"Incredible Value!"5.0 starson by TheIngram
Pros: + Sound is nice, loud, clear quality, nice bass feature
+ Has optical-in to help preserve audio quality
+ Easy installation. Three input, two analog and one optical
+ Really great price
+ Nice solid design
Cons: - No indication that there is power
- Manual not clear enough
Summary: Out of the blue my significant other says her brother who works in retail can get us a new 40inch Toshiba 1080 HDTV for 400 bucks. Our first HD, and for that price couldn't pass it up. Got the HD upgrade from our provider and WOW, I highly recommend the Toshiba for the value price range with one caveat; the speaker frequency response is not very good. I am a former radio broadcaster and have a pretty good set of "ears" and immediately went to get something to spruce up the sound.
I wasn't looking for a high end surround sound system. Our family room (in the making) in a 1300 square foot ranch is not huge; the 40 inch is plenty big for our viewing area; just wanted something to add some low end. The first thing I run across at Wal-Mart is the VIZIO VSB200 sound bar. I must admit to doing NO research..the price was less than 150 bucks, and I KNEW it would improve the sound (How could it not? Folks the Toshiba speakers really suck) so I bought it. Got home and realized that we would have to buy an optional optical cable; as the Toshiba has no standard output outlets for the analog cables VIZIO provides. At first I was annoyed at this; but subsequently I am so glad we never had that option as I will explain in a bit. We went to Radio Shack; and purchased an optical cable. The manager emphasized we would be amazed at the sound that the cord affords.
Our TV is positioned in the corner of our viewing area on our own stand; not hanging. The sound bar has brackets for hanging, but it fit in front of the screen, and the brackets wedged perfectly on either side of our makeshift stand. The sleek black color goes perfectly with the jet-black Toshiba. When we finally hooked up the VIZIO sound bar, I was BLOWN AWAY at the sound upgrade. The high ends and mids are so lifelike, you'll ask yourself "is there really a guy sitting in front of me playing the guitar??" I was unprepared for how great it would sound. Now,keep in mind my viewing area is smaller than many, and the TV and soundbar are positioned perfectly in the corner (at the juncture of two walls, as opposed to flat up against one). I knew going in this positioning would make for a fuller sound, including a very rich bass. Those that prefer the kind of bass you can "feel" (thump thump), you can buy a subwoofer and the sound bar has an attachment for that.
Other than the suprisingly great frequency response; I also was impressed with the surround sound feature. Your ears at times perceive sounds (especially the background sounds, like dogs wailing or automobiles speeding off)as coming from a totally different part of the room. I tried out the feature which equalized the volume (folks may like this if you are annoyed with the louder commercial breaks, or just the great variance in movie sound levels..like having to turn it up to understand dialogue; but then having to turn it down, because the music becomes too loud, etc) However I immediately noticed using this feature sacrifices some high end. Sure enough the manual mentions this fact. For that reason, I don't use the feature; but it would be handy for many.
This is the perfect choice for those looking for that theatre sound in a modest sized area. My guess is for large rooms you will have to opt for those pricier mutiple speaker systems. Also, if you have a choice, don't settle for the analog RCA cables provided; get the optical cable. The only reason I gave the sound performance 4 out of 5 stars is the bass, while very good...may not be enough for some (just hook up a subwoofer)..but really, everytime I enjoy the peformance, I ask myself "Did I really pay less than 150 bucks for this?".
My Advice, if you're will buy this VIZIO VSB200, I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at: *******************/VIZIO-VSB200
Enjoy with your Soundbar.