Vizio and several other TV suppliers have incorporated Google Cast technology in TVs in lieu of a full-fledged smart-TV platform. Unlike smart TVs running a smart-TV OS, Google Cast TVs don’t run embedded streaming audio and video apps. Instead, consumers launch one of more than 1,300 Google Cast-enabled audio, video or gaming apps on their smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, or Mac or Windows laptop. Users select songs from the app, and a Cast-enabled TV streams the content directly from the Cloud.
Likewise, Vizio’s new Wi-Fi-equipped soundbars, which are priced from a suggested $179 to $499, don’t incorporate embedded audio-streaming apps. Instead, they connect to the Cloud to stream audio content selected by Cast-enabled audio apps running on a mobile device.
See also: What Drives TV Makers To Google Cast
Vizio also plans to introduce Google Cast-equipped tabletop Wi-Fi speakers.
For audio products, Google Cast delivers access to more streaming services than soundbars with embedded streaming apps, Google has said. And with Cast’s recently launched multiroom capability, users can play back the same song in multiple rooms at a time. Consumers can also direct music from different Google Cast apps simultaneously to different rooms.
Vizio isn’t the first company incorporating Google Cast in a soundbar or other audio product. Sony offers multiple soundbars with Google Cast, but they also feature embedded apps. Multiple A/V receivers and Wi-Fi wireless multiroom audio speakers also incorporate Google Cast for audio.
Bar features: Vizio’s bars come with a free iOS and Android Smart Cast app to control the soundbars via Wi-Fi from anywhere in the house. The app lets users search, browse and discover content across multiple apps as well as play, pause, change volume and access all of a bar’s settings. All bars also ship with an LCD display remote to control basic functions.
All of the new bars also incorporate Bluetooth, and four of the nine are 5.1 models with included wireless surround speakers. Four bars, including the flagship model, come with compact 3-inch-tall subwoofer suitable for placement horizontally beneath a sofa or vertically next to a sofa.
All but the $219 model have one HDMI in and one HDMI out. Details of the bars’ surround codecs were unavailable.
All are available at Vizio.com.
The lineup looks like this:
--$179 38-inch 3.0-channel SB3830-D0
--$219 38-inch 2.1-channel SB3821-D6
--$269 38-inch 3.1-channel SB3831-D0
--$299 38-inch 5.1-channel SB3851-D0
--$379 40-inch 3.1-channel SB4031-D5
--$429 40-inch 5.1-channel SB4051-D5
--$449 45-inch 3.1-channel SB4531-D5
--$499 44-inch 5.1-channel SB4451-C0
--$499 45-inch slim 5.1-channel SB4551-D5
The flagship model is 2 inches tall and 2 inches deep and delivers 104dB SPLs. Bass response extends to 30Hz.
The flagship model and the 40-inch 3.1-, 40-inch 5.1- and 45-inch 3.1-channel bars come with the compact 3-inch-tall subwoofer.