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(Pocket-lint) - Vizio's aim is to offer good quality technology and good value for money. The company launched in 2002 and has taken a big slice of the US market now wanting to break into Europe.

In the UK it is leading the charge with a 36-inch 5.1.2 soundbar supporting Dolby Atmos, priced at £599. The soundbar actually sits in the middle of Vizio's Atmos offering (which has been available in the US for some time) but it's the mid-ranger that the company sees as the most disruptive for the UK market. 

Since the company launched into audio in 2009, it has taken the number 1 slot in the US for soundbars, with an approach that's accessible rather than exclusive. These soundbars are designed to be easy to setup and have everything in the box, to give you the instant Atmos experience.


With Dolby Atmos becoming more prevalent in the UK - from BT and Sky's live broadcasts through to a range of programming on services like Netflix - the audio tech has grabbed the attention of the public in recent years.

Where once you'd have to spend will over £1000 to get your hands on it, Vizio wants to put Atmos in your house for little over half that price.

The Vizio SB36512 reveals everything about itself through its product name. It's a 36-inch bar with a 5.1.2 arrangement, coming with a subwoofer and rear channels. 

The soundbar itself has five channels - left, centre, right and two upfiring speakers left and right to give you that height that is synonymous with Dolby Atmos, while the rear channels complete the immersive surround sound arrangement.

Pocket-lintVizio launches in the UK with a more affordable Dolby Atmos soundbar image 6

One of the interesting things about the setup of this soundbar is that the subwoofer is wireless, but the rear channels then connect to the subwoofer. The sub contains the amplifiers for those passive rear channels, meaning that there's only one plug for those three speakers. In effect, you'll have to find somewhere to place the subwoofer and then run cables to your rear speakers from it. 

The advantage this offers is that you don't need cables running from your soundbar all the way to the back of the room. While some similar systems have wireless rear channels, doing so would drive up the price on this particular system. 

First impressions are pretty good. There's certainly room-filling volume and the design and feel of the speakers seems solid enough. We listened to a sample from Star Wars Battlefront on the Vizio soundbar and there is a noticeable sense of immersion that comes with it. 

The soundbar also comes with a remote with a small LCD display, and is compatible with Google Assistant for voice control.

So where does this sit in the current Dolby Atmos soundbar market? It's amongst the cheapest soundbar you'll find that has both upfiring speakers (some rivals are virtualised) and rear channels. Often rear channels are what cost you a lot more, but of course you need to ensure that you can correctly place these speakers behind you to create that sweet spot.

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The Vizio SB36512 is now available to buy. There will be more Vizio soundbars coming to the UK in 2019, but the full line-up is still to be confirmed. The company is not expected to sell its TVs in the UK.

Writing by Chris Hall.