I don’t know if this is a common, relatable thing to do but whenever I get a new piece of tech or gear I can’t help but think back and compare it to the first version of whatever it is that I had. Most recently, the new 36″ 5.1 VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System.

2017 36" 5.1 VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System
2017 36″ 5.1 VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System

When my family first got surround sound, I remember it was a very big deal. My father had just completed a long project of building an extension onto the house that included an entertainment room, and we were going to do things right as far as filling it. It took a while to set everything up— lots of drilling and feeding wire through walls, things of that nature. And actually using it was a little on the difficult side as well. It required turning on several different devices, making sure they were all connected through the same/appropriate channels, and lots of patience when something inevitably wasn’t getting with the program like it should be. Once everything was finally properly operational, I admit it was a pretty great change compared to what we’d been listening to up until this point. However, when you consider the hefty price tag, if there wasn’t there would have been a problem. It’s just really funny to me, looking back on that whole experience and seeing how far things have come.

Of course the surround sound system of my childhood has absolutely no business being compared to the VIZIO SmartCast. Especially considering that the latter is pretty awesome by today’s standards, it’s definitely only for sentimental reasons. In fact, aside from purpose, just about everything has changed.

Read also: VIZIO SmartCast M50 Review

The new SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System comes in three different options, the 2.0, 2.1, and 5.1. So if you have a little more or a little less space to fill, there’s a perfect option for you. As far as sound quality the speakers were crafted with intelligent audio technologies from the leaders in cinema quality sound. They can reach as high as 101dB and maintain amazing clarity with less than 1% Total Harmonic Distortion, and the bass can go as low as 20Hz with its slick wireless subwoofer.

As for operation, like the name suggests, the system works via Bluetooth and has Chromecast built right in. You can even use your Google Home to verbally direct what you would like the Sound Bar System to do. So we’ve essentially gone from needing an extra half hour to get your surround sound working to the only way it could be any easier is controlling it with your thoughts. I seriously love this so much.

Now, maybe I’ve been holding on to what I used to know about surround sound systems, but for everything the VIZIO has going for it I would have thought the price tag would have been a bit on the higher end. Turns out, at about $250 for the 36” 5.1, it’s ridiculously affordable. It’s really no wonder VIZIO is America’s #1 sound bar company.