I had pIanned to buy this model soundbar, but a motivated salesman persuaded me to buy the also new, same priced Samsung HW-F550 @ $400.
I liked that it didn't have a "receiver" like the Panasonic, but I am just now realizing the switching limitations, i.e. HDMI vs. optical. I have a HD cable box/DVR and PS3 that are currently plugged into the monitor. I had planned just to run the optical audio from the TV into the soundbar and switch the video source (suggested by the salesman). At best I could run one of those sources through the single HDMI input/output path, but then I'll have to switch b/t the audio source on the soundbar AND the video source on the monitor! That's just with 2 components; it will grow to 3 or more in the near future.
My 2 questions are:
1) Will I sacrificing audio quality, from BD sources for example, by using the TV's optical audio output instead of HDMI. Essentially, is is better to avoid using the TV as a switcher, as optical yields inferior audio output.
2) The Panasonic has 3 HDMI input in its hub and 3.1 by way of it's modular sound, but the Samsung seems like the "beefier" unit with more wattage/size for the subwoofer.
There isn't much in the way of reviews so far, and I have about 10 days left to return the Samsung in favor of the Panasonic. Please give me your counsel A/V wizards!