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Vizio's unique Elevate soundbar spearheads its 2020 audio range

The striking aluminum soundbar demonstrates Vizio's renewed focus on design.

This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

Vizio's range of 2020 soundbars, which it plans to show off at CES 2020, offer updated cosmetics and a host of new technologies, including HDMI across the board. The most striking is the P-Series Elevate, which features mechanically rotating drivers which can serve either as height channels (when it detects Dolby Atmos or DTS:X content) or to boost the existing stereo channels. Yes, DTS is finally supported. The 48-inch aluminum-bodied Elevate is a 5.1.4 system with dedicated rears and a wireless 8-inch subwoofer that also includes Wi-Fi connectivity and Chromecast built-in for casting music from your devices.

One of our main criticisms of Vizio soundbars in the past has been the weird, dot-based user interface, but Vizio says the 2020 models offer a "more-intuitive user interface with select models receiving backlit remotes." Taking a cue from Samsung, Vizio's soundbar naming conventions will now mirror those of its televisions with a flagship P-Series, midrange M-series and entry-level V-Series.

While this is a completely new range, the company has confirmed that the CNET Editors' Choice-winning Vizio SB3621n-E8 and Vizio SB36512-F6 will remain in its lineup for 2020.


The P-series Elevate features mechanically-operated drivers


The step-down M series will be available in three configurations: 2.1, 5.1 and Dolby Atmos-compatible 5.1.2 versions. The main bar features passive radiators which enable a lower crossover to the subwoofer. The M series features additional HDMI inputs as well as Bluetooth 5.0. It comes in a dark charcoal finish, which the company says is fingerprint resistant.


The new M series soundbar


The entry-level V series will be available in 2.1 and 5.1 configurations -- no Dolby Atmos here -- and comes with a new wireless sub with an "optimized sub driver and cabinet design for tighter, more impactful bass." It also features low-profile rears on the surround model.


The controls on the top of the new V-series soundbar


The soundbars will include a "voice assistant input" which enables a user to connect an Amazon Echo Dot, for example, and will "duck" or mute the volume when the Echo is accepting a command.

Vizio has offered some of our favorite audio and soundbars in recent years, and we look forward to hearing the new models. One issue consumers faced was that the company's $1K soundbars looked like its budget models, and it was tough to differentiate between them. but the new range makes the quality differences clearer. If the company can keep the prices down while maintaining sound quality, it may have some formidable contenders on its hands. 

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.