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VIZIO SB4051-C0 40-Inch 5.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (2015 Model)
VIZIO SB4051-C0 40-Inch 5.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers (2015 Model)
Price: $228.00
35 used & new from $104.90

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Budget 5.1 Channel Option for Small to Mid-Size Rooms, September 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Although I am not a hardcore audiophile, sound quality matters to me. I tend to buy upper-middle tier audio products that (for my purposes) offer 90% of the performance of the high-end stuff for a 40% of the price. When I picked up a 55inch 4k TV for my master bedroom on Prime Day, my plan was to set up a 5.1 sound system using an older pioneer VSX-820 that I had from my living room set up and a set of Energy Take Classic speakers that I planned to buy for $300.00 that from Amazon Warehouse. Unfortunately, my wife vetoed the plan. She didn't want all the speakers, wires and complicated components that would require the use of our finicky harmony remote or, worse, multiple remotes. She told me me that after spending $900 on the TV, the surround system is out of the question. I lost the fight---or so I though. Fast forward to August 6. After mounting to the wall of our bedroom, my wife finally realized how bad tv speakers. We were quasi-binge the latest season of Downtown Abbey off of Amazon Prime and she kept asking me to rewind the scene because she missed what was said. After two weeks of living with crappy 10w downfiring speakers, she admitted that the audio on the TV sucked, but she didn't want a 5.1 system in the bedroom. I suggested that we can improve things with a soundbar, which would work off the same remote as the tv/cable box and wouldn't all the wires and equipment we have in the den. She said as long as I kept it under $300, she would be ok with it. YES!!! Victory was sort of mine! :)

I started shopping for soundbars--keeping the budget in mind. I could have probably gone up another $100-150 bucks over her budget, but that was the limit. I was initially drawn to the vizio 4051 because it is a true 5.1 channel system, but I was warded off by the luke warm review on CNET--which suggested some other 2.1 systems as being better alternatives. I, therefore, focused on the YamahaYAS-203, YAS-105 (hooked up with to an 8" sub that I already owned) and a YPS-1400 (entry level sound projector system). I actually bought the YPS-1400 on sale from Costco for $199.00 (great value), but it didn't have the power for the rooms I wanted to use it in and the acoustics in our rooms weren't a good fit for sound projector technology. I also considered the Sony CX780, Pioneer SB23W and Klipsch SB-10, which I was fortunately to be able to test a large electronics store in NYC--since none of the Best Buy near me didn't have the YAS-203 or Pioneer SB23W in stock and available for listening. The Sony had great connectivity and clean sound, but a narrow soundstage. The pioneer sounded great for music, but the soundstage was not great for TV/movies and the connectivity options are weak. The Klipsch also had weak connectivity option (optical only), but really nice sounding front soundstage--it was also over my budget.

Enter the Vizio SB4051. Although CNET gave the Vizio a "meh" review, I was intrigued by the 5.1 channel system with HDMI input (with ARC and CEC control) . When Amazon offered this bar for the bargain basement price of $219 in August "new" with prime shipping, I decided to give it a shot. I am glad I did!!1 Unlike every other soundbar system you can buy for less than $1000, the Vizio offers a true 5.1 channel solution with soundbar that includes three separate channels for front left center right and a separate subwoofer with wired connections for two included rear satellite channels.


In anticipation of writing this review, I decided to test the system first in our large family room (19' x 17', with a 12' ceiling) before moving it to our our master bedroom bedroom (18' x 15.5', with an 8.5' ceiling). I think it took me longer to unbox the system than to hook it up (10 minutes to neatly unbox [in case I needed to return it] and 5-10 minutes to set up. I was particularly impressed with the generous accessories package Vizio provides with the bar, which includes all the wires you could need (toslink, hdmi, component) and a mounting kit for the sound bar and two satellite speakers. The sub connects to the bar by bluetooth, and the satellites connect to the subwoofer via a single RCA connection. The included RCA wires are long enough for almost any install, but you can't wire them through most universal speaker stands without modifications. Set up itself was as simple as could be. Plug the included hdmi cable in the HDMI ARC input/output on the TV. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI ARC input on the soundbar. Then plug the power cord into the soundbar and then into the power outlet. Put the Subwoofer in the back corner of the room, with the front facing 6" driver pointed the center of the room and plug it into a electrical outlet. The sub syncs up automatically to the sounbar without any work on your part. Finally, hook up the surround satellite speakers to the subwoofer using the two included (and color coded) RCA cables and position them so they are are behind the listening position and spread out they are 10-15 feet apart.

Once the system is all plugged, go to the TV menu and go to the Settings option. Turn on the ARC and CEC functions. Although this is a standard protocol in all TV's made in the past 4 or 5 years, some makers use their own proprietary names for these functions. Vizio is kind enough to call it ARC and CEC in its menu. All other companies seem to use their own proprietary names for the same universal functions. Sony calles it Bravia Link. Sharp calls it Aquos Link. Samsung has a few names for it, including Anylink-CEC, Anynet, Samsung Link depending on the model and production year of the TV. Panasonic refers to it as Viera Link. LG calls it Simplink. Regardless of your tv's name for this function, go the menue on the tv an turn the CEC function on an set ARC to either auto or on, depending on your TV's options. Then set the sound output to bitstream to get 5.1 channel output through the HDMI. LPCM will only be output by your TV in 2 channels, not the 5.1 you want for this system. [Note: if you are using an older TV that does not support HDMI ARC, you will need to use the toslink cable--which may limit you to 2 channel LPCM output from your TV. You may find this to be the case with some smaller, no frills off brand tv's and tv's produced before 2010]. Once your TV is set up to output sound, click the input button on the Vizio 4051's remote until you have HDMI 6-ARC appears on the LCD screen on the remote and then press ok. The sound should flow to the soundbar and you should be able to turn the soundbar on and off and control the volume using your TV and/or cable remote. If so, JOB DONE!


I first gave the soundbar a test drive without the included sub and surrounds. The 4051 soundbar has three 2.75" full range drivers for the left, center and right front channels. Although Vizio claims the range for the right and left channels is 90hz-20khz and 120hz to 20khz for the center, I think these numbers are little optimistic (if not total BS). Without taking the soundbar apart, my guess is that this range reflects the cross-over settings Vizio is using and not the actual performance of the speakers. Although I didn't perform a computer analysis of the response curve, my experienced ears tell me these drivers crossover to the sub somewhere aound 150hz. Without the soundbar turned on, the frequency range of the sound bar is limited by the laws of physics. Although this 3"x 3" x 40" makes the soundbar sit comfortable below today's most popular TV's, it dimensions, solid but plastic build and lack of porting bites off the low end. Without the included sub, will soundbar will sound pretty good to most people (particularly compared to build in tv spearkers), but a critical listener might find the soundbar to be too bright and hollow on its own. On the other hand, Vizio's claim to 102db with less than 1% distortion sounds about right to me (and my SP meter). In other words, the bar can get LOUD, without noticeable distortion! Although it can "fill" a large room with sound, but don't expect a lot of separation from the front channels in a large room. Listening to the soundbar from 14 feet away in my living room setup, I was given the gift clean, high volume sound, but the sound stage seemed narrow. When I later moved the system to my master bedroom and listened from 7-8 feet away, the front stage separation improved noticeably--to the point where I would describe it as surprisingly wide (given the 40" spread of the LCR channels). I wouldn't confuse it for a traditional 5.1 setup up front, but it was much better that I expected given its performance in the family room.

Next I turned on the subwoofer, without the surrounds plugged in. I had the driver positioned in the back left corner of both the family room and bedroom with the front facing 6" driver pointed to the center for the room. Although the sub only has a small 6" driver, it was surprisingly powerful and filled in the low range well. Since the crossover is set high (I would guess 150hz) and the sub has to be located at the back of the room in order to use the rear surrounds, the sub occasionally sounded boomy in the family room. With bass heavy music, the sub did stick out as a separate speaker in the family room--even with every tweak I could add. I guess this was what the guys at CNET experienced and complained about in their review. In the bedroom setup; however, this situation improved dramatically because the sub was located a few feet closer to the bar and was aidd by the lower 8' ceiling. To the extent that the sub still stood out in the bedroom with the factory settings, I was also able to turn down the adjust the subwoofer level, bass and treble to the point where the sub melted into the soundscape and blended in perfectly with the front and surround channels. The difference between the sub's performance in the large family room and smaller bedroom was night and day.

Finally, I plugged in the two back surround channels. With a little tweaking to the surround level (which you can do from the remote--which also allows you to tweak the sub level, surround level and center channel level, as well as control delay from front to back), you can really dial this system in using the built in test tones. Using my SP meter and a laser tape measure, I dialed the system in as best I could.

In the large room set up; however, there was no way to make up for the lack of separation between the front three channels in the sound bar without the aid of the sub and satellites. The front sound stage felt constricted, although the surround channels did improve the overall ambiance and helped open the total soundstage up for the listener. Using the opening battle scene from Revenge the Sith played using a Panasonic BDT110 Bluray player in my family room, you could clearly hear the fighters move from back behind you across the sound stage from left to right--but the effect wasn't nearly as smooth and crisp as it is using my standard, traditional 5.1 setup. Nevertheless, it was still a huge improvement over what you would find in almost any other other soundbar though and superior to internal TV speakers. The thumbing sound of the star destroyers was also palpable, but I would liked to have a little more power on tap for a room this size. In the smaller bedroom set up, however, the difference between the vizio and a traditional 5.1 set up was less noticeable. The shorter distances improved the size of the sound stage. I also had the speakers positioned a little higher in the bedroom than in the family room (ear height, since I watch laying in bed) which helped. Sound was also aided by having 8' ceilings instead of 12'. Watching Revenge of Sith in bed (streaming in HD, 5.1 from Amazon) was a real treat. The movement of sound was smooth, the bass was strong, tight, but not boomy and the rear channels added immensely to the overall experience. The sound stage felt much larger than in the family room and I felt much more engaged in the action.

I also tested this soundbar for music. While it does sound good as a streaming speaker, music is not this soundbar's strong suit. It simply doesn't hold a candle to the Yamaha YAS-203 or Pioneer SB23. If you're looking for a soundbar to serve double duty for music and TV/Movies, those bars might be better options for you. If you're looking for a home theater type experience for movies and tv, the Vizio is in a league of its own in the sub-$1000 price range. If only we Yamaha and/or Pioneer could build an affordable 5.1 soundbar system using Vizio's models and their superior speaker designs and drivers.... but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for the immediate future.


While no soundbar (even a true 5.1 bar like the vizio 4051) is going to give you the type of soundstage and experience that even a budget traditional 5.1 system will provide, no other soundbar in the sub-$1000 range can touch the immersive 5.1 channel experienced offered by vizio's line of 5.1 soundbars. With respect to the 4051, I think it works best in a small to mid-size room under 280 square feet, with ceilings that are under 10'. In a large family room or a house with a open concept design, the system may not have the dimensions and power to satisfy critical listeners. Although I haven't been able to hear or test the larger 5451 bar, I think its 8" sub and extra 14" of length would make it a much better choice in any room over 240 sqft. Truth be told, I would have gone for the 5451 even for my bedroom setup if the price difference was $100 or so. However, at the time of my purchase, the 4051 was less than half the price ($219 versus $499), so I couldn't justify spending the extra money on the 5451. Taking price into account, the 4051 (whether at the $350 MSRP or $219 discounted price) is a vast improvement over native TV speakers that more than justifies the asking price.

Downton Abbey Season 5
Downton Abbey Season 5
Price: $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic., September 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fantastic continuation of a modern classic.

Sharp LC-55UB30U 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
Sharp LC-55UB30U 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model)
Offered by BFF Nation
Price: Click here to see our price
6 used & new from $824.51

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice TV that is priced well, otherwise but the Vizio M-Series is still a better choice, August 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased the Sharp LC-55UB30U as a Prime Day special offer for an excellent price ($799). For the price that I paid, this TV has excellent picture quality. The contrast is strong and colors are very accurate, once you play around with the settings. The upcaling of 480, 720 and 1080i/p content to 4k is also excellent. On the other hand, the sound quality is poor, so plan on buying a soundbar or using a surround sound system with this TV.

The Smart Central 3.0 system for streaming from various apps is less than ideal. The system is not intuitive and the number of apps is very limited. Although the advertisement from Sharp claims that the TV can stream 4k content from providers "like" Amazon and Netflix, this is HIGHLY misleading. While Amazon Instant Video does provide for 4k streaming of some material, this TV does not have an Amazon Instant Video app and no bluray, Roku, Kindle Fire TV etc. device will allow you to stream 4k content. You can stream 4k content from Netflix and YouTube (not that YouTube 4k is anything special), but that's it. The other big negative is the terrible remote. As one of the other reviewers pointed out, it's powered by watch/hearing aid type batteries and is woefully underpowered. You basically need to stand up and walk to the TV to increase the volume, access a menu etc. I ordered a sharp remote for one of the higher end lines which I believe (hope) will be compatible. Since the replacement remote uses the standard compliment of AAA batteries, I hope this will be a cheap fix for the poor remote range issue.

On the whole, I am still pleased with my purchase of the Sharp for $799 price. At full price ($950), I would suggest you go with the Vizio M55. I have a Vizio M60 and it is, overall, a much better television in every respect.

UPDATE 8/23/2015:

The replacement remote was a huge upgrade: Why Sharp didn't spend the extra few dollars to ship the UB30 with this remote is beyond me. They must realize their is a serious issue with the remote they shipped given the number of complaints, but I guess they think a cheap, slick looking remote matters more than functionality....until their customers have to pretend it's 1972 again and have to walk to their TV to change the volume or channel. I shouldn't have to spend $23 to get a functioning remote.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2015 5:08 AM PDT

Machine World (Undying Mercenaries Series Book 4)
Machine World (Undying Mercenaries Series Book 4)
Price: $4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, February 15, 2015
I love this series. Machine World is another strong edition!!

Syma X11 R/C Quadcopter - Red
Syma X11 R/C Quadcopter - Red
Price: $21.88
21 used & new from $18.88

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Micro Quad, December 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am an RC beginner and this is my first quad (having only flown a Syma S107G 3ch heli before). For a beginner (and even experienced rc pilots), this is a very enjoyable quad and for the $29.00 list price (I paid $27 from Amazon), it's a great value warranting a 5 star review. It is not, however, perfect. So, with that in mind, I am going to list the positives and negatives and let you decide:


1. Looks Great!: The X11 is nice micro which is very similar in size and design the uber-popular (and much more expensive) Hubsan X4. Syma has a really great reputation and is known to be one of the top RC makers in the Chinese toy rc segment. The Syma X11 only helps to enhance that reputation.

2. Smooth and Stable: his quad is very STABLE in the air and is designed to emphasize stability over performance/agility. You can bounce it off objects (which I do often) and keep on flying.

3. Durable: Although feels a little light-weight and flimsy, it is actually VERY durable. I have crashed this guy at least 50 times, with only a broken prop to show for it. The quad comes with spare props and additional spares can be purchased for about $2 shipped (for 2 sets). In my first outdoor flight, I was flying on high speed mode and got disoriented and slammed the X11 full Speed into a concrete building (at least 20 feet up) and having the quad crash down onto an asphalt road upside down. I flipped the quad over and off it went without a scratch. I have crashed it at least 50 times in the past couple of weeks with only a single broken prop to show for it.

4. Easy to Repair: Replacement parts are cheap and readily available from gearbest (not Amazon yet). I picked up 4 sets of spare props from gearbest for $5 shipped.

5. Great Endurance: The included 3.7v 200mah battery is good for about 7 minutes of flight time (depending on what you're doing), which is really good for such tiny battery. Fortunately, the X11 can easily handle a 380mah or 500mah battery, which are cheap and can be found on amazon (any battery that will work with a Hubsan X4 will work with the X11). Although the 500mah sticks out a little, it doesn't seem to effect flight characteristics and gives this quad a solid 12-15 minutes of flying time!! That's more than double the endurance of most micros and better than almost any other quad on the market.

6. Fast and Solid Performance: The motors on the X11 are the same units used on the Hubsan X4 and have great power for the weight of the quad (which is why it can handle a the weight of the 500mah battery). The X11 is, however, more powerful and efficient than its competitor because it uses a geared drive system common for larger quads, rather than the direct drive almost every other micro quad. In short, this is a fast little bugger and a solid outdoor performer, particularly with the heavier 500mah battery.


1. Yaw Rate: The biggest complaint I have is the slow yaw rate (how the turns on its axis), which doesn't get any faster in high speed mode. A slow yaw rate results in wider turns. This is a non-issue in outdoor flight, but in may living room it makes a big difference. Micro class quads are going to see a lot of indoor action and if Syma does a V2 version, they need to speed up the raw rate to match the rest of the quads performance.

2. Transmitter: This is a matter of personal choice, but I hate the Xbox 360 style controller and with this included the controller used for the X5C-1--much much better quality (it is compatible and can be ordered online for around $15). Nevertheless, the controller does what it's suppose to and has good range (although I haven't tested to see how far it will go before the signal drops).

3. LED Placement: The X11 has blue LEDs on the bottom of the front arms and red LED on the bottom of the back arms (and two blue LED "eyes" on the top of the housing). For night flying, they are ok so long as the quad is above your head. If you don't have altitude, it's easy to get disoriented. I would not recommend this for night flying.

4. Better High Low/Speed Indicator: Neither the quad nor the transmitter have a special indicator to let you know if you're in high or low speed. The beep is the same for both. I have had a bunch of crashes because I didn't realize it was in high when I was flying indoors.


I LOVE this little guy. I am still a noob and have yet to master banked turns etc. As a beginner quad for gaining all around experience, this is perfect! Once I feel like I am in full control, I'll move up to something with more size and power. However, I am in no rush because this is a fun quad. If you're just getting started or have experience and want a great, cheap micro, the X11 is a no brainer!

The Walking Dead, Season 5
The Walking Dead, Season 5
Price: $41.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, December 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Strongest season yet!

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street - Season 1
Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street - Season 1
Price: $28.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, November 25, 2014
Another well written show for children from Amazon. The whole family lives it!

Price: $0.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Serious Stability Issues, March 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: STARZ Play (App)
This app seriously needs a work over. The video freezes and the app crashes constantly on bith my Kindle Fire HDX's! The video quality is also subpar...SD at best. considering bow vood the HBO Go app is, starz needs to do some work!

Firefly Season 1
Firefly Season 1
Price: $29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series that Fox Killed For No Good Reason, February 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Ahhh... Firefly!!! One of the greatest Science Fiction/Westerns ever to grace the small screen. Unfortunately, Fox exercised terrible judgment in killing it off after 13 episodes. If only this could have been produced today, where it would have been featured on cable (FX, SyFy etc.) on something other than a lousy Friday night slot. I know this will never be brought back, but it would have been nice to at least have a quasi-spin off that takes place within the Firefly universe--perhaps with different characters and storyline. Summer Glau has been pretty quiet lately--I am sure they could use her as main character. :) Joss, I know you're busy with your movies, but food for thought???

Flick Golf Extreme
Flick Golf Extreme
Price: $1.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun!, December 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Flick Golf Extreme (App)
I am not of a gamer, but this a fun one. I ended up staying up 3 hours later than planned playing this stupid game. :-)

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