Causes and Solutions
- Common causes for a Vizio soundbar remote not working include dead or weak batteries, obstructions blocking the IR signal, too much distance between the remote and soundbar, firmware glitches, stuck buttons, or ambient light interference.
- Solutions include replacing batteries, ensuring a clear line-of-sight, staying within 10 meters of the soundbar, power cycling the remote and soundbar, and removing or avoiding bright lighting near the soundbar.
- If basic troubleshooting doesn’t work, updating the soundbar’s firmware can resolve system bugs affecting remote functionality.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through different solutions, allowing you to fix your Vizio soundbar remote and enjoy easy control over your audio experience.
From system glitches and outdated firmware to stuck buttons and remote batteries just dying for a replacement, several issues can cause a soundbar to remain unresponsive to its remote.
The first step to fixing any problem is identifying its underlying cause, so let’s start with why your Vizio soundbar remote is not working.
- Vizio Soundbar Remote Not Working: How To Fix
- Why is My Vizio Soundbar Remote Not Working?
Vizio Soundbar Remote Not Working: How To Fix
There are DIY solutions for most of the issues listed in the previous section. I recommend you try simple troubleshooting first, before going onto the more technical fixes.
1. Initial Things To Try
- If your current batteries have lasted between 3 – 6 months, it’s time for a Vizio soundbar remote battery replacement. Buy new batteries and install them accurately in the battery compartment.
- Even if they aren’t due for replacement, remove the remote’s batteries and replug them. This process will remove any oxidation rust blocking the current and allow you to lodge the batteries firmly in place.
- Remove any obstacles that can block the IR signal between your remote and the soundbar. Most Vizio soundbar sensors are located close to the light bar or at the middle of the soundbar, so ensure you are in its line-of-sight.
- Stay close to (less than 10 meters from) the soundbar when using the remote. IR signals get weaker the farther they travel and may not reach your soundbar if you’re far away.
- Shield your Vizio soundbar from very bright or direct lighting so that its sensors will remain sensitive to the IR signals from the remote.
2. Power Cycle Your Vizio Soundbar Remote
Performing a power cycle may cause your remote to work again, and you can do it in three steps:
- Remove the remote’s batteries.
- Press and hold the Power button for five seconds to drain residual power.
- Press every other button on the remote (twice) to free any stuck buttons.
After this process, reinstall the batteries to restore power and check if your remote is working.
3. Power Cycle Your Soundbar
This solution has been passed down from one satisfied user to the next. If power cycling the remote control didn’t work, we advise you power cycle the soundbar itself to remove minor system bugs and glitches.
- Turn off your Vizio soundbar and unplug it from the power source
- Wait 10 seconds
- Plug the power cable back in and turn the soundbar on
Your soundbar should now respond to the remote, and if it doesn’t, Vizio support recommends the solution in the next section.
4. Solution by Vizio Support
While many users reported success with the previous solution, others expressed the need for a more permanent fix. Consequently, a user reached out to Vizio directly for support.
Vizio’s recommended solution combines the power cycle processes for both the remote control and soundbar with a battery replacement.
Below are the steps to take.
Step 1: Take out the batteries from your soundbar remote.
Step 2: With the batteries still out, press each individual button on the remote.
Step 3: Replace the old batteries with a pair of new batteries.
Step 4: Unplug your Vizio soundbar from the power outlet. While it is still unplugged, hold the Power button on the sound bar for at least 30 seconds.
Step 5: Once all the steps are complete, plug the soundbar back into the power source and turn it on with your remote.
5. Update The Vizio Soundbar Firmware
Your soundbar’s system firmware might have developed bugs or stubborn glitches that stop the remote from syncing with the soundbar. In this case, it often helps to upgrade to a new firmware version.
I’ve put together a tutorial, using the Vizio V51x-J6 soundbar model, which I own. While some soundbars support firmware updates via Wi-Fi, I’ll demonstrate the USB method.
The process varies slightly across soundbar models, but you can find model-specific instructions for firmware updates in your user manual or on Vizio’s website. You can also refer to the list below to find the correct firmware for your model.
- V51-H6 and V51x-J6
- V21-H8 / V21-H8R
- SB3630-E6, SB3630-E6, SB3651-E6 and SB3651-F6
- P514a-H6 (Elevate) Soundbar
- V21-H8 / V21-H8R
- SB46312-F6, SB36312-G6 and SB36514-G6
- M51a-H6, M512a-H6, and M51ax-J6 Atmos Soundbars
If your Vizio soundbar model isn’t on our list, leave us a comment; mention your Vizio model, and we will try to find its firmware for you.
Below are the steps to update your Vizio soundbar firmware
Step 1: Identify your Vizio soundbar model (from the list above) and click the link to access Vizio’s firmware information page. The page should appear as described below.
Click on the ‘Download‘ link to start downloading the most recent firmware version.
Step 2: In a few seconds, the download will be complete and the file ‘update.bin‘ will be downloaded to your computer.
Step 3: Get a USB drive and format it to FAT32. Copy the update.bin file onto this USB flash drive.
Step 4: Disconnect the power cable from your Vizio soundbar and plug the USB drive into the USB port at the rear of the soundbar.
Step 5: Reconnect the power cable to the Vizio soundbar and power it on using the Power button on the top of the soundbar.
After this process, the firmware update will kick off automatically. You’ll notice the light bar flashing on your soundbar, and once the update is complete, the flashing will stop.
You can also confirm whether the soundbar has successfully updated its firmware. Just press and hold the plus (+) and minus (–) buttons on the soundbar simultaneously. The soundbar will audibly announce its current firmware version.
After I completed the update process, my soundbar announced the version as 126.96.36.199, whereas it was previously 188.8.131.52.
Step 6: Power off the soundbar, then try using the remote control to turn it on. Press the Power button on the remote and see if it works.
Why is My Vizio Soundbar Remote Not Working?
Here is a list of possible reasons why your Vizio soundbar remote is not working:
1. The remote control’s batteries are weak or dead. They could also be slightly rusty or dislodged from their proper slots.
2. There is an obstacle between the remote and the soundbar, blocking the remote’s infrared (IR) signals from getting to the soundbar’s sensors.
3. It can also be that the remote is too far from the soundbar’s sensors. Like this replacement remote, most Vizio soundbar remotes have a signal range of less than 10 meters.
4. The remote or soundbar has a firmware glitch from minor bugs or outdated system firmware.
5. The buttons on your remote controller are stuck due to dirt lodging in their crevices. It may also be that their contacts are worn.
6. Ambient light from different light sources (like LEDs, CFL bulbs, and even bright sunlight) are interfering with the remote’s IR signal, causing the soundbar’s sensors to miss commands.
Vizio Soundbar Red Light Meaning
The Vizio soundbar has six color modes, and each represents a different audio source mode. Here is what each color means:
Can I Replace a Vizio Soundbar Remote?
Yes, you can replace your Vizio soundbar remote if its defect proves hard to fix. In cases where your remote suffered physical damage, has a faulty IR LED, or has worn-out button contacts, we advise you purchase a new remote.
Some Vizio soundbar models can ‘learn’ to respond to commands from a TV’s remote control. Also, if you connect your soundbar to a TV via HDMI-ARC port, HDMI CEC functions may allow you to control the soundbar’s volume and power with the TV remote.
Gabriella ‘Diogo is a technical writer with a vested interest in tech hardware and equipment. She shares her knowledge and processes in an easy-to-grasp, lighthearted style. When she’s not testing or researching device performance, you’ll find her writing short stories or rewatching episodes of her favorite sitcoms.