Thank you for your response. I've never heard of HDMI-CTL, but both Vizio and Panasonic told me that the ARC should turn the soundbar on with the TV. For what it's worth, I got my information about ARC from this article: http://hdguru.com/what-is-hdmi-arc-and-what-does-it-do-for-your-hdtv/8322/
. To quote part of the article, "In most ARC products, the soundbar and TV essentially act as one device, with just a single button push to power them both on (no programming required)." Assuming this article is correct, the soundbar should power on when I turn on the TV, but it does not. Also, the HDMI cable is connected to ARC ports on both the TV and the soundbar.
I found the Viera Link settings you mentioned, but they don't seem to change anything. There is an "Power On" setting that was set to "Off," as you suspected, but the description reads: "Enables compliant devices, connected via HDMI, to turn on the TV power." I take this as meaning that another device can turn the TV on, not the other was around. In fact, even with it enabled, using the soundbar's remote does not power the TV on, so it doesn't work either way. The reason I had not fiddled with the Viera Link settings is that my understanding is that Viera Link is a proprietary system linking different Viera products, not linking this TV with products from other manufacturer's. Since the soundbar is not a Viera product, I didn't think the Viera Link settings would affect anything.
To answer your final question, all of the cables are high-speed HDMI. And yes, the optical cable does seem to work fine, but it is not ideal since I would then have to use different remotes to change channels and set volume.