VIZIO Smart Cast 40” 3.1 Sound Bar System (SB4031-D5 40”)
Why’d I pick this sound bar? I love watching TV and movies. Not as often since I’m currently attending ASU full time while holding down a full-time job and raising two young boys. When I do watch TV, I want an immersive experience. That means good sound that goes to a decent volume without distortion and a decent TV where screen size is somewhat prioritized over picture quality.
When I get around to watching TV, I’m normally watching a Sci-Fi movie or show, streaming a documentary, or playing a racing/driving game on my Xbox One (currently Forza Horizon 3 or WRC 6). The movies and games benefit from a nice sound system over the speakers built into most TVs. Manufacturers realize that people who care about the quality of sound will be buying some sort of home theater system and don’t select their TV based on sound quality. That being the case, almost ANY aftermarket speaker solution will sound better than the speakers built-in to the TV.
So the other night, my wife was lying in bed, watching Dancing With the Stars when she said those words every husband is dying to hear… “We need new speakers.” The remote on our old unit was going bad and she was tired of dealing with it. My eyes lit up. I live for bargain shopping and finding the sweet spot of price/performance. We have a Vizio sound bar on our TV downstairs and it works pretty well. Sure, I’d love a full home theater setup like I used to have, but lets be honest, my kids are too young to watch the really good movies that can justify a booming stereo.
As I mentioned above, my sound bar on our downstairs TV is also Vizio. This was my first experience with HDMI-CEC and HDMI-ARC. We all hate the mess of multiple remotes and the rats nest of wires that typically clutter up an entertainment system. If all your devices support HDMI-CEC, that means any single remote (usually your TV or your media player remote) will control all your devices. No need to mess around with finding the right manufacturer code either! HDMI-ARC stands for Audio Return Channel. Essentially, you can connect one or more devices to your TV via HDMI and then the sound bar to the TV via HDMI cable and sound will be pushed out from the TV to the sound bar, no need for messy optical cables or to run everything through your sound bar and into your TV. Everything can be connected to your TV and the audio signal can get to the sound bar. If you’re in the market for new electronics, I highly recommend making sure these two features are included in whatever device you decide on.
PROTIP: If you’re not already aware of it, CamelCamelCamel is your best friend. It’s an amazon price search and history tool. You can search for any item on amazon on that site and see price history. You can use that information to see if you want to buy now, or maybe set a price alert. What are you going to set your next alert on?