Originally Posted by valley_nomad
It is true that HDMI may not be necessary. However, VHT510 has a serious limitation - it has only ONE optical input. You can connect it to either a HDTV or a Blu-ray. But not both :-( It means that you can only enjoy the true 5.1 surround sound from one source. The other one will be crappy downmix 2.0 sound.s
I agree with Vizio's (and others) lack of inputs. Not sure how much Vizio has improved their surround processing for 2010. With the 2009 model there was little sonic difference between the surround matrix created via Dolby PCM 2-ch from the TV and 5.1 via optical from the Blu-Ray. Sometimes you could hear a difference, sometimes, not so sure.
So far I have only sampled one powered sound bar, including those with HDMI, that actually does 5.1 processing, the JVC. Very impressive.
For most users, and I am fairly certain this is the premise that most low-priced self-powered soundbar manufacturers are coming from with their design, the reason for the soundbar is not for the surround effects, but more for improved audio to supplant the lousy sound offered by most HDTV's.