Now here’s a nifty idea: making the most of a soundbar’s upfiring drivers by swiveling them in a different direction when they’re not being used to deliver height cues in immersive soundtracks.
That’s the killer feature of Vizio’s new Elevate Sound Bar, which can automatically rotate its front upfiring drivers—used for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X height sound effects—to the horizontal plane when the soundbar is being used in its “direct” stereo mode. Pretty clever.
On display at CES along with the rest of Vizio’s 2020 soundbar lineup, the 5.1.4-channel Elevate Sound Bar boasts a total of 18 drivers, including its 8-inch wireless subwoofer and wireless surround speakers with their own upfiring drivers (these don’t rotate as wouldn’t be necessary).
Vizio is also debuting new mid-range M-series soundbars with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, along with a dedicated tweeter, woofer, and passive radiator for both the left and right channels.
In addition to the 5.1 and 5.1.2 configurations of the M-series, there’s also a 2.0 all-in-one version that boasts 3D sound courtesy of DTS Virtual:X support. (Incidentally, DTS Virtual:X will be supported in all of Vizio’s 2020 soundbars.)
Vizio’s entry-level V-series soundbars will come in 2.1- and 5.1-channel models, with wireless subwoofers, a full-range driver plus a bass reflex port for the left and right channels, and (once again) DTS Virtual:X 3D sound.
The wireless surround speakers that come with 5.1-channel M- and V-series soundbars have been designed with lower profiles than in previous years, making them easier to arrange in your living room.
Both the Elevate and most M-series Vizio soundbars will boast HDMI 2.1 inputs complete with eARC support, which means you’ll be able to pass lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio audio via an eARC-equipped TV. The budget V-series and all-in-one M-series soundbars will be saddled with standard ARC ports, which don’t support lossless audio.
Vizio’s “premium” soundbars for 2020 will come with backlit remotes, which is a welcome touch, while all of Vizio’s latest soundbars will let you connect a smart speaker (such as an Amazon Echo Dot or a Google Nest Mini) via Bluetooth or a dedicated audio input. With a smart speaker connected, Vizio’s new soundbars will automatically lower their volume when you’re speaking to your digital assistant, and then raise the volume again once you’re done chatting.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices.