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Excellent Soundbar - Horrible Remote

A Review On: VIZIO VHT510 5.1-Channel Home Theater System (Black)

VIZIO VHT510 5.1-Channel Home Theater System (Black)

Rated # 22 in Soundbars
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Price paid: $280.00
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Pros: Great sound; wireless subwoofer

Cons: Remote is terrible; would be a great improvement if surrounds also got their signal wirelessly.

We bought this soundbar system principally to improve the audio from our Samsung 61" DLP rear-projection TV (HL-R6168W) in our oddly-shaped living room. It looks great and has performed exceptionally well from the standpoint of the improved quality of TV Audio.

The wireless subwoofer was easy to stow beneath a table next to a couch and makes a great contribution to that improved sound. Unobtrusive and adds just enough bass to fill out the overall sound.

Because of the shape of the room, however, we were unable to hook up and use the surround speakers that are part of this set. The walls in this room are not parallel and they are too far apart (and too far away from where the subwoofer is located) for us to be able to safely run the surround wires from the subwoofer (where they connect) to any wall; plus there was no way we could hide the wires along the floor so they wouldn't be a tripping hazard (the wall behind the couch is also way far away). That's why I noted above that -- for us -- it would be great if the surrounds also received their audio signals wirelessly. That of course, would mean they each would have to include their own amp and be separately powered - but surround doesn't require a lot of power to be effective, so it could be done, I'm sure, and dealing with a power cord coming down a wall to connect to an outlet would be a LOT easier than dealing with the tripping hazard created by cords running across the floor from the wireless subwoofer.to the surround units. So, because of those issues, I'm unable to comment on it's functionality as a 5.1 surround system. But I have to add: That wasn't an important feature for us for this TV in this room. When we watch movies (or TV content where surround might be important), we do it in our media room, where we have a 9'x5' screen, overhead projector, and a complete 7.2 surround setup. If we ever decide to move this system to the bedroom, however, it probably will be easier to hook up and use the surround units.

I want to note that our inability to use the the surrounds did not affect the score I gave this product. What caused me to give it only 4 stars instead of 5 (and when I think about it, I'm tempted to lower that score even more) is that the supplied remote is TERRIBLE. Its physical design and the control layout are fine. It's the communication circuitry inside it that''s messed up: Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes tapping it helps, but not all the time. Sometimes taking out and re-inserting the battery helps, and sometimes not. I contacted VIZIO about it and got only a suggestion that required re-setting up the system. That worked briefly, but it soon reverted to unreliability.

The reason I am certain the problem is due to the remote device itself is, eventually, I was able to program our Logitech Harmony 1000 remote to control the soundbar's volume and it has worked consistently ever since. So I'm sure the problem is in the remote device supplied with the VHT510 and not in the receiving unit on the soundbar itself. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a way to program our Verizon FIOS remote to control the volume, so we have to use 2 remotes when viewing TV.

Overall, the VIZIO VHT510 has given us greatly improved audio from this TV unit in this cavernous, oddly-shaped living room, and we've been very happy to have it for what we use it for.


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