The winner of our September issue’s “Budget Bars” shootout, Vizio’s VHT215 soundbar system performs shockingly well given its low price. Even more surprising is its feature set, which generously includes HDMI switching, HDMI Audio Return Channel, and a front panel LED display. Along with a sleek-looking 40-inch-wide bar, your $269 also gets you a compact sub with a 6.5-inch woofer that connects wirelessly.
Okay, it has lots of features, but how did it perform? While Geoff described the fidelity as being less than what you’d get from a decent pair of bookshelf speakers, he cited the VHT215’s sound as being “notable in its lack of significant vices.” He also liked the effect of its SRS TruSurround processing, which “greatly expands the soundstage both vertically and horizontally” and “increases depth.” S+V’s lab tests of the Vizio also proved it to be a winner, mostly due to the bar’s unusually deep bass response, which helped ensure a smooth blend with the sub.
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