CNET First Look
Vizio's SB4551 surround bar a standoutThe Vizio SB4551 sound bar offers top-notch sound in addition to useful features such as dedicated rear speakers and Google Cast streaming.
Video has a long tradition for making value from money sound bars. And the new Vizio SB4551 might be its best model yet. It offers unexpectedly good performance for its small size. And it also includes a good feature count including WiFi streaming. When you're talking about Sound Boss the busier SB 4551D5, it's almost in a class by itself. This is a standby which has dedicated rear speakers and in edition it has a wireless subwoofer that is so slim that it can slip under the couch. The rears connect by really long wires to the sub. Connections also include HDMI in edition to bluetooth. This sound bar is part of VIZIO's SmartCast system, which is also included on the company's TVs. SmartCast is based on Google Cast, and can be used to stream music and movies around your house. In conjunction with other SmartCast components, or of Chromecast audio, it can form the basis of a multi-room music system. Sound quality, particularly for movies, is very good for the money. And the addition of the rears gives it a sense of immersion that straight sound bars cant touch. Music is also quite good and definitely better than your TV or a blue tooth speaker. The only downsides are the morse code like display and an occasionally flaky Smart Cast connection. The sound bar can sometimes disappear from the app your trying to cast from, which means Smart Cast is not yet as robust as Sonos or DTS Play-fi Now for 500 bucks the SB4551 doesn't have much competition for it's combination of functionality and sound quality especially if you are on the 2016 video TV.