"Optical input only recognizes older PCM audio not Dolby"1.5 starson by abbyd
Pros: Was not able to make it work with a new Panasonic plasma HDTV because the TV did not have analog audio output, it only had Optical which carried Dolby audio. The VHT210 only recognizes the older PCM audio format.
Cons: The major fault with this sound bar is the Optical audio input. It only recognizes PCM audio, not Dolby. The standard audio output for HDTV is Dolby and that is what my new Panasonic plasma TV has.
Summary: I spent days communicating with both Vizio Customer Service and with Panasonic after buying Vizio's newer VHT210 sound bar because I could not get this to work with the Optical cable. My only reason for buying the VHT210 was the specifications mislead me to believe it would recognize Dolby audio through the Optical audio input from my HDTV. In the end, both companies admitted the Vizio was not compatible with the Panasonic audio outputI found a solution to the problem with my HDTV not having any analog audio output connections. I purchased a Dolby to Analog converter box, model GTV-DD-2-AA made by Gefen. The optical cable from the HDTV plugs into one side of this little 2" square box and the analog cables plug in to the other side and connect to my Vizio sound bar. It works great. Even though the converter costs $100 it allows me to continue to use my $200 sound bar which would have been useless without it.
My older Vizio sound bar VSB210WS would not work using the Optical cable because the TV audio output was in Dolby and the Vizio only recognized PCM audio. Dolby is the standard for ATSC HDTV. Complicating the problem was newer HDTV's don't all come with analog audio output jacks and only have Optical. Can't say if they all use fixed Dolby or can be switched to PCM but the Vizio was not compatible with mine.
If you are hooking this up directly to a HDTV with only a broadcast signal using an antenna as I have and you have analog audio output then it should work. If you have a satellite or cable signal it may also work. The sound bar packaging claims it is a "universal" sound bar and shows the Dolby trademark and the specifications make no mention of PCM but the trouble shooting section of the manual says if there is no sound from the optical input it is because it must be PCM. I call that misleading.
Updated on Dec 7, 2010
This update affects my comments on both of the Vizio sound bars I have purchased. Although I returned the VHT210 for a refund, I still use the older Vizio VSB210WS that had the same problem.