VIZIO is a company I have been hearing a lot about, and when my TV soundbar died I took this opportunity to invest in a VIZIO M series soundbar.
Things went pretty great for a few weeks, till all of a sudden my VIZIO wireless subwoofers started acting weird and kept disconnecting with my soundbar.
So I browsed through some threads on Reddit and realized the issue is more common than I expected.
So I made this comprehensive guide with all I could find on what you can possibly do to fix the issue of your VIZIO wireless subwoofer not pairing with your VIZIO soundbar.
If the VIZIO subwoofer is not pairing with the soundbar, try updating the VIZIO soundbar firmware by connecting to the VIZIO SmartCast app. Then reset your VIZIO Soundbar to factory settings by holding the Input and Volume Down buttons for a few seconds. Start the pairing process again and your VIZIO Subwoofer should start pairing properly with your VIZIO soundbar.
Check The Basics
Before we get on to the troubleshooting steps, it's important to check the basic hardware requirements and connections.
Check Whether The Soundbar and Subwoofer Are Powered ON
This sounds silly, but we are forgetful creatures and we tend to glance over the simplest of things all the time.
If your VIZIO soundbar and subwoofers have a switch, make sure it's toggled ON, and if it's a button, wait till you get audio or LED feedback that tells you it's ON.
To ensure it's ON simply turn up or down the volume buttons and check whether the volume indicator lights appear.
Check if Your Connections Are Perfect
Wires can make any electronic device a chore to deal with. Thankfully, since most VIZIO speakers are wireless, the number of connections you deal with is less.
Make sure you have plugged in the cables to the appropriate ports and they are firmly connected.
If your VIZIO systems still use analog RCA cables, make sure they are connected according to the color-coded ports labeled as audio out ports on your TV.
Newer VIZIO soundbar systems support HDMI ARC, which negates the need to plug into the AUX port.
If your TV also supports HDMI ARC, then it's one less connection you can forget about.
Roku TVs from TCL are usually bugged with similar audio issues, so do check appropriate TV settings if that's the case.
Check if Your Media Sound is On Mute
This can be something that is easily glanced over as many just check for audio feedback from the VIZIO soundbar and not refer to the TV.
Make sure the volume is turned up on your TV, your VIZIO soundbar as well as your VIZIO subwoofer. If the mute button is turned ON, disable it.
Also, try disconnecting your VIZIO soundbar system and check whether your TV's native sound system plays the audio.
Troubleshooting Your VIZIO Soundbar
Now that we have checked the basics and come to the conclusion that this isn't a problem at our end, let's look into some troubleshooting steps to fix your issue.
Hard Restart Both Your Soundbar And Subwoofer
A hard reboot/restart can help solve any temporary issue that the VIZIO soundbar and subwoofers might have been facing.
To hard restart, simply press and hold the Play/Pause button to commence shut down. Then do the same when it's time to boot it back up.
Make sure to shut down and remove the plugs and wait for at least a minute before you plug them back on. This step can also be a lifesaver for other issues like random restart issues that Vizio devices experience from time to time.
Check Whether Both Are on the Pairing Mode
Contrary to popular belief, your VIZIO soundbars and subwoofers won't be on pairing mode automatically when powered ON.
Different VIZIO soundbars use different methods of pairing. Older generations of VIZIO soundbars had a dedicated link button to pair your subwoofers.
But for most VIZIO soundbars now, holding the power button for 10 seconds transfers it into pairing mode.
Most subwoofers have a dedicated pairing or link button that you might need to press and hold to enter pairing mode.
Both the VIZIO soundbar and subwoofer should be on pairing mode to connect to each other.
Make Sure to Bring the Devices Closer During Initial Pairing
We tend to first place the subwoofers and soundbars at their designated stations first before we even turn ON the system.
This can at times cause initial pairing difficulties for the soundbar.
It's always best to bring both the VIZIO soundbars and subwoofers closer, at least during the initial pairing stages.
Make sure they are at least a foot apart and facing each other though when you start the initial pairing process. You can move it to its designated stations afterward.
Check If Your Soundbar is Already Over its Pairing Limits
Wireless VIZIO subwoofers are connected to your VIZIO sound systems by Bluetooth.
Since there is a device cap for Bluetooth, check whether you have extra devices that are paired and connected already with your soundbar.
If you have too many paired and active connections, simply disconnect them before connecting to the VIZIO wireless subwoofers.
If you don't know how many devices are connected, then your best solution is to reset your VIZIO soundbar.
Reset and Pair Again
Depending on your model, there are three methods to reset your VIZIO soundbar to the factory settings, depending on your VIZIO model:
- Press and hold both the Input and Bluetooth buttons for 10 seconds till your VIZIO restarts.
- Press and hold both the Input and Volume Up buttons for 10 seconds till your VIZIO restarts.
- Press and hold both the Input and Volume Down buttons for 10 seconds till your VIZIO restarts. This is the currently implemented technique for newer devices.
If done correctly, Your VIZIO will give you a visual LED indication it is resetting by flashing thrice before starting again.
Try pairing your VIZIO subwoofer back again and check if the issue persists.
Update Your Soundbar Firmware
Firmware updates are very important for electronic devices as they can come with bug fixes for known issues directly from VIZIO.
To check for updates on your VIZIO soundbar, you need to install their proprietary app and connect your VIZIO soundbar to the internet.
To download their application, simply follow the following steps:
- Go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store on your smartphone, depending on your operating systems.
- Search for the VIZIO SmartCast app and download the app.
Now that you have successfully installed the VIZIO SmartCast app, I will explain how you can connect your VIZIO soundbar to the SmartCast app.
To do that, we need to set your VIZIO Soundbar into WiFi mode.
To do that, simply follow the following steps:
- Connect your soundbar to your TV.
- Click the Menu button on your VIZIO soundbar remote.
- Scroll and select the WiFi Setup option using the Play/Pause button.
Now your Vizio Soundbar is free to connect via WiFi to your SmartCast app. Make sure your smartphone is connected to your WiFi and not your mobile data.
Now to finally pair your VIZIO soundbar to the SmartCast app, simply follow the steps below:
- Open the SmartCast app on your phone and open the hamburger menu by tapping the three dots on the upper left corner on the app UI.
- Select the Device Settings option from the resultant list.
- Press the Vizio Devices option and choose the Add New Device option.
The SmartCast app will take you through an automated tutorial through which you can connect your soundbar to the SmartCast app.
Now, firmware updates if available are automatically downloaded and pushed directly to your VIZIO soundbars when connected.
You can further check if you are on the latest firmware directly from the SmartCast app by doing the following:
- Open the SmartCast app on your phone. Make sure your VIZIO soundbar is connected to the SmartCast app.
- Select the Settings icon, resembling a gear symbol.
- Open the System option and select System Information.
This will give you information on whether you are on the latest firmware.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a method to manually update the firmware using a USB thumb drive or WIFi, but the automatic updates work most of the time.
Misc Settings That Might Be Causing Some Troubles
Here, I have mentioned some features of your setup that I think could be the root causes of your pairing issues.
- Make sure you have Sound Share mode turned ON on your TV. It is a setting to enable external audio devices to play audio.
- Turn off Eco Power/Energy Star on your VIZIO soundbars. This mode exists on soundbars to curb power consumption, but causes a multitude of connectivity issues.
Last Resort Solutions
If you tried all my troubleshooting steps and still found your subwoofer randomly causing connectivity issues, then the issue might be related to a hardware defect.
The best solution right now is to contact VIZIO customer services and book an appointment for a warranty claim.
But there is one small and risky solution I found on Reddit for a specific pairing problem with VIZIO subwoofers that users claim worked for them.
A Consumer's Solution To a Certain Hardware Issue
This solution will definitely void your warranty and I recommend you don't do it if you aren't a technophile and if you already have a valid warranty.
Also, you will need to go full hands-on with disassembly and reassembling and I highly urge you to not do this without professional technical help.
Now, this is for cases where the subwoofers would initially pair, but not stay paired with the soundbar.
One factor causing this could be a loose connection to the wireless module inside your VIZIO soundbar, either due to manufacturing errors or over time.
They found a fix to this by taking the subwoofer apart and properly reconnecting the ribbon cables to the wireless module.
To disassemble the VIZIO soundbar body:
- Pull the speaker grill out slowly using a tiny flathead screwdriver or similar device. It is flexible, so it can bend in and back easily.
- Pull the speaker driver and set it aside.
- Remove the silver sides on the body. They are held together by 4 small torx screws with two adhesive strips holding them.
- The front plastic frame should now begin to slide from one side.
- Start removing the screws carefully. Aside from the visible screws, you should find screws under the grill, around the speaker and under the VIZIO branding.
- The Wireless module and chip should be exposed now. Unplug the ribbon cable to the module and replug. It should go in a lot more and fit more snug.
- Use a neutral cure silicone or hot glue to make sure the ribbon stays intact.
- Reassemble the VIZIO soundbar by following the necessary steps in reverse.
This might help solve your pairing issues relating to the loose connection problems.
VIZIO makes some sleek-looking, great-sounding soundbars for the prices they offer it.
It has some issues that have been plaguing it for some time, but it is nothing a few workarounds can't fix.
Their frequent firmware updates fixing issues are commendable.
My issues with the pairing got fixed immediately after I reset my unit and connected to the SmartCast app. I was on older firmware and the latest fixed my issues.
I hope my detailed guide on fixing the pairing issues of your VIZIO soundbar with your wireless subwoofers has been fruitful.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use any brand of subwoofers on my VIZIO soundbar?
It's best to use VIZIO branded subwoofers that specifically cater to your soundbar model for best results. If the subwoofers are connected via Bluetooth, it is technically possible to connect with a VIZIO soundbar and it would work. But this may cause sync issues if they cant communicate with each other very well.
What is the ideal place to put my VIZIO Soundbar Subwoofer?
The most preferred place to keep subwoofers is in front of the room, just like your soundbar, grounded on the left or right side of the soundbar. The subwoofer should be also free from any obstacles in front of it for maximum sound fidelity.
How far can I place my subwoofer apart from my VIZIO soundbar for maximum surround sound before it gets disconnected?
It depends on the room layout, but ideally, you shouldn't place a subwoofer more than 10 feet apart from your VIZIO soundbar for the best experience.
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