Update Vizio 5.1 bar firmware - AVS Forum
Soundbars > Update Vizio 5.1 bar firmware
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 04:51 AM 05-16-2014
I'm trying to update the S4251w-B4 5.1 with the firmware they have online. I have an 8 gig scan disc stick and it's empty except for the bin file. When I follow the directions, it's not even recognized. The only thing I question is the stick is formatted fat32 and they say it should be fat. Could they really mean just plain fat! How the heck do you format for just fat! I didn't have the option under format. Anyone do the update that can suggest how? Thanks. If not, I'll have to wrangle with Vizio directly.
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Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 07:44 PM 05-16-2014

I kind of figured I wouldn't get a response here to this, so I'll pass on to people some info. I DL'd the bin file and put it on a clean new sandisk usb stick. Nothing on it except for the bin file. The bar would not even try to take the update, so I called support. The end result is they are sending me the update on a usb stick. Two things I've learned from them- buy a stick no bigger than 2gigs and don't sweat fat32, as most sticks come formatted. Maybe it's picky about the stick too, who knows. They're sending me one with the bin file, so we'll see.


coldengrey15's Avatar coldengrey15 08:50 PM 05-17-2014
My attempt at updating firmware failed too.
I did everything correctly, except the post update diagnostic check to see if firmware took, with the specific sequence of lights lit,
revealed only a few lights lit - defiantly not the sequence the tutorial guide shows...

I wonder if your soundbar, like mine - the S4251w-B4 - IS the factory updated version (if the are two versions, one pre-fix and one post-fix?)
and that's why the update is not working because it already has the correct firmware?

--> Did you specify to vizio tech that you had the B4 version? And they still, apparently, are assisting you to update the firmware, huh? So maybe there is only 1 single hardware version and they all have the flaw that the firmware update is aiming to fix...

Good Luck - I may call them as well. I used an 8GB USB 2.0 thumb drive, btw.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 12:00 AM 05-18-2014

It might very well be that I have the most current update too. I suspect I do actually, because I don't have the earlier problems where sound went out switching inputs. But I do have intermittent audio dips and tv channels have lost audio on occasion. I channel up or down and it comes back. I'm never forced to restart the sound bar. No harm in trying to update even if the firmware is the same. All I know is their stick with it should work. Give them a call. And yes, I did go through with them my exact model. They even walked me through a couple tries. Did you get 6 lights and then 12 lights at least, which suggests that the firmware was loading? Anyway, we'll see. I also grabbed a new and better optical cable. Could be that too. LOVE this system though. Watched Avengers today on netflix...man that sounded awesome.


Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 03:38 AM 05-24-2014
I received the flash drive with the updated firmware from Vizio. It didn't take either. I have to assume it's because the firmware is already up to date. I have replaced the stock optical cable with a new higher quality one just now. I'll see how that goes. It's not like I have a super bad or unusable problem. It's extremely momentary and infrequent enough not to be a huge concern. Love this sound bar.
S14Silvia's Avatar S14Silvia 12:23 PM 07-09-2014
I bought mine on Amazon (for a whopping $278) back in April, and have since sent it to Vizio twice (third one is due to arrive this Friday). You guys are not crazy, I cannot install the firmware update either.

I thought the same thing about FAT vs. FAT32. I've formatted 4 USB sticks with a wide array of sizes (ranging from 64 MB upwards to 16 GB) and with a varying combination of FAT and FAT32. As you probably noticed, the instructions for installing the firmware update are not rocket science.

None of the drives with the firmware loaded have been successful at installing. You simply plug the unit in (with the USB stick connected), it blinks momentarily (as if to say, "hey - I'm reading the USB stick hang on"), and then does nothing. Goes into sleep mode. It does not light up all 12 LED's as specified. Pressing the two buttons on the side of the unit to have it display the firmware version does not produce the expected result . . . I think only 3 LED's were illuminated.

Vizio cannot tell me if the new units are being shipped with the correct firmware or not . . .

The reason I tried installing the firmware is because I, too, experienced momentary dropouts in sound. Annoying. I can't say that they were often, but they're a pain.

Do you recommend upgrading to an optical cable to something other than the stock one they included in the packaging? I cannot discern whether the one with the unit is of good quality or not.

If anyone has any updates regarding this issue, I'd appreciate a reply.

Best,
Bryan

PS: See related topic - Vizio's New True 5.1 Soundbar S4251W
tiki master's Avatar tiki master 01:42 PM 07-09-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by S14Silvia View Post
I bought mine on Amazon (for a whopping $278) back in April, and have since sent it to Vizio twice (third one is due to arrive this Friday). You guys are not crazy, I cannot install the firmware update either.

I thought the same thing about FAT vs. FAT32. I've formatted 4 USB sticks with a wide array of sizes (ranging from 64 MB upwards to 16 GB) and with a varying combination of FAT and FAT32. As you probably noticed, the instructions for installing the firmware update are not rocket science.

None of the drives with the firmware loaded have been successful at installing. You simply plug the unit in (with the USB stick connected), it blinks momentarily (as if to say, "hey - I'm reading the USB stick hang on"), and then does nothing. Goes into sleep mode. It does not light up all 12 LED's as specified. Pressing the two buttons on the side of the unit to have it display the firmware version does not produce the expected result . . . I think only 3 LED's were illuminated.

Vizio cannot tell me if the new units are being shipped with the correct firmware or not . . .

The reason I tried installing the firmware is because I, too, experienced momentary dropouts in sound. Annoying. I can't say that they were often, but they're a pain.

Do you recommend upgrading to an optical cable to something other than the stock one they included in the packaging? I cannot discern whether the one with the unit is of good quality or not.

If anyone has any updates regarding this issue, I'd appreciate a reply.

Best,
Bryan

PS: See related topic - Vizio's New True 5.1 Soundbar S4251W
I used a Monoprice optical cable connected to my Vizio E series tv and my ps3 still has a slight audio delay on the home screen if I leave it idle for a few minutes. When I check the firmware version that I have (press the + and - buttons at the same time) the 1,2,&9 lights light up. I called Vizio and they have no idea what that means.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 11:37 PM 07-09-2014
What I thought to try but haven't is plugging in the usb stick and if it doesn't seem to be working, select usb from the remote and see if that launches the update.

What I have found is that the momentary audio dips only happen with the cable box when watching cable tv, movie channels, and on demand. In short, anything cable is broadcasting. Nextflix and hbo-go via chrome cast never ever has this happen. Only cable, which tells me that it isn't the sound bar or tv- another reason I haven't tried the firmware update again. If the sound bar or tv was causing it, I would think it would do it all the time no matter what is being broadcast. I have also found that it can happen more frequently after the tv has been on all day and night. If I want to get into movie watching at night on premium cable channels, I turn the tv off and back on- a reboot. That seems to clear the problem for the rest of the night. It could have something to do with digital errors maybe. I have a new hdmi cable that I haven't tried yet, nor have I tried switching hdmi inputs on my tv, and I've been using a new optical cable of better quality. I mostly gave up because it's that pesky 'intermittent' problem that can be futile to track down. I have also tried optical straight from my cable box and have the same issue with momentary audio dips. It's infrequent. And rebooting the tv does seem to clear it if you've had the tv on hours and hours and it acts up. But it really is infrequent and not enough to get blown out about, but just enough to make you want to try and solve it regardless.
coldengrey15's Avatar coldengrey15 09:14 AM 07-19-2014
I have the same audio drop outs on my Comca$h X1 Box (not sure what Cable Provider you have)...

I was reading the comcast forums and audio drop outs happen to be a known issue of their X1 boxes made by Pace. Allegedly, the Newer X1 boxes mfr'd by Motorola/Aris DO NOT have the Audio Drop Out Glitch...

So you MAY be onto something thinking that the audio dropout may be related to your Cable box - I suppose possible even if a different provider than Comcast and Very Likely if you too happen to have a box mfr'd by Pace (do not know if Pace is a Comcast exclusive hardware mfr or more likely, make cable boxes for most/all major Cable TV Providers....

Just thought I'd bring that up is all, when I read your eluding to the possibility of it being Cable Box/Provider, ect vs our Vizio Soundbar
---> Because the drop outs do seem to be exclusive to Cable TV source, not occurring with my xbox 360 or my Panasonic Viera (streaming local videos) ...
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 08:57 PM 07-19-2014
I have optimum cable and it's the samsung HD box. I get the problem even if I use my new optical cable straight from the cable box. So it's definitely the box causing issues I think. It's just odd because I don't remember having the problem before using the bar, so of course I suspected the bar. Weird. I'll try a reboot of the box and all, but tracking down cable picture/audio can be a tedious task all in itself.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 07:52 PM 07-26-2014
Well, the sound bar died today. I have power, thumping coming out of the sub, and some audio will come through the rear speakers, but the sound bar itself has no audio. Power, but no audio. In the process of an exchange. How much fun this will be. Good grief. I tried a reset with the remote, no go. I've heard of some kind of power reboot sequence for the bar. Anyone familiar with the process?
tiki master's Avatar tiki master 10:19 PM 07-26-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shockwave199 View Post
Well, the sound bar died today. I have power, thumping coming out of the sub, and some audio will come through the rear speakers, but the sound bar itself has no audio. Power, but no audio. In the process of an exchange. How much fun this will be. Good grief. I tried a reset with the remote, no go. I've heard of some kind of power reboot sequence for the bar. Anyone familiar with the process?
Try unplugging the bar from the wall outlet then plugging it back in. Then remove the power cord from the soundbar for 5 sec. Then plug the cord back into the soundbar. Then see if the soundbar becomes functional again. This is how I could get the soundbar to work again after attempting to do the firmware update. It may not work for you depending on your circumstance but I hope it does!
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 10:32 PM 07-26-2014
Thanks for that. I'm not sure of the difference between unplugging from the wall or removing the power cord from the bar, but I'll try it. I've also come across a routine where you turn the sound bar off, remove the plug from the wall, hold the power button for 30 seconds, plug back in and turn on. That apparently is a power reboot. Now if the thing comes back on, am I really happy?! Lol. I'll always be on the lookout and what sucks is I'm not the first one at the tv in the morning, my girlfriend is. She doesn't care to know how to go back to tv speakers if there's a problem. She just wants sound. But I'm a bit uneasy about getting a replacement from vizio too. I've heard of open box showing up. Frankly if it's a refurb I wouldn't be all that upset, but not just a return/reseal/ship back out. We'll see.

One thing is for sure, in the four months the system has been in line, I've gotten VERY spoiled. Going back to the tv speakers is like listening to tv through a transistor radio. Horrid. So for the investment, this has to be made right. But in large part, because of the awesome sound that it does deliver too.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 07:16 PM 07-28-2014
So to update in case anyone is curious, the power reboot didn't work. I didn't think it would. The sound bar itself just does not have audio any longer. Something blew. Perhaps the audio dips along the way were a precursor to the inevitable. I remember this problem exactly with the display one in Best Buy when I went to buy mine. It was doing the same exact thing- the rep couldn't get audio from the bar and only the sub was thumping. I figured he was just a dope and didn't know how to work the thing. Maybe they had a bad lot of them. Maybe that should have been my signal to take my money and run, or buy something else. But, I'm in it now to hopefully win it. I was on the phone with Vizio support on Sunday for 45 minutes. The pluses for their support are that I never had to wait to get a live person, their email notification system is fine and follows up, and the CS reps are courteous. I have a new system on the way this week. The problem with their customer service is that the reps don't really know their jobs. It becomes very obvious that the few of them I talked with are following a standard procedure and the guy I dealt with on Sunday put me on hold a number of times just to figure out what he was supposed to do. They are very quick to ask if there's anything else they can do. Well yeah, get me a new system please! Don't make me drag it out of you! Anyway, I can only hope a new one straight from Vizio does the trick. It's just quite a haul to put the new one in place and box up the old one. Drag. Hope it's all worth it.
tiki master's Avatar tiki master 07:48 PM 07-28-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shockwave199 View Post
So to update in case anyone is curious, the power reboot didn't work. I didn't think it would. The sound bar itself just does not have audio any longer. Something blew. Perhaps the audio dips along the way were a precursor to the inevitable. I remember this problem exactly with the display one in Best Buy when I went to buy mine. It was doing the same exact thing- the rep couldn't get audio from the bar and only the sub was thumping. I figured he was just a dope and didn't know how to work the thing. Maybe they had a bad lot of them. Maybe that should have been my signal to take my money and run, or buy something else. But, I'm in it now to hopefully win it. I was on the phone with Vizio support on Sunday for 45 minutes. The pluses for their support are that I never had to wait to get a live person, their email notification system is fine and follows up, and the CS reps are courteous. I have a new system on the way this week. The problem with their customer service is that the reps don't really know their jobs. It becomes very obvious that the few of them I talked with are following a standard procedure and the guy I dealt with on Sunday put me on hold a number of times just to figure out what he was supposed to do. They are very quick to ask if there's anything else they can do. Well yeah, get me a new system please! Don't make me drag it out of you! Anyway, I can only hope a new one straight from Vizio does the trick. It's just quite a haul to put the new one in place and box up the old one. Drag. Hope it's all worth it.
Are you sending back everything or just the soundbar itself? I wonder if each soundbar is paired with a specific subwoofer.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 09:35 PM 07-28-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiki master View Post
Are you sending back everything or just the soundbar itself? I wonder if each soundbar is paired with a specific subwoofer.
Everything gets packed up from the old unit and sent back. I wondered the same thing and I was gonna ask but then I thought better of it. If the system is shot, I may as well fully replace it all. I was thinking to save time and effort I may try and pair the bar to my existing sub. I'm not sure it can do that. I'm not sure I want to try and screw something up. They come pre-paired to their sub. Whether a bar can pair to any sub I don't know. I'm still contemplating keeping my rears in line. They work without issue, plus it'd save me the trouble of taking them off the stands and putting the new ones on. Plus, what if the new ones have a problem where my originals don't. Tough call. What I will do is keep my wires in place. No need to fiddle with them. It's just a speaker swap, I figure. I'll update here how it all goes down.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 12:47 PM 07-31-2014
I'm certain they are sending me a refurb. It's due in Monday. I'm not against refurb. At least I know they gave it a once over to make sure it's good. We'll see.
tiki master's Avatar tiki master 02:16 PM 07-31-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shockwave199 View Post
I'm certain they are sending me a refurb. It's due in Monday. I'm not against refurb. At least I know they gave it a once over to make sure it's good. We'll see.
The one I have is a refurb straight from Vizio. It came with a 30 day warranty which is almost up. I never bought a refurb product before but so far everything works fine, and I'm hoping it stays that way.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 03:35 PM 07-31-2014
My daughter has tons of refurb stuff. She swears by them, the thought being it has been checked out for sure and it can be better than NIB in that respect. All her refurb last longer than my NIB's! Maybe there is something to that, lol. As long as it isn't blemished, I'm fine. Although I paid for new. I would have saved money if I chose refurb in the first place. So that isn't cool. But I just want a working system back in line at this point.
Shockwave199's Avatar Shockwave199 08:09 PM 08-04-2014
Well, the new system came in today. If it's a refub I sure can't tell. Nicely packaged and completely different packaging than the retail box we all know well. The only thing I used of it was the bar, the sub, the remote, and the power cords. I saw no reason to fix what ain't broke; the original rears are just fine and all wires are too. I've been using an upgrade optical cable all along. Boy have I missed this sound. Nice to have good audio back. I think I picked up on a couple instances of audio dips already. I'll have to see. It's only cable box broadcasting when it happens. What is happening I don't know, be it error build up from the tv passing the audio (which lights up the DD on the bar), the cable box, who knows. All I know is it doesn't happen when I chrome cast netflixs or hbogo. I had a slight bit of crackling going to CBS news in HD, but that has happened once before with the old bar too. I don't necessarily blame the bar for all things odd. I think my cable box might have something to do with it, actually. The Smithsonian Channel HD has always thrown distorted audio to the rears, even with the previous sound bar. That channel is does something funky with the audio encoding it seems. I have three HD cable boxes- I suppose I could swap one out to try. Or, reboot this box too. When I went back to the tv speakers this didn't happen though. I have no problem with dropped audio when switching sources or pausing, so I know the firmware is current.

All in all, vizio delivered a new system to my door with mostly a minimum of hassle. I score them a B at this point for that. Of course their first bar that failed I score an F, so the grades aren't spectacular thus far. But I have a working system again. We'll see how this one does. I'll take a few days to make sure it's not screwed up in any big way and then send the busted one back, least I get charged for that! The S4251w-B4 has a couple quirks, no doubt. But it does have really good audio and the surround with the rear speakers is truly a delight. I couldn't, wouldn't watch a movie until the new bar showed up. It was missed that much.
tiki master's Avatar tiki master 09:29 PM 08-04-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shockwave199 View Post
Well, the new system came in today. If it's a refub I sure can't tell. Nicely packaged and completely different packaging than the retail box we all know well. The only thing I used of it was the bar, the sub, the remote, and the power cords. I saw no reason to fix what ain't broke; the original rears are just fine and all wires are too. I've been using an upgrade optical cable all along. Boy have I missed this sound. Nice to have good audio back. I think I picked up on a couple instances of audio dips already. I'll have to see. It's only cable box broadcasting when it happens. What is happening I don't know, be it error build up from the tv passing the audio (which lights up the DD on the bar), the cable box, who knows. All I know is it doesn't happen when I chrome cast netflixs or hbogo. I had a slight bit of crackling going to CBS news in HD, but that has happened once before with the old bar too. I don't necessarily blame the bar for all things odd. I think my cable box might have something to do with it, actually. The Smithsonian Channel HD has always thrown distorted audio to the rears, even with the previous sound bar. That channel is does something funky with the audio encoding it seems. I have three HD cable boxes- I suppose I could swap one out to try. Or, reboot this box too. When I went back to the tv speakers this didn't happen though. I have no problem with dropped audio when switching sources or pausing, so I know the firmware is current.

All in all, vizio delivered a new system to my door with mostly a minimum of hassle. I score them a B at this point for that. Of course their first bar that failed I score an F, so the grades aren't spectacular thus far. But I have a working system again. We'll see how this one does. I'll take a few days to make sure it's not screwed up in any big way and then send the busted one back, least I get charged for that! The S4251w-B4 has a couple quirks, no doubt. But it does have really good audio and the surround with the rear speakers is truly a delight. I couldn't, wouldn't watch a movie until the new bar showed up. It was missed that much.
I notice audio dips also but only when I play a blu-ray on my ps3 after it's been paused. Usually it's 2 audio dips that last less than a second each and occur about 10-15 seconds apart, and then the movie continues with no dips, unless I pause it again. No dips have been observed when I watch tv through Dish Network or Netflix through the ps3.
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