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Vizio Expands Soundbars, Adds Tabletop A/V Streamers

Las Vegas – Vizio expanded its soundbar selection to eight SKUs from six, launched its first under-TV speaker, and unveiled a pair of streaming tabletop A/V streamers that download apps from Google Play and stream audio and video from the Cloud.

Pricing, ship dates and additional details will be announced at a later date.

The AC/DC-powered players, called portable smart audio devices, incorporate Android 4.4 OS and 4.7- and 7-inch color touchscreens to download and control Android apps and stream the apps’ Cloud-based content via Wi-Fi 802.11n. Out of Wi-Fi range, the smart audio devices stream audio via Bluetooth and play back audio and video stored in embedded memory or on a USB-connected storage device.

By streaming content from the Cloud or by playing back locally stored content, the devices avoid a major disadvantage of Bluetooth-only speakers or speakers that dock physically with a smartphone or tablet, the company said. Those solutions often interrupt audio playback when incoming calls, emails, text messages or other notifications come through the smartphone or tablet, Vizio explained.

The smart audio device with a 7-inch display features an integrated handle. Both have built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Additional product details and pricing weren’t released.

In soundbars, the company is launching two models, including a second 54-inch-wide model designated as the S5451w-C2. It joins a 54-inch model shipped in December. Both are the company’s widest bars to date, and they match the width of Vizio TVs that measure 60 inches diagonally. The 54-inch soundbars are also designed for use with any TV measuring 55 inches and larger.

The second soundbar is a 38-inch wide model.

The bars join two other 38-inch models, the 54-inch model, two 42-inch models and a 29-inch model. One of the 42-inch models comes with wireless sub that goes in the back of the room and drives two surround speakers wired to it.

The new 54-inch bar features Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding and 5.1 discrete speaker channels via a wireless subwoofer that in turn drives two surround speakers wired to it. The bar also features Vizio Surround Matrix virtual surround technology, one HDMI input, one HDMI output with audio return channel, two analog audio ins, one coaxial in and one optical in.

Positioned as the company’s flagship, the new 54-inch bar will presumably be priced more than the $299 suggested retail of the company’s existing 54-inch bar, which features a three-speaker system and embedded passive radiators.

The new model delivers 104dB output with less than 1 percent THD and 35Hz bass response. Its DTS audio-enhancement technologies extend bass, improve detail, clarify vocals, and level out abrupt volume changes when audio sources or channels are changed or when programs transition to commercials.

Both 54-inch models are equipped with Bluetooth and AptX streaming over Bluetooth.

The second soundbar, the S3851w-C2, is the company’s first 5.1-channel 38-inch model, which is also equipped with wireless sub and subwoofer-connected surround speakers. It’s intended for TVs with screen sizes of at least 42 inches. It delivers 100dB output. Additional details were unavailable.

The under-TV speaker is the 21-inch 2.1 Home Theater Sound Stand, which is designed for placement under 23- to 50-inch TVs that weigh 50 pounds or less. It delivers up to 101dB of output and 60Hz bass. It comes with left and right drivers of about 2.5 inches in diameter and a built-in 5.25-inch subwoofer. Additional details were unavailable.