to all speakers, The TV (Optical hookup) which downgrade audio to 2 channel seem to create a faux surround (I hear the audio clearly through the front channel speakers and the satellite speaker produces the background music and other sound), the BluRay player produces a real surround experience where you will feel the sound move in between the speakers.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good one stop audio solution!, May 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The evolution of the HTIB (Home Theater in a Box) product has seemingly reached it's zenith with this latest offering from Vizio.

Everything you need to enhance the sounds of your TV and movie viewing is in a rather large box shaped like a giant hedge trimmer! You get their venerable 54 inch Soundbar with all the latest features Vizio offers. It pairs wirelessly with the included Sub and 2 Satellite surrounds to make a perfectly functional 5.1 system.

Connection and operating instructions are clear and to the point. Everything came well packed and all units inside the box were in mint condition. Build quality is good and the entire system as a whole is attractive to look at. For what is basically an evolved HTIB system, this offering from Vizo pushes the limits of what you can expect both in features and in quality. It's good, really good.

While I readily admit to using a Klipsch/Denon 5.1 system in my main viewing room, the Vizio VIZIO S5451 system has found a home in our large guest bedroom. I would conservatively estimate this system could provide more than adequate sound levels for most homes and applications. While not audiophile quality, the sound is a giant leap forward from your HDTV speakers and any HTIB product I have ever used to date. It truly is a one box solution for all your home theater sound needs.

The Soundbar can decode most all of the current formats and even provide simulated surround encoding for stereo source material. The remote is well thought out and as included remotes go, it is very nice. Again, I admit to using a Harmony One Universal remote for all my remote needs, but the Vizio remote is a cut above most. It works well, looks nice and does everything you would hope it would do.

The Soundbar will handle your left/right and center channels, while rear channels and LFE are handled by the "wireless" sub and small surround speakers. Be aware that while there are no wires needed to connect the rear speakers and sub to the sound bar, they DO need to be connected to each other and to AC power. (Soundbar of course requires AC as well) While not earth shattering, the included subwoofer provides a decent bass anchor for the entire system and blends seamlessly. The entire system is well thought out and sounds quite balanced to my ears.

While Vizio does not publish the actual watts ratings for their sound bars, they DO publish the achievable SPL (sound pressure level) you can achieve and believe me, it is more than sufficient for most users. They are advertising 105db and while I don't have a sound meter handy, I would have to say it is pretty close. Basically you can get to the point where everything is TOO loud but still without noticeable distortion. Nice.

All the rear panel connection are well thought out and work as expected. You can go to Vizio's website and download the manual for more detailed info. Suffice it to say, if you use a cable box or DVR plus a Blu Ray Player and perhaps a gaming system and want everything going thru the same sound system with minimum hassle and minimum wires, then this system is definitely worth a very serious look.

About the only thing I can not comment on is the value. This is because my review unit has no price listed and the system has not been priced on Amazon as of yet. Vizio has made their reputation by offering high value for money and I think I can safely assume that this is the case with this set-up as well.

If you need more than this system can provide, then you will be looking at separate speakers, sub and amp plus a TON of wiring. This system is by far the easiest way to go and will give you some pretty decent room filling sound. (trust me on this one, it is LOUD when you want it to be)

VIZIO S5451w-C2 54-Inch 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Surrounds is a one stop solution for your home theater audio needs. You can believe the advertising on this one. It kicks some serious butt, looks very good and does everything it claims it can do. And maybe even a bit more.

As such, it is recommended by ME, Marty G
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I received a lemon...and I am stuck with it....after 5 weeks of ownership it conked out...Vizio does not support this product, February 25, 2014
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
In the beginning of January I purchased this sound bar after several weeks of studying and price-checking. I have had never had a Soundbar or a Vizio product before and was so incredibly excited for this to come in since I had bought a 51" Samsung Plasma TV back in December (2013). I purchased the Soundbar System and the product was delivered in a timely fashion.

The set-up was easy, but it did take a while for my fiancé and I to figure out why we couldn't really hear any "surround sound." Our remote that was given to us was not very good. Sometime it took several pushes of the same button to get the menu to switch from Bass to Treble; and then another 3 or 4 pushes on the remote to get it to move to Surround Sound, etc. Because this product was new to us it took awhile for us to figure out that we had a defective remote, but it in the end we could make it work. Not a big deal.

What is a BIG DEAL is that after 5 weeks of ownership AUX 2 and the Digital inputs stopped working. The only input we used from that point on was the optical, which did work and still does. I called in to Vizio and I was told to just plug all of my components into the TV and run the optical to the Soundbar from the TV. Everything I had read (and I am not an expert) was that this is the last thing you want to do. I read that most TV's will not put out the Surround Sound as it was intended in the 5.1 mode if you set it up in the manner Vizio suggested to me. That the best way to accomplish this is to plug each component to your TV, but the sound should go directly to the Soundbar.

After spending $300 for this product I was surprised to hear Customer Service tell me to just ignore the inability to use Surround Sound. I told them that I am not an expert, but I am not a novice either, and that I knew what they were telling me was not right. Had I been an older man or woman I am sure I would have believed them and let it go. It makes me really uncomfortable knowing that this was their first attempt to help me with my issue. That if this was my Dad, he would have been taken advantage of...

Now that they were aware that I am not a novice, I was walked thru a "power re-boot" of the system. Great! Everything worked! I was happy that my fiancé & I would be watching a movie thru the Roku that night. So, two hours later, I set up the Roku and Vizio system to play and the Vizio product had conked out once again. I was so frustrated after spending all of that time on the phone with them earlier in the day. I went thru the steps of a system re-boot once again, only this time it did not work.

I called Vizio again to let them know what was going on. I also made them aware that the bottom covering of my Soundbar was drooping, and sent them a picture of the space that existed between the Soundbar and the bottom paneling. I had no intention of bothering Vizio with my Remote Control issues and the bottom paneling, until the system stopped working properly - again. In regards to the paneling, I was asked if I could push it back up to see if I could snap it back in place. Really? I am supposed to push the plastic paneling back up and hope it snaps in place? I was nervous that if I did that I could break it and then all of a sudden this problem is my fault. I took the leap and tried anyways, but to no avail. The paneling is still not flat and it will not snap back into place. I never even told them about the Remote Control issues because it seemed so unimportant compared to the rest of my issues.

After Vizio received my pictures of the product (as I was asked to do) and reviewing my issues with the "supervisors," I was told that they would happily do an exchange. After all of this, I was ready for an exchange. BUT HERE IS THE KICKER!!!

I WAS GIVEN TWO OPTIONS. GIVE THEM A CREDIT CARD, ONE THAT IS NEITHER ATTACHED TO A BANK, NOR A PREPAID CARD. THEY WOULD HOLD $300 ON THE CARD AND ONCE I RECEIVED THE NEW PRODUCT, I COULD PACKAGE THE LEMON IN THE PACKAGING THAT WOULD ARRIVE WITH THE NEW PRODUCT. ONCE THEY RECEIVE THE RETURN, THE $300 HOLD WOULD BE LIFTED.

I PURCHASHED THIS SOUNDBAR WITH A CREDIT CARD OTHER THAN WHAT THEY ALLOW TO DO RETURNS ON. SO VIZIO WILL TAKE YOUR MONEY FROM ANY ONE OF YOUR CARDS FOR AN INITIAL PURCHASE, BUT WILL MAKE IT VERY CHALLENGING FOR A RETURN.

MY OTHER OPTION IS TO RETURN THE LEMON ON MY OWN. THE BOX ALONE FOR A PRODUCT THIS SHAPE IS ABOUT $50 FOR THE SOUNDBAR (NOT INCLUDING THE SUBWOOFER AND SATTELITE SPEAKERS WHICH WOULD HAVE TO BE BOXED SEPERATELY FROM THE SOUNDBAR). BETWEEN THE WEIGHT OF THE PRODUCT AND THE BOXES NEEDED TO RETURN THEM IN, IT WILL COST ABOUT ONE HALF OF WHAT I PAID FOR INITIALLY FOR THE PRODUCT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!

Sorry for the capital letters folks but I needed to get this point across and I hope others will heed my warning. There was a time when my system was working that I was so happy with the product, and agreed with many of the other positive reviews listed here. Never in my life have I written a review this long, and I have only written a few product reviews in the past (I am now 40).

I cannot be more disappointed with Vizio and the customer service that they offer. I am so frustrated that I wasted $300 and there is nothing I can do about it. Not once did it cross my mind that I would get a defective piece, and then get stuck with it. This whole thing is a sham. I do believe in karma, so either karma is coming back to bite me for something I did in my college years maybe, or maybe karma will come back and bite Vizio. I am half-kidding about that but, either way, how could I ever buy a Vizio product again? I don't trust them and I am out a Soundbar...what a terrible experience.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Hours at Vizio's Bar, May 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Whether evaluating presentation, performance, ease of operation, versatility, this Vizio Sound Bar is without a doubt one of the best you can get these days at this price level. It's a large sound bar plus subwoofer and satellite speakers set that support just about any type of 'wired' connection including HDMI out with ARC and can also pair and play off Bluetooth supporting devices such as phones or tablets.

Just to get it out of the way, I am going to start with the negatives, few as they are and will follow with a detailed description of what you are getting. So, here are the negatives:

- Partially wired. The satellite speakers are in fact wired to the subwoofer, probably a small price to pay for true surround.
- 5.1 surround, not 7.1 or 7.2. Yes, it's a sound bar, not a full surround speakers set.
- Can't play off USB thumb drives or SD cards directly. You will need some Bluetooth device for that.

And that's it, all the negatives I can think of so let me discuss the system overall.

PRESENTATION AND PACKAGING

As I noted above, this is a massive set and Vizio did an excellent job to get everything in a neatly organized box with all components clearly labeled and easy to locate. This is what's in the box:

∙ the 54" bar
∙ subwoofer
∙ 2 satellite speakers
∙ remote control and batteries
∙ cables: optical, stereo RCA 3.5 mm, coax, HDMI, 2 satellite speaker, 2 power cables
∙ mounting hardware: 2 sound bar wall mount brackets, 2 sound bar wall mount lugs, 2 satellite speaker wall mount brackets, 2 satellite speaker wall mount lugs
∙ wall mount template
∙ 4 Velcro cable ties
∙ Quick Start Guide

All of the above are quality items and I experienced near zero frustration getting them out of the box. Even better, just in case you may wish to return your purchase, there is a nice diagram on the box that shows exactly where everything is so, for as long as you don't destroy the Styrofoam it should be easy to get everything back in.

SETUP

Getting everything to work was quick and easy.

The Manual is very well written and it covers and illustrates the speakers layout, mounting and how everything is connected. It explains clearly how to use the HDMI's ARC feature with your TV (make sure that the TV supports it if you are going to buy a new one) and how to wire several devices to the bar, taking advantage of its many ports.

By the way, you get: RCA Analog Audio In, Optical, 3.5mm Analog Audio In, Digital Coax Audio In, HDMI Out (ARC), HDMI In and USB. And, of course you can pair wirelessly via Bluetooth. The bar supports aptX, allowing real-time streaming of high quality stereo audio over Bluetooth.

OPERATION

The set comes with a great, simple and effective remote control. It really comes down to selecting the proper input and then let it roar, so to speak. The manual explains how you can integrate the system into another 'universal' remote. I haven't tried that yet but it appears to be very much the standard remote 'learning' process.

The subwoofer has a wireless link to the main bar which was properly set in my case but, just in case, there is a pair button also. All wires are properly labelled and, as I noted already, the manual explains how you can have several devices connected. All was quickly done for my experimental setup involving a TV and a gaming console.

When paired with a Bluetooth device, your phone or tablet or laptop have complete control over what is playing on the bar.

PERFORMANCE

Getting to the final question of 'how does it sound', the brief answer is 'it sounds grrreat'. Thanks to the satellite speakers, this is true 5.1 surround, not a simulation and it's done through some good quality hardware.

Talking specs, this is what you get:

∙ Sound pressure Level (system): 104 dB
∙ Frequency response (system): 45 Hz - 20 KHz
∙ 2 3" full range transducers (bar, one left and one right)
∙ 2 3x6" bass radiators
∙ 3" full range transducer (bar, center)
∙ 2 3" full range transducers (one per each satellite)

SUPPORT AND WARRANTY

Vizio promises lifetime support for the product to cover setup, connecting and technical problems. They also have a one-year limited warranty.

RATING

I have no choice but award Vizio's bar 5 stars because I love it. It's as close to ideal for anyone looking for a 'serious' bar to work with a large TV that delivers great surround and plays off mobile devices.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sound cuts out, May 27, 2013
This review is from: VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (Electronics)
I had been waiting for this sound bar for months. Extremely excited to see it available at Best Buy this weekend. Picked it up for $328 plus tax, took it home, hooked it up in fifteen minutes, immediately noticed a major problem. The sound cuts out. When watching TV, playing Xbox, or when watching blu ray, the sound will cut out and I'll have to turn the speakers off/on to fix the problem. I've got it hooked up with an optical cable from the TV and a digital coax cable from the blu ray and it cuts out using both, so the cables are not the problem. Vizio customer service recommended setting all outputs to PCM. All outputs were already set to PCM when they made that suggestion, so clearly that is not the problem. The overall sound of this bar is pretty good, considering it's limitations. Basically, for a sound bar that's less than $400, the sound is remarkable. Until they can figure out why the sound cuts out, however, I'll have to stick with a one star review for this product.
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VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers
$329.99 $260.48
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