If you've been waiting to "smart" up your home theater's audio, Vizio may have just given you incentive to pull the trigger on a purchase with its new SmartCast sound bar collection, launched today. They start at just a paltry $180 for the basic 38" three-driver sound bar and go all the way up to $500 for fully-equipped 5.1 systems. What makes them smart? Well, they're Google Cast enabled right out of the box, meaning you can cast audio to your Vizio SmartCast speakers just like a Chromecast, and that's pretty damn cool.
At launch, Vizio has nine configurations available, so there's probably a setup that fits in a price:performance:practicality bracket for you. They also work with Vizio's SmartCast Android app (though obviously only for audio).
Vizio appears to be taking a stake in Google's open (and likely royalty-free) Cast standard over a proprietary system or Apple's AirPlay, and I think that's a good move. The SmartCast series of speakers are also all equipped with Bluetooth 4.1 in the event casting isn't an option, and they of course feature the standard audio hookups you'd expect, including 3.5mm stereo, RCA, and optical Toslink. They have Wi-Fi 802.11n, ethernet adapters, and HDMI-out, too. You can check out the whole series of speakers on Vizio's site right here - they all appear to be shipping right now.