Alongside the brand new P-Series announced today, Vizio also revealed that it’s releasing a lineup of speakers and soundbars later this year. Just like the TVs, the new audio gear is based on Google Cast, with sleek designs that make it evident Vizio is going after Sonos’ grip on the multi-room audio market. But even as regular old Bluetooth speakers, the products that the company showed sampled for us in New York earlier this month sounded pretty great. And they’re easy to use, with a simple layout that uses a twist knob for volume; you can also just tap the top to pause or resume playback.
Vizio’s working on different models depending on the size and audio quality you want. The SmartCast Crave 360 looks somewhat similar to the Sonos Play:1, for example. It’s something you can toss in a bag and take anywhere. (It’s got a hand strap attached, so portability is definitely the idea being pushed here.) The Crave Pro, on the other hand, looks destined for a table top in your living room — but puts out tremendous audio quality.
You can send music to the speakers with Google Cast, which is supported by most audio streaming apps already, or use Bluetooth for the ones that still don’t have a cast button (Apple Music). And Vizio’s own SmartCast app also offers up some music content, though it’s much less of an essential companion for the speakers as it is the new P-Series. Vizio has actually announced speakers before; we saw a weird boombox-type device with a built-in Android screen at CES 2014. But that thing never made it to market, and this Vizio is a much more focused company than the one of two years ago. Pricing and specific availability for these latest models will need to wait a bit longer, however; Vizio says they’ll be here later in the year. Hopefully that means no later than summer.