Vizio goes big with 54-inch 5.1 sound bar, adds HDMI connectivity

 
January 6, 2014 10:48 AM PST / Updated: January 6, 2014 11:49 AM PST
Sarah Tew/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Last year, Vizio made a splash at CES 2013 with its 42-inch Vizio S4251w-B4 5.1 sound bar, offering up true surround sound in a sleek package via two rear speakers.

At CES 2014, Vizio unveiled the S5451w-C2, a larger 5.1 sound bar that's designed to fit jumbo TVs sized 55 inches and larger.

As is often the case with home audio, the bigger size offers potential performance benefits as well. Vizio claims the greater width of the sound bar allows for better separation between the left, right, and center channels, which is something we've observed with other large sound bars such as Sharp's HT-SB60 . The wireless subwoofer packs an 8-inch driver, and Vizio claims it offers the deepest bass response of any sound bar in its lineup.

The rest of the S5451w-C2 is largely similar to last year's 5.1 sound bar. The rear speakers connect to the wireless subwoofer, which you can place in the back of the room to avoid running wires from the front of your living room to the back. It has the same well-designed remote, complete with a built-in display for more convenient tweaking.

The big addition on the connectivity side is an HDMI input and output, along with support for Audio Return Channel, which allows for a one-cable connection to compatible TVs. There's also two digital inputs (optical and coaxial), and two analog inputs (stereo RCA and minijack), plus built-in Bluetooth (with aptX support) for wireless audio streaming.

Both Dolby Digital and DTS decoding are supported, along with support for DTS Studio Sound II, TruVolume, and TruSurround sound processing modes.

The S5451w-C2's incremental improvement may not seem as impressive as last year's Vizio S4251w-B4, but it has the potential to be an excellent performer, considering its larger size and the sound quality of Vizio's other sound bars. I'll be requesting a review unit as soon as I can to compare it to other top performers, such as Pioneer's SP-SB23W .

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Vizio S5451w-C2

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About The Author

Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.