It's no secret that CES is a time for new technologies and product unveils, though 24 hours before the doors open on the international trade show we've gotten the scoop on a couple of new soundbars coming in 2013 from Vizio. Many of you know -for better or worse -that soundbars are a rapidly growing segment
of the specialty AV space with practically every manufacturer offering a soundbar solution or two. Along with being one of the industry's top manufacturers of HDTVs, Vizio is the industry leader when it comes to soundbars -based on sales that is. This fact has lead Vizio to focus more energy on audio quality in 2013, beginning with the first quarter release of their new line of soundbars. All of the new soundbars will be designed to match their current crop of HDTVs as well as their soon to be released M-Series designs. Sizes will range from 29-inches in length to 54-inches in order to better pair with HDTVs ranging in size from 32-inches on up to 60
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The soundbars will be available in a wide range of configurations starting with 2.0 and topping out at full 5.1 with the addition of both a wireless subwoofer and two rear or surround channel speakers (not wireless). The new soundbars will be accompanied by an all new remote; one that takes the small display generally found on the front fascia of the soundbar itself and puts it square in your hand. This makes across the room adjustments far simpler not to mention keeps the visual appearance of the bar itself more or less intact. All new soundbars will come with Bluetooth, Dolby Digital and DTS decoding as standard as well as all the requisite cables, mounting hardware and more necessary to enjoy its performance straight out of the box.
The first soundbar to be released in the new series is a 42-inch model; the S4251W-B4. This soundbar is said to be available sometime late in the first quarter and will retail for $329.00, though I've been told by Vizio execs that the street price will be lower. For your $329 you get all the before mentioned features plus the six and a half inch wireless subwoofer and rear channels. The soundbar itself is an L/C/R design meaning it does have a left, center and right driver array. The left and right channels are comprised of two, three inch bass/midrange driver coupled to a single, three-quarter inch tweeter. The "center channel" is comprised of two, two and a half inch full-range drivers. Vizio claims their new soundbar is capable of sound pressure levels up to 102dB with less than one percent total harmonic distortion. The rear channels that are included in the $329 asking price feature a single two and a half inch driver each.
Later in the year Vizio will release a new, 54-inch soundbar that will feature not only the same features described above but will also add HDMI connectivity as well. No official price or model number was given on the 54-inch soundbar though it will be on display at CES, so be on the lookout for Home Theater Review's coverage for more information.