Maybe I'm missing something here...
Yes, I think you are missing something. Sound Quality was not an issue for me at all.
Some people, like myself want to connect their Plasma with only an hdmi cable. My equipment is in another room and all I want in my bedroom is a clean look and no components. My Plasma is mounted on a wall with no other boxes. The problem is that audio across hdmi can be downconverted to pcm 2.0 or not converted at all when passed through the TV. It depends on the TV. I got no audio at all through the TV speakers when watching multi-channel sources via hdmi. This included Satellite and PS3 in my case. I can change the settings on the source devices to pcm 2.0, but I am sharing these devices with a bigger system that can handle multi-channel and it was inconvenient to keep switching from multi-channel to pcm 2.0 depending what room I was it.
So I started looking at a soundbar for one reason. To enable me to listen to multi-channel audio in my bedroom. I really didn't care about sound quality or even a surround experience. I just wanted to not have to reconfigure my source devices whenever I wanted to watch Satellite or PS3 in my bedroom.
The Vizio has two fatal flaws, imo. One is that it has no hdmi inputs. It's perfectly reasonable to encounter installations with only an hdmi cable running to the Flat Screen TV. The other flaw is the optical input cannot handle multi-channel output. It can only handle pcm 2.0. My Plasma takes the hdmi input and passes the audio out the optical port on the back. But the Vizio could not handle multi-channel audio and I got silence.
So in my case, the Vizio soundbar did not solve my problem and I took it back. I found the Sony HTCT100 in the same price range that does solve the problem. It has hdmi inputs and optical and coax connectors that all handle multi-channel audio. It terms of sound quality, the Vizio was probably better, but again that was not an issue at all for me. The wireless sub on the Vizio was also very convenient. But for me, only the Sony solved my problem. I didn't find another product on the market that handled hdmi and multi-channel audio. Maybe that's changed by now?