Q: What is your opinion on the Vizio M51a-H6 sound bar system? It’s on sale at Costco for $269.99, down from $329.99. I have a TCL Roku TV. — MA, San Jose, California
A: I haven’t tried this model, but I think it’s a good buy if you’re looking for home theater sound in a small room. Vizio has earned a reputation for the exceptional quality and value of its wireless surround sound bar systems. The Vizio M51a-H6 features wireless surround speakers and is compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for a fully immersive home theater experience. (Note that the wireless speakers still need to be plugged into a power outlet.) Your TV is compatible with the system, but you must use the HDMI-ARC connection for the full sonic experience. The only drawback is that the subwoofer is small, so it is better suited to a small room. Based on Vizio’s reputation and acceptable price, I think you’ll be happy, and with Costco’s liberal return policies, you can return it if you’re not satisfied.
Since you mentioned Costco, I’ll take the opportunity to share some tips with readers. In March 2021 autosdirect.com and a few other websites highlighted a special Costco lease offer on the Chevrolet Bolt EV (electric vehicle). The lease was only $107 per month with a payment of $107 at signing, in the San Francisco area. Tax breaks in San Francisco, combined with reimbursement from Costco, had reduced the payment to an unprecedented level. The deal was $176 per month with $176 due when signing elsewhere, still a terrific deal for a new EV with 250+ miles of range. I found out about the promotion too late to take advantage of it, but I bought a Costco membership anyway in case something similar was offered again. Given current gas prices and the car market, it’s highly unlikely anything like that will return, but the $60 Costco membership quickly paid for itself in fuel purchases. I’m saving 40-50 cents a gallon on gas by buying it at Costco, and their gas is top-tier rated and gets rave reviews from enthusiasts (including me). And who knows, maybe one day another spectacular electric vehicle rental will come up again!
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My next tip came about when I helped a reader install the Food Party pizza oven I wrote about a few weeks ago. Helping her install the furnace, she said that she was changing her propane tanks instead of refilling them, and I realized that most people don’t know how bad a deal can be. A gas grill’s propane tank holds 20 pounds, but every propane exchange in my area only fills them with 15 pounds, leaving 25% of the tank empty. Where I live, a tank change is about $24. If I take my tank to Ace Hardware, U-Haul, or another retailer that offers propane refills, I get a full 20 pounds of propane for $20. How would you feel if you went to the gas station and they only filled your car three-quarters full and then charged you 20% more than a full tank? That’s the financial equation for many of these propane tank trades. Not only will you save money on refilling, but the tank lasts longer, so you’ll have fewer trips to the propane store and less chance of running out of gas when you’re cooking.
Contact Don Lindich at soundadvicenews.com and use the “submit question” link on that site.