September 2019

US challenger brand Vizio launches in the UK with Dolby Atmos soundbar

By Steve May

One of the most disruptive CE brands in America has entered the UK retail arena. California based Vizio, which has carved out a formidable reputation in the TV and soundbar market, has launched with a compact Dolby Atmos soundbar, the SB36512. Just 36-inches across, it is designed to bring a 5.1.2 listening experience to UK living rooms with smaller screens. Vizio is targeting the UK before entering other key European territories, because of its strategic importance, said Craig Cahill, Director of Corporate Development.

“The UK is an incredibly important market for us,” he told ERT, “not least because of the support given to Dolby Atmos by BT and Sky, who are using the sound format day in, day out. There’s probably more Dolby Atmo s content available in the UK than anywhere else.”

In its home territory, Vizio now claims

the number one market position in soundbars. Having launched its first in 2009, it has sold over 9.6 million units. “Through the years we really have been proven to disrupt different market cycles. Dolby Atmos is another opportunity for us,” said Mr Cahill. Retailing for £600, the


soundbar integrates two up-firing Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers with stereo front mid-range woofers and a mid-range centre channel. The supplied wireless subwoofer has a six- inch driver. The soundbar ships with two wired rear speakers. While there’s no room calibration

microphone required, the system offers adjustments to cope with different room sizes and ceiling heights. The Atmos output from the up-firing speakers can increase by as much as 6dB, to maximise the immersive listening experience. “We try to give as much setup flexibility as possible,” explained Todd

Baker, Director of Audio Product Management.

“If you buy for a room that has a low ceiling, and then later on take it into a room that has cathedral ceilings, you can apply a Dolby virtual height effect,” he noted.

During its official unveiling, Vizio also

previewed two additional soundbars. The US flagship SB465.4, which adds up-firing Dolby-enabled rear speakers, for a fully immersive 5.1.4 soundstage, and a simplified model, the SB36312-G6, with no rear speakers supplied. The latter is scheduled for an autumn UK launch.


Mitch Li, VP of Audio, said the decision to launch with the 36- inch model rather than the larger premium speaker was to maximize

the potential audience. The 36-inch bar is best suited to screen sizes smaller than 55-inches, he said. “One size does not fit all. So what we tried to do is create sizes that fit different environments. If you have a small apartment, a 46-inch soundbar and 10-inch subwoofer may not be right for you. What we tried to do is provide options for people.”

The SB36512 includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, and has Chromecast built-in with voice-control via Google Assistant. Distribution is through Exertis. While

Vizio says it has ambitious retail plans, it’s coy about any moves to also bring its TV line-up to the UK. Mr Cahill insisted that the brand currently has no plans to enter the UK TV market.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44