Fix A Vizio Soundbar Remote In 4 Simple Steps

Each model of Vizio soundbar includes its own remote. It’s what is used to power the soundbar on and off, adjust the volume, and adjust settings.

If the soundbar does not respond to any buttons pressed on the remote then there is a problem with the either the remote or the soundbar itself. Most of these problem are fixed quickly and easily with just a few basic steps.

Troubleshooting A Soundbar Remote

Most of these steps are extremely easy and all can be completed in just a few minutes.

1. Check The Line Of Sight From The Remote To The IR Sensor

Vizio remotes need a direct line of sight to the IR sensor on the soundbar.

The IR sensor is the eye of the soundbar that detects the signal from the remote. Once the IR sensor receives a signal from the remote the soundbar follows whatever command was sent.

Make sure there is nothing blocking the front of the soundbar. Objects like a picture frame, a stack of DVDs, a cable box, or anything else in front of the soundbar could block the remote’s signal and keep the soundbar from responding to the remote. Move any objects that might be cause interference.

2. Power Cycle The Remote

Take the batteries out of the remote and press each button twice. Most soundbar remotes have only a few buttons on them so this takes very little time. Then put the batteries back in the remote and test the remote again.

3. New Batteries

A fresh pair of batteries might be all that’s needed to get your remote working again. Test new batteries in the remote especially if they have not been changed in a long time.

4. Power Cycle The Soundbar

Disconnect the soundbar from the power outlet. Then press and hold the power button on the soundbar. Most Vizio soundbars have a power button either on the top or on the left side.

Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds. Then let go and plug the soundbar back in. Use the power button on the soundbar to turn it on. Then test the remote again.

If Power Cycling Fixes The Issue Then A Software Update Is Needed

If power cycling the soundbar gets the remote to work then the problem is a software issue. Even if the remote is working now the problem is likely to return at another time. To permanently fix the problem the soundbar will need a software update.

Several Vizio soundbar models sold in 2014 and early 2015 have software problems that may cause the remote to stop working. This isn’t a problem from the remote but a problem from the sounbar itself. So replacing the soundbar won’t resolve the issue if you have one of the effected models .

The soundbar models that are known to have remote software issues are:

  • S2121w-D0
  • S2920w-C0
  • S2930w-C0r
  • S3820w-C0
  • S3821w-CNA
  • S3821w-C0

In order to update the soundbar you will need a USB thumb drive with the needed software update. There are two ways you can get it:

  1. You can download the software and put it on a thumb drive yourself using this link.
  2. Or you can contact Vizio technical support and ask them to mail you a thumb drive with the needed software update preinstalled.

Vizio will send you the software update free of charge whether your soundbar is in warranty or out of warranty. Just contact them at 877-698-4946 and explain the problem you have been experiencing with the soundbar. A Vizio representative will ask you for the serial number of your soundbar as well as if the back of your soundbar has a sticker that reads V2 or V3.

If The Remote Still Isn’t Working…

If the remote still isn’t working after trying the four steps above then the remote needs to be replaced. Remotes can stop working if they are dropped, are exposed to liquid, or from just the wear and tear from years of use.

If your Vizio soundbar was purchased less than 12 months ago it will still have an active warranty. Contact Vizio at 877-698-4946 to inquire about replacing the remote under warranty.

If the soundbar is more than a year old then the warranty is expired. You can purchase a new remote though several retailers. All Vizio remotes are compatible with all Vizio soundbars so even if you can’t find the exact model of remote that came with your soundbar a different Vizio remote will work just as well.

Do you have any questions or comments about soundbar remotes? If so please leave them in the comments section below. I love reading replies from visitors.

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  • Jessie Anthony

    Very helpful

  • Alex Arnold

    Power cycle fixed my remote but the link to the software update is dead.

  • Janine Lazur

    thank you for documenting this. google found it before the vizio support pages. your instructions for troubleshooting are great. turns out i did need a software update. the link you provided landed on an error page at vizio (maybe they changed the url since you wrote this) but i was able to get to the page i needed using the vizio site search and my model number. in case anyone else needs the page for model S3821w-CO or S3820w-CO, here it is: A note to everyone, the firmware update takes a good bit of time — I was able to type all of this and the LED lights are still flashing to indicate the update is still in progress.

  • Joe Trimble

    The link is dead, but a simple search of the model number on the Vizio website found the updated page. It was easy to download (only 950 KB) and update. It was literally done successfully in a few minutes. Just follow the instructions, also on the update page.

  • Richard Raines

    I powered down the soundbar and it worked! An easy way to test the remote is to view it from your camera on your phone. Pressing buttons will show the infrared flash.

  • Philip Craig

    I followed all of the instructions perfectly and when I plug the sound bar back in with the flash drive connected I get nothing.

  • Mama T

    I lost my remote
    How can I turn the volume up/down?

  • Masen Mills

    My Vizio sound bar remote is also affecting my TV (when I try to turn down the volume on the sound bar, for example, my TV input hanged to a different source). How to I fix this???

  • CDub126

    This doesn’t help at all if the screen of your remote is not working.

  • Lydia W.

    Wow!!!! #4 worked like a charm! Thanks so much!

  • Lydia W.

    #4 works EVERY TIME!!! Thanks.